5 Best Steroids for Mass Gain: A Comprehensive Guide

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Learn about the top 5 best steroids for mass from our bodybuilding expert. Seeking serious muscle gains? Find out which steroids our expert ranks highest for bulking up safely and effectively.

Individuals commonly use anabolic steroids with the goal of augmenting their muscle mass and strength. This article delves into the most effective steroids for bulking, detailing the specific doses and cycles employed by contemporary bodybuilders.

We will evaluate these steroids based on their effectiveness, numbering them from 1 to 5, where 1 signifies the highest performance outcomes.

Learn about the top 5 best steroids for mass from our bodybuilding expert.

Note: Some steroids on this list are known for enhancing lean muscle rather than contributing to significant weight or mass increases, and are therefore ranked accordingly.

1. Dianabol

Dianabol (Methandrostenolone), soared to fame during the 1970s as golden era bodybuilders depended on it for their muscle-building needs.

Names like Arnold, Franco, and Zane, who achieved some of the all-time most impressive physiques, owed part of their success to this steroid, the admiration for which persists to this day.

Still reigning as possibly the most sought-after steroid for bulking, Dianabol’s reputation has grown over the past five decades.

Our Dr. Grant observes bodybuilders typically experience a 25–30 pound increase in bodyweight in an initial Dianabol cycle, with approximately two-thirds of this being muscle, while the rest is likely water retention.

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Remarkable strength enhancements are also noted, with users often seeing up to a 50 pound improvement in their compound lift weights.

Dianabol Side Effects


Our experience has shown that due to its estrogenic attributes, Dianabol can lead to gynecomastia, presumably through the aromatase enzyme’s activity. To curb this effect, users might consider having a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) at the ready should their nipples begin to swell.

SERMs like Nolvadex are known to check estrogen activity in the breasts without hindering overall estrogen levels—a balance that benefits the user since estrogen plays a role in some of the muscle gains seen during a steroid cycle (2).

Liver Toxicity

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Being a c-17 alpha-alkylated steroid, the certainty of liver toxicity with Dianabol is increased, placing added strain on the organ. TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) supplementation is found to help minimize the liver stress during Dianabol cycles, keeping liver enzymes like ALT and AST at lower levels.

Testosterone Suppression

Testosterone suppression when using Dianabol is usually significant, and natural levels often take months to normalize. A Post-Cycle Therapy (PCT) regimen with a SERM such as clomiphene can assist in shortening this recovery duration.

High Blood Pressure

Based on our patient data, Dianabol notably impacts cholesterol and blood pressure negatively. As an oral compound causing water retention, it stimulates hepatic lipase in the liver, which exacerbates blood pressure by lowering high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Dianabol’s propensity to cause water retention also increases blood viscosity, impacting heart circulation.

Dianabol Cycle

Dianabol cycle for beginner.

Note: The suggested Dianabol cycle is aimed at beginners; however, those with more experience may increase the dosage to 30 mg/day and protract the cycle duration to 6 weeks.

Supplementary steroids often combined with Dianabol include Deca Durabolin and Testosterone.

2. Anadrol

anadrol package 1

Anadrol (Oxymetholone) might rival Dianabol in facilitating muscle and weight gain, according to our observations. Its ranking as second, however, reflects its tendency to provoke more severe side reactions.

Anadrol and Dianabol are similar in their capacity to boost muscle and strength gains (3). The primary distinction comes from Anadrol’s higher androgenicity as a DHT derivative, leading our patients to experience pronounced hypertrophy particularly in trapezius and deltoid muscles, alongside more significant fat loss.

These fat reduction properties occasionally make Anadrol a candidate for cutting cycles, particularly when paired with low-sodium diets to counteract water retention while promoting increases in intracellular muscle hydration.

Anadrol Side Effects

Blood Pressure

With current dosages of 50–100 mg/day, Anadrol is considered among the most detrimental steroids for cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

The significant toxicity associated with Anadrol may explain why it has not reached the popularity of Dianabol, despite their similarities in benefits.

Liver Toxicity

Anadrol, colloquially known as ‘A-Bombs,’ rightly describes its intense impact on the liver. Long cycles and high doses have been seen to cause considerable hepatic strain, occasionally leading to cirrhosis.

