Over 2 million people, just in the US, have taken anabolic steroids at some point during their life (1). And this number’s constantly on the rise due to many men and women wanting to build muscle more than ever before.
Steroids are hugely popular because of their ability to build muscle, burn fat, increase strength and athletic performance. This makes them incredibly beneficial to bodybuilders, but also average joes, looking to transform their bodies.
We’re going to answer a few basic questions regarding steroids, then we’re going to reveal the BEST steroids for muscle growth, including before/after transformations from pro bodybuilders.
- 1 Are Steroids Good for Bodybuilding?
- 2 Do Steroids Help Build Muscle?
- 3 5 Best Steroids for Building Muscle
- 4 1. Dianabol (Methandrostenolone)
- 5 2. Anadrol (oxymetholone)
- 6 3. Testosterone (sustanon 250)
- 7 4. Trenbolone (Acetate/Enanthate)
- 8 Deca Durabolin (nandrolone)
- 9 Can Doctors Prescribe Steroids for Muscle Growth?
- 10 Should You Use Steroids to Build Muscle?
- 11 What Happens to Your Muscles After You Stop Taking Steroids?
- 12 Best Steroid Cycle for Building Muscle?
Are Steroids Good for Bodybuilding?
Steroids are incredibly beneficial for bodybuilding, as judges reward competitors with more muscle mass and less body fat.
Bulking steroids can help users build 50lbs of muscle from regular use (2), whilst cutting steroids can help you lose roughly 1% of body fat per week.
Huge mass, combined with a shredded midsection, is the perfect formula for the modern-day bodybuilder.
If you look at bodybuilding since its beginning, bodybuilders have got bigger every year. By bigger I’m referring to their muscles and ORGANS. These size increases can be attributed to new steroids being created and larger doses being taken.
90% of professional bodybuilders today are on steroids (3).
So, if you’re NOT taking steroids, you’re at a huge disadvantage.
Do Steroids Help Build Muscle?
Of course, YES.
Steroids can and will help you build muscle (some more so than others).
We’ll look at the 5 best steroids for building muscle shortly, but before we do let’s cover the basics.
Studies have shown that steroids help users build up to 4x more muscle – compared to natural bodybuilders (4).
It’s difficult to predict exactly how much muscle you’ll build from taking steroids as there are many variables to take into account. However, one thing is for certain – you will build muscle mass, no matter how badly you train or how poor your diet is. That’s how powerful steroids are. Don’t believe me? Check the study below.
One study found that men who took steroids and did NO exercise gained 50% more muscle, compared to natural guys who lifted weights (5).
The most popular bulking steroids on the black market today are:
These steroids will help you pack on mass like no tomorrow. Even a short 4 week cycle will be enough to blow up your muscles.
Some of these steroids are only used for bulking (dianabol, anadrol, deca durabolin), because building muscle and increasing strength are the only things they do.
However, other steroids like trenbolone and testosterone can be used when cutting because they’re also effective at burning fat.
5 Best Steroids for Building Muscle
1. Dianabol (Methandrostenolone)
You’ve probably already heard of dianabol, also known as D-bol, because it’s the best steroid you can take for building muscle. Period.
Pretty much any competitive bodybuilder who’s ever been serious about making gains will have tried dianabol at some point.
Dianabol first became popular in the 70’s when Arnold and other Mr Olympia bodybuilders were rumoured to be taking it. Considering these guys had the best physiques bodybuilding’s ever seen, people soon started copying their cycles; and now the average gym rat is on d-bol.
Dianabol is a very fast acting steroid, with users often gaining 20lbs during their first cycle (6). Not all of this will be lean muscle tissue, however all of this weight WILL contribute to the size of your muscles, including intracellular fluid.
Like most anabolic steroids dianabol can either be injected or taken orally. There are pros and cons to both of these methods. Injections go straight into the blood stream, giving you more gains, but may leave a mark on your skin and are uncomfortable for some users (especially those with needle phobias!). Also injectables come with more side effects.
