Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding

Oral Steroids do have their place in a cycle, but you have to use them correctly in order to avoid the common side effects.

Want to pack on muscle mass and get cut without having to inject yourself like a pin cushion every week? Injectable steroids are a major pain to administer (in more ways than one). Get it wrong and you could end up with paralysis or an embolism.

Compare this to quickly swallowing a pill and it’s easy to understand why oral steroids are coveted by so many bodybuilders.

In this article, we reveal the 6 most popular oral steroids for bodybuilding, whether you are wanting to pack on mass, get ripped, or do both. We’ll also cover the best legal alternatives for each compound.

💪 Muscle gain✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️
💦 Water retention✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️🚫🚫🚫
Convert to estrogen🚫✅️✅️🚫🚫🚫
⚠️ Side effectsSevereVery SevereMild to ModerateMildVery MildVery Mild
💊 Dosage10-20 mg/day50-100 mg/day20-30 mg/day20-40 mg/day20-50 mg/day50-100 mg/day
Cycle6 weeks4-6 weeks6 weeks6-8 weeks6 weeks6-8 weeks
Liver toxicity✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️
Cardiovascular strain✅️✅️✅️✅️🚫🚫🚫
PCT required✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️
🏋 Bulking Steroid✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️✅️🚫🚫
🙎 For beginners🚫🚫✅️✅️✅️✅️

Warning: The content on and the information included in this article is intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to buying anything, check that it is compliant where you live with your current government laws. We frequently mention research chemicals that are not made for human consumption. Therefore, before purchasing any product for personal use, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first.

What are Oral Steroids?

Without wasting too much of your time, oral Steroids are Steroids that have been altered so they can be taken orally. They have been c-17 alpha alkylated meaning they can survive a pass through the gut and liver digestion before being made available to the bloodstream.

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding
Figure 1: The difference between an injectable Testosterone (left) and an oral Testosterone (right)

The reason these were developed is that in the medical field, not everyone is keen on pinning a thick oil into their body several times a week. Piercing the skin opens the risk of infections, and doctors are pretty afraid of those. That said, oral Steroids come at a cost…

Side Effects of Oral Steroids

Not only are oral Steroids typically far more expensive than their injectable counterparts, but they also have unique side effects apart from those associated with all Steroid use:

Oral Steroids are almost always liver toxic

Barring Oxandrolone, all oral Steroids will always place a strain on the liver. While the severity of this may have been blown out of proportion by some, it is still something to keep in mind.

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding
Figure 2: Oral Steroids will strain the liver due to the fact that it needs to metabolize the Steroid before making it available in the body

Oral Steroids will cause more water retention

This isn’t always a bad thing, and typically orals are used to bring a bit of fullness. That said, orals are rather good at drawing water into the cells and thereby causing water retention.

Thus, you need to make sure your blood pressure and kidney function are under strict control to avoid problems further down the road.

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding

Now that the specific oral side effects are out of the way, we can talk about the 6 most commonly used oral Steroids for bodybuilding, and also give a few honorable mentions.

Superdrol (Methasterone/methyldrostanolone)

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding
Figure 3: Chemical representation of Superdrol

Superdrol is first on the list and is undoubtedly the one that will be the hardest for you to manage. An oral version of the Masteron (Drostanolone) drug but with very different characteristics:

Chemical composition 🧪C21H34O2
Side effects 🏥Water retention, liver strain, aggression
Best use ✅To bring fullness before a show
Hafl-life ⌚8-12 hours

Superdrol used to be sold legally as a Prohormone before the feds found out it was indeed a Steroid. Comparable to a bomb in its effects, it will bring the user fullness and roundness in no time at all.