Testosterone Suppression

Anadrol is significantly suppressive; endogenous testosterone levels often require several months to normalize after use. Post Cycle Therapies (PCTs) are crafted to aid recovery from powerful anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) such as Anadrol. Recovery periods are typically halved with the administration of medications that stimulate natural testosterone production.

Acne and Hair Loss

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Acne vulgaris and androgenic alopecia have been reported among genetically prone bodybuilders at our facility due to Anadrol’s derivation from DHT.

Anadrol Cycle

Anadrol cycle.

Note: Anadrol is not recommended for beginners, but it may be used by those with intermediate experience, adhering to the aforementioned dosages. Advanced steroid users involved in competition who aim for more intense cycles might elevate their dosage to 100 mg daily, despite it not being recommended.

Testosterone and Deca Durabolin are often paired with Anadrol. Moreover, some stack Anadrol with Trenbolone, but this is generally considered extreme and not necessary for the majority.

3. Testosterone

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Claiming the third spot on our list, Testosterone was the inaugural anabolic steroid. Although not the top-rated for mass building when comparing benefits and risks, it closely follows Dianabol and Anadrol on the anabolic scale. In our assessments, Testosterone minimizes adverse effects when taken in moderate doses, markedly more so than Dianabol or Anadrol.

Its mild nature is why it’s often prescribed to men with low testosterone worldwide.

Bodybuilders usually choose Testosterone as their first steroid cycle, which can typically result in a 20–25 lbs increase in mass.

Possessing strong fat-burning qualities, users typically see a significant reduction in subcutaneous fat with Testosterone. Thus, while being a robust anabolic agent, it can also serve as a cutting steroid.

Side Effects

Blood Pressure

An increase in blood pressure can be expected with Testosterone usage, but it is considered the most heart-friendly of all steroids in our studies.

Testosterone Suppression

Since Testosterone suppresses natural testosterone production, cycles should be taken intermittently to preserve normal testicular function, rather than continuously throughout the year.

Hair Loss/Acne

Being notably androgenic, Testosterone usage may lead to hair loss or recession, and acne vulgaris in susceptible bodybuilders.

Testosterone Cycle

Testosterone men cycle.

Note: The outlined cycle is intended for beginners, commonly used as an introductory cycle.

Typically, Dianabol, Deca Durabolin, Anadrol, and Trenbolone are used in combination with Testosterone by bodybuilders.

Additionally, cutting steroids like Anavar and Winstrol pair well with Testosterone.

Testosterone’s adaptability makes it an excellent choice for nearly any cycle.

4. Trenbolone

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If this list was focused on the most effective steroids for lean muscle mass instead, Trenbolone would take the top position.

Trenbolone rivals other bulking steroids in terms of muscle development. Due to its capability to minimize water and fat retention, it is positioned fourth for mass building.

Trenbolone is one of the most potent steroids for rapid body transformation. It promotes quick muscle gain and fat burning, particularly with the acetate ester. It could be considered the prime agent for bulking and cutting.

However, Trenbolone’s harsh side effects reserve its use for the most experienced steroid users.

Trenbolone Side Effects

Blood Pressure

Trenbolone can cause a significant rise in blood pressure in nearly all users due to its potency and effects on the central nervous system, such as heightened adrenaline production. Also, the absence of aromatization may lead to HDL cholesterol issues as estrogen has a cardioprotective role.

Testosterone Suppression

Endogenous testosterone production can undergo major suppression with Trenbolone, necessitating a lengthy recovery period before starting new cycles. Skipping such breaks can result in permanent harm to the HPT axis.

Acne and Hair Loss

Trenbolone has a high androgenic rating, thus increasing the likelihood of hair thinning or loss, and acne especially in those genetically predisposed.

Trenbolone cycle

Trenbolone men cycle.

Note: This example of a Trenbolone-only cycle is suited for intermediate users.

For added mass, Trenbolone is often stacked with Testosterone and Anadrol. Nonetheless, users should be accustomed to Trenbolone-only cycles before considering additional compounds due to its high cardiotoxic potential.

5. Nandrolone Decanoate (Deca Durabolin)

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Nandrolone, commercially known as Deca Durabolin, was a widely adopted bulking agent during the Golden Era of bodybuilding, frequently used in combination with Dianabol.

From anecdotal reports, Deca Durabolin does not appear to be the most potent steroid featured here; nonetheless, its capability to enhance muscle mass shouldn’t be downplayed, particularly when combined with other bulking agents like AAS.