Tablets are a more preferred choice for most people taking dianabol, because there’s less hassle and knowledge needed. However, the issue with taking tablets is they must pass through the liver. Dianabol is a toxic steroid and thus can increase the chances of liver damage.
Damage can be minimized with correct usage i.e. not taking too much and for too long. You may also be able to mitigate any strain by using supplements that protect the liver. However, the jury is still out as to how effective such supplements are, with some mixed studies done on milk thistle (7) – one of the most popular liver support supplements.
Dianabol will send your testosterone levels soaring, more-so than other bulking steroids. Testosterone increases your ability to build new muscle tissue, so the more you have the better.
Dianabol’s positive effects on testosterone, protein synthesis and nitrogen retention is why it’s such a powerful steroid for muscle growth.
Dianabol will also increase the intensity of your workouts, due to elevated testosterone levels and a more aroused CNS (central nervous system). Users report having more energy, more focus and needing less rest in between sets. Users are also able to train for longer periods of time, often doubling the duration of their workouts on dianabol.
Dianabol Side Effects
Water retention – When testosterone levels rise, so does estrogen levels (the female hormone). When estrogen levels increase, the body retains water. This can leave you feeling bloated and your muscles looking smooth/puffy.
Gyno – gynecomastia or man boobs is a side effect sometimes experienced by men on dianabol. This occurs when estrogen levels reach excessively high levels, resulting in the accumulation of female breast tissue in the pectoral region.
High blood pressure – LDL cholesterol levels will become elevated on dianabol leading to an increase in systolic blood pressure.
Dianabol Legal Alternative
If you don’t want to break the law or experience a load of nasty side effects, there’s a very popular legal steroid called ‘D-bal’.
Some bodybuilders are having great results with D-Bal which was formulated to elicit the same positive effects as dianabol. From social media reviews, D-Bal’s thought not to be as powerful as dianabol, but still a very effective supplement.
You can find out more about D-Bal here – https://crazy-bulks.com/product/d-bal/
2. Anadrol (oxymetholone)
Anadrol also known as ‘oxymetholone’ is an incredibly powerful bulking steroid; and one of the best on the planet for building muscle.
Anadrol has been prescribed to AIDS patients in the past to help them gain weight.
In a recent study, those with AIDS who took anadrol gained 24lbs of weight on average (8).
Anadrol may also be prescribed to patients suffering from similar ‘muscle-wasting diseases’.
Anadrol is often compared with dianabol, as both compounds are pretty similar in terms of their pros and cons. However, dianabol remains the more popular of the two, as it’s the less toxic steroid. However, in terms of gains, anadrol and dianabol are hands down the 2 best steroids for muscle growth.
Anadrol will sky rocket a users testosterone levels, like dianabol, resulting in significant weight gain (being mostly muscle mass and water).
Anadrol also has the ability to increase ‘erythropoiesis’, a fancy word for red blood cell production. More red bood cells for a bodybuilder means bigger pumps, more intense workouts and faster recovery times.
Anadrol is also one of the best steroids you can take for boosting strength. When you’re building a tonne of muscle, retaining extra water and your testosterone levels are through the roof; you’ll inevitably become as strong as an ox.
Anadrol Side Effects
Anadrol typically has more side effects compared to other anabolic steroids, because it’s a very powerful anabolic; and particularly harsh on the system. This is the price users pay for experiencing exceptional muscle gains.
- High blood pressure
- Bladder irritability
- Lowered sperm count
- Testicular atrophy
Legal Alternative for Anadrol
There’s a popular legal steroid called anadrole which replicates the effects of anadrol in the body, thus increasing strength and muscle growth. However, anadrole won’t cause any of the above side effects and is considered safe.
You can find out more about anadrole here – https://crazy-bulks.com/product/anadrole/
3. Testosterone (sustanon 250)
Our bodies naturally produce testosterone, which happens to be the most important hormone in the body when it comes to muscle growth.
Testosterone’s also associated with masculinity, strength and power. Bodybuilders often take testosterone (orally or injections) to significantly increase their muscle-building potential.