Anadrol (Oxymetholone/Oxy/Anapolon/Anaps/A-Bombs)

The Steroid with the most amount of nicknames goes to Anadrol. Anadrol is a DHT (dihydrotestosterone) Steroid but acts like a Nandrolone. Thus, you can expect Estrogen and Prolactin sides as well as some mental changes:

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding
Figure 4: Chemical representation of Anadrol

Oxymetholone or Anadrol is considered a brutish and powerful Oral Steroid. Medically it is used to treat those that have lost weight due to illness, and it is also used to increase red blood cell count.

It is important to understand that while Anadrol is technically a DHT, it acts much more like a 19-Nor Steroid. What this means is that you can expect a tonne of fullness, and strength, but you can also expect a fair amount of Estrogenic side effects. 

This may come as a surprise, seeing as DHTs cannot convert to Estrogen. Thus, Oxymetholone somehow raises Estrogen in the body (quite rapidly) but we’re not sure why – there are a few theories if you feel like looking around – William Llewellyn (in his book) mentions that this is due to the increased stability of the 3-Keto group .

This is also known as the oral that will do the most amount of damage to your liver, and you should proceed with caution. Insanely strong, however, and you can expect both muscle and strength gains – especially if you use it before a workout. 

Chemical composition 🧪C21H32O3
Side effects 🏥Water retention, liver strain, aggression, acne
Best use ✅To bring fullness before a show or for strength
Hafl-life ⌚8-9 hours

Dianabol (Metandienone/DBol)

Dianabol is one of the most famous Steroids on the planet and is probably the one most people end up using first. Known for being a watery replacement for pure Testosterone.

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding
Figure 5: Chemical representation of Dianabol

Much like the rest in this category, the effects will be similar to that of Testosterone, but slightly different. Obviously, the 17 alpha Alkylation means that you now have an orally available drug, whilst the double bond at the C1 and C2 will result in less Androgenicity. 

Dianabol is going to seem more of a ‘wet’ compound based on Internet Forums, but remember, Arnold didn’t use Testosterone. He used Dianabol as his Test base, and he was very lean. 

Using Dianabol with a shitty diet and a lackluster training protocol can only result in bad results. While there are various better compounds, Dianabol is still a drug used by many to result in lean muscle gains. Do keep in mind that all Oral Steroids will impact hunger due to the first pass.

Chemical composition 🧪C20H28O2
Side effects 🏥Water retention, liver strain, acne, gyno
Best use ✅To be used as an oral TRT
Hafl-life ⌚3-6 hours

Winstrol (Stanozolol/Winni)

Winstrol is known as the dry compound. It has the ability to reduce progesterone in the body which can help you appear leaner.

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding
Figure 6: Chemical representation of Winstrol

Stanozolol, Winstrol, or Winni is one of the most popular cutting drugs on the market. It was actually formulated by condensation of the 3-keto-aldehyde moiety of Oxymetholone (Anadrol) with Hydrazine.  

It is a DHT derivative, meaning it has an inability to convert into Estrogen because it does not interact with the Aromatase enzyme. Winstrol is also rather good at stimulating both connective tissue (prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), collagenase, gelatinase, and stromelysin) and protein expression.

Winstrol is often compared to Anavar, and while they have similarities, Anavar will have fewer sides, and Winstrol will also be a more cost-effective compound. The other thing to mention is that Winstrol will result in a drier and more grainy look compared to Anavar. 

This is because Winstrol will actually lower Progesterone in the body, which is why it is often used with 19-Nor Testosterone Steroids. 

Chemical composition 🧪C21H32N2O
Side effects 🏥Liver strain, hair loss
Best use ✅To increase strength or help with muscle retention on a cut
Hafl-life ⌚9 hours

Anavar (Oxandrolone/Var)

Anavar is often called the female Steroid but is used by men all the same. It is also the Steroid with the least amount of side effects, barring maybe only Primobolan.

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding
Figure 7: Chemical representation of Anavar

Anavar is the most popular compound used by females but is still used by men regularly to increase muscle size and conditioning. It is notoriously hard to produce and will fetch a pretty penny. Like other DHTs, Anavar cannot convert into Estrogen, as it does not interact with the Aromatase Enzyme. 