Not only does Deca promote remarkable growth in mass, but it also significantly boosts intracellular fluid retention, leading to outstanding muscle density and volume.

Moreover, due to its low androgenicity, Deca Durabolin provides an added advantage by preserving scalp hair follicles and helping to minimize the occurrence of acne.

It has been observed that Deca also possesses qualities that rejuvenate the joints, a feature that is exceedingly helpful for veteran bodybuilders who have spent years engaging in heavy lifting.

Side Effects of Deca Durabolin

Erectile Dysfunction

In our medical facility, erectile dysfunction, often referred to as ‘Deca dick’, is a frequent side effect noted by athletes using Deca Durabolin. The condition stems from a disrupted production of nitric oxide (4), coupled with an increased level of prolactin in the blood due to the usage of Deca Durabolin.

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We’ve seen some success in alleviating this issue by administering cabergoline, which can reduce prolactin. Alternatively, stacking Deca Durabolin with an androgenic steroid such as Testosterone can enhance nitric oxide levels and, consequently, blood flow to the genital area.

Hormonal Suppression

Deca Durabolin is often found to heavily suppress the HPTA, making a Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) essential after discontinuing the cycle.

Cholesterol Changes

While Deca Durabolin does impact cholesterol, we note that the alterations in lipid profiles are less severe compared to other anabolic steroids. Therefore, it’s fair to consider Deca Durabolin relatively more benign in terms of cardiovascular effects.

Deca Durabolin Cycle

WeekTestosteroneDeca Durabolin
Testosterone and Deca Durabolin cycle.

Note: The subsequent cycle is tailored for individuals who have previously used Testosterone at moderate doses and wish to advance their mass gains by incorporating Deca.

Deca Durabolin synergizes well with other steroids like Testosterone, Anadrol, and Dianabol.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best steroids for mass? Our top 1 pick.

When it comes to raw power, the top mass-building steroid stack includes:

  • Dianabol with Testosterone

Here is a sample combination cycle for Dianabol and Testosterone:

Testosterone and Dianabol cycle.

Note: This stack is recommended only for users who have prior experience with Testosterone or Dianabol monotherapy and are knowledgeable about managing side effects.

Despite being the most potent stack for mass, it is observed to exhibit moderate side effects and is deemed inappropriate for novices but suitable for intermediate to advanced users.

Which Steroid Stack is the Safest for Mass?

Based on our knowledge, the most prudent steroid stack for bulking is Testosterone paired with Deca Durabolin.

Testosterone stands as the mildest anabolic steroid, exhibiting marginal cholesterol effects and low risk of liver toxicity.

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Similarly, Deca Durabolin minimally affects HDL/LDL levels and poses no risk of liver damage as an injectable, analogous to Testosterone.

The primary negative aspects we’ve noticed with Deca Durabolin are related to sexual health, including impotence and reduced sexual drive. However, this stack works well together, with Testosterone significantly curtailing such adverse effects with its androgenic properties.

Here is a sample regimen for Testosterone and Deca Durabolin:

WeekTestosteroneDeca Durabolin
Testosterone and Deca Durabolin cycle.

Do Steroids Contribute to Perpetual Mass Preservation?

Indeed, the utilization of anabolic steroids permanently increases the number of myonuclei in muscle cells. With reference to muscle memory, it’s demonstrated that patients can reattain hypertrophy at any juncture.

Thus, maintaining the majority of muscle mass gained through steroids is feasible (provided individuals persist with weight training), as is regaining previous muscle mass after a period of inactivity, which can occur within a few weeks.

Due to the long-term modifications induced by steroids, certain sports federations are contemplating lifetime bans for athletes who have ever used steroids.


Selecting the superior steroid for mass hinges on the user’s specific goals.

For those aiming for strictly lean mass without water retention, Trenbolone reigns supreme.

Conversely, for those who wish to amass the greatest possible mass and are amendable to 10 pounds of water weight, Dianabol or Anadrol emerge as the leading options, based on our assessments.

Nevertheless, Testosterone satisfies most users’ preferences in a bulking agent: it aids in building substantial muscle, facilitates fat loss, and typically elicits minimal side effects in most patients.






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Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options.
Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa


About Dr. Grant Fourie

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options. Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa

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