The only reason why men are stronger and more muscular than women is because of higher testosterone levels.
That’s how important testosterone is if you want to get jacked.
However, testosterone isn’t just used for bulking. It has fat-burning effects too, helping users build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
This combination of muscle building and fat loss makes testosterone a hugely popular choice for bodybuilders and athletes. Also testosterone’s not the most toxic of steroids and thus is suitable for beginners.
- Builds Muscle
- Burns Fat
- Increases Strength
- Not very toxic (anadrol or dianabol)
Testosterone Side Effects
Low Testosterone – When you take exogenous testosterone the body stops natural testosterone production. Thus after your cycle finishes, guys on testosterone can suffer from low testosterone. The more you use/abuse testosterone, the more shut down you will be – which can last several months after your cycle (or longer).
Depression – Adequate testosterone levels are crucial for optimal mental well-being in men. Low testosterone levels, caused by steroid-use can result in anxiety, depression or/and mood swings.
Other testosterone side effects include:
- Gyno – development of male boobs
- High blood pressure
Testosterone Legal Alternative
There are lots of supplements on the market that claim to increase natural testosterone. Some work and others don’t.
Everyone responds to testosterone boosters differently, which can lead to mixed reviews. However, one legal alternative that’s getting some very good reviews is Testo-Max.
Testo-Max is thought to increase testosterone levels, enough to build muscle, but not so much it shuts you down. Thus you won’t have to worry about any side effects on Testo-Max.
To find out more info on Testo-Max go here – https://crazy-bulks.co.uk/product/testo-max/
4. Trenbolone (Acetate/Enanthate)
If you ignore trenbolone’s side effects, it’s probably the best steroid in the world. This steroid is super powerful and is used by many bodybuilders, powerlifters and athletes due to it’s robust androgenic nature.
To give you an idea of Trenbolone’s strength…
Tren is 5x more anabolic then testosterone
When used during a bulking cycle, trenbolone is one of the best steroids for PURE muscle growth. If you take dianabol or anadrol you’ll gain a tonne of muscle but also a lot of water weight. On trenbolone, you’ll gain a shed load of muscle – without any water retention.
Thus the weight gain you’ll experience on tren will be less than other steroids, but almost ALL of the weight will be quality muscle.
- Increased Strength
- More Muscle Mass
- Burns Fat
- Decreases Water Retention
Trenbolone Side Effects
- Heart palpitations
- Kidney dysfunction
- Thyroid problems
- Liver dysfunction
- Excess sweating
- Breathing difficulties (tren cough)
Legal Trenbolone Alternative
Trenorol is the legal alternative for trenbolone. Trenorol’s designed to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, helping you transform your body fast.
Trenorol’s an FDA approved compound (like all of Crazy Bulk’s supplements) so you don’t have to worry about high blood pressure, kidney problems and other adverse effects on trenorol.
You can find out more about trenorol here – https://crazy-bulks.co.uk/product/trenorol/
Deca Durabolin (nandrolone)
Deca Durabolin was originally developed in the 1950s to treat osteoporosis in menopausal women. Since then it’s been prescribed by doctors to help patients with anaemia and muscle wasting diseases (like anadrol).
Deca Durablin is largely a very underrated steroid. Not many people talk about deca much but it remains as one of the best steroids for building muscle. It was believed to be used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, running it alongside dianabol and primobolan.
Deca will come with a host of side effects, however it’s not overly toxic and thus beginners often take it.
Deca Durabolin Benefits
Large increase in muscle size. Deca not only helps you stack on muscle like no tomorrow, but it also fills your muscles with intracellular water. This is the good kind of water retention, making your muscles look ridiculously big and full. This look is very aesthetically pleasing, with deca-users often looking like they’re photoshopped.
Less Joint pain. Deca Durabolin users often report having smoother and better feeling joints. Joint pain can be a complaint of many steroid-users and bodybuilders in general, due to AAS decreasing collagen. However, deca reverses this process.