Anavar is as close as scientists ever came to designing the ‘perfect’ Steroid, as it seems to have the least amount of side effects of all the Steroids – maybe Primo has something to say here. That being said, Anavar is still a pretty decent compound. 

Not quite as Anabolic as other Steroids, but still remarkably good at building lean muscle mass. See, all DHTs will directly increase Force Production – combining this with progressive overload and a lot of food, you’re bound to gain lean muscle mass. 

As a DHT derivative, it has zero ability to convert into Estrogen via the Aromatase Enzyme. Overall, this is a compound used often in the cutting season to make sure you retain as much muscle mass as possible. 

As an oral, you can also expect insane cell hydration, meaning you’ll feel pretty full. some have complained that in the off-season you get so full that lower back pumps are prevalent. Taurine could help with that. 

Chemical composition 🧪C19H30O3
Side effects 🏥Kidney strain, cholesterol
Best use ✅To increase strength or help with muscle retention on a cut
Hafl-life ⌚9-10 hours

Primobolan (Metenolone/Primo)

Primobolan or Primo is a Steroid that is often misunderstood, and people will often just simply ignore it because ‘it isn’t strong’. There is some truth to this, as far as Anabolism goes, it is even slightly weaker than Testosterone, but is significantly less Androgenic. 

Best Oral Steroids for Bodybuilding
Figure 8: Chemical representation of Primobolan

There are two versions of Primo on the market, an Oral (Acetate) and Injectable (Enanthate), but before we get into the chemistry, we need to discuss two things. Primo Ace is tough to find, and real Primo is just as hard to find – as it is often substituted with a cheaper Masteron Enanthate. 

The oral version is actually 17 Beta Alkylated, meaning it is less liver toxic than the 17 Alpha Alylates. Overall, Primo is actually just low on most side effects. Due to the low Androgenic rating and the mildness of the drug, it is tolerated remarkably well – even by females. Primo also seems to be a lot more popular in Europe. 

As it is a DHT Derivative, Primo will not convert into Estrogen, as it cannot interact with the Aromatase Enzyme. DHT in general is also a lot stronger than Testosterone, and supposedly also has a stronger binding affinity 5 times stronger than normal Testosterone.

Chemical composition 🧪C22H32O3
Side effects 🏥Liver strain, cholesterol
Best use ✅To increase strength or help with muscle retention on a cut
Hafl-life ⌚5-20 hours

How to use Oral Steroids

You should have done quite a bit of research before even considering Steroid use, but, in case you may have missed something, here are some tips for oral Steroid use:

  • You need to stay as hydrated as you possibly can because it can help keep blood pressure down. Doing so could end up saving your kidneys from a lot of strain
  • Do not take orals with food as food can lower the bioavailability of the compound. Rather take the tablet with Omega 3 Fatty Acids as this would increase the bioavailability
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle which includes doing plenty of cardio and following a really healthy diet
  • Do not use orals for too long as the strain on the liver is quite severe

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Conclusion: Oral Steroids

Oral Steroids have their place, sure, but that place is very specific and very acute. You should ideally always be using injectables, but in a pinch, these can work.

For the most part, the orals should be in for a short while and then get the hell off them!

FAQs about Oral Steroids

What can oral steroids be used for?

They can be used to build muscle mass or help you retain muscle mass on a cut.

Are oral steroids harmful?

Certainly. All oral steroids will have a lot a side effects, especially on the liver and/or kidneys.

Still Have Questions?

Drop us a comment down below and one of our expert coaches will respond to it. We’ll also be answering questions on our Instagram!


Ernst Peibst

Ernst Peibst | Writer

Ernst Peibst is an expert in anabolic steroids and PEDs with over 3,000 hours of research. He's been educating people for 7 years through his articles, written after studying science papers, expert books and consulting top doctors in the field. He is a former bodybuilder and creator of multiple fitness websites.

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