A “Healthy Steroid” – As far as steroids go, deca is one of the healthiest you can take. It’s certainly not “safe” per se, but you can experience several health benefits on it, including improved skin and sleep quality.
Deca Durabolin Side Effects
These side effects may be less harsh than other steroids on this list but they still apply:
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
- Erectile dysfunction (deca dick)
- Liver damage
- Hormonal imbalances
Legal Deca Durabolin Alternative
Whilst deca durabolin is illegal, there’s a legal alternative called decaduro, which has similar benefits and is ideal for guys who want to:
- Improve Recovery Time (after tough workouts)
- Increase Strength
- Build Muscle
- Relieve Joint pain/aches
To find out more about Decaduro go here – https://crazy-bulks.com/product/decaduro/
Can Doctors Prescribe Steroids for Muscle Growth?
Anabolic steroids are a class C drug, thus doctors CAN prescribe such drugs to patients with a prescription. You cannot legally buy steroids in a shop or online.
Note: It’s very difficult for a doctor to prescribe you steroids, unless there’s something medically wrong with you. Unless you have low testosterone or a muscle-wasting disease it’s very unlikely you’ll get prescribed any AAS.
Should You Use Steroids to Build Muscle?
Steroid-use without expert supervision can be very harmful and will damage your short and (possibly) long term health. Before taking any sort of steroid it’s important to consider the following.
Know what you’re getting into – consider the severe side effects you could experience, and how taking steroids could affect your life.
Get a health check – see your local GP BEFORE starting any steroid cycle. Make sure everything’s in working order first, and if it is, continue getting regular check ups throughout your cycle. If your health isn’t great to begin with, stay away from steroids altogether, as they’ll only exacerbate your current condition.
Do you need them? Have you reached your full potential as a natural bodybuilder? If you haven’t it might be wise to delay any steroid-use. Many people think steroids are a ‘quick fix’, when actually they’re just one part of the equation.
Taking steroids will NOT guarantee you an awesome physique. You need to get the basics right including good nutrition and intense workouts in order to maximize your gains (from a steroid cycle). Training hard and smart will always give you better gains compared to taking steroids and not knowing what you’re doing. This is why it’s pretty common to know someone who’s natural, and more jacked, than your skinny friend on steroids.
What Happens to Your Muscles After You Stop Taking Steroids?
How much muscle you’ll retain from your steroid-cycle will depend on:
- What steroids you take
- Your genetics
- PCT protocol
You’ll retain more muscle size on trenbolone than you would on anadrol. The reason being, on anacrol your muscles will retain a lot of water, adding to your overall size. When you cycle off anadrol you’ll lose this water. On trenbolone you won’t gain any water, so any size you gain on tren will be virtually ALL muscle.
Also everyone responds to steroids differently, so someone could lose 50% of their gains once they cycle off dianabol, whereas another user might only lose 25%.
Your PCT (post cycle therapy) protocol will also play a part in how much muscle you keep. If you take a solid PCT stack with effective natural testosterone boosters (and other supplements), you might not become so shut-down and thus retain more of your gains.
Best Steroid Cycle for Building Muscle?
Now you know the best steroids for muscle growth, how do you put all of this together and do a cycle?
Here’s a steroid cycle that almost always gives insane results when it comes to muscle growth:
- Dianabol – 6 weeks
- Testosterone – 12 weeks
- Deca Durabolin – 12 weeks
20 Week Steroid Cycle
Dianabol – 20-40mg per day
Deca Durabolin – 200-400mg per week
Testosterone – 400mg per week
Deca Durabolin – 200-400mg per week
Testosterone 400mg per week
Beginners might want to start a dianabol-only or testosterone-only cycle first before they try stacking steroids together like this. Also if you’re not experienced with steroids, lower doses should be taken to reduce adverse effects.
Note: Trenbolone/testosterone, or trenbolone/anadrol also are powerful steroid cycles, however these anabolics will give you more side effects compared to the protocol above.
So, these are the 5 best steroids for muscle growth. If you have any experience from using these AAS, or the legal steroid alternatives mentioned in this article, leave a comment in the box below!