5 Best Steroids for Mass (Used by Pros)

Dr George TouliatosDisclaimer: The following article is for educational purposes only and does not promote the use of illegal steroids. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Touliatos is currently available for consultation.

The primary reason people take anabolic steroids is to build muscle size and strength. In this article, we reveal the best steroids for mass and the dosages and cycles utilized by bodybuilders today.

These steroids will be ranked in order of potency from 1 to 5, with 1 producing the best results.

Note: Some of the following steroids build significant amounts of lean muscle but not overall weight or mass gain, so they are ranked lower on the list.

1. Dianabol

Dianabol (Methandrostenolone) first became popular in the 1970s, when bodybuilders from the golden era heavily relied on this steroid to bulk up.

Consequently, Arnold, Franco, Zane, and others produced some of the greatest physiques of all time, still leaving fans in awe today.

Thus, it is of no surprise that Dianabol’s popularity has only increased over the last 50 years, maintaining its unofficial title of being the most popular bulking steroid on the market.

Bodybuilders in our clinic typically gain 25–30 pounds of weight during their first Dianabol cycle, with roughly two-thirds of this being lean muscle and the remaining being water retention.

Exceptional increases in muscular strength are also to be expected, with users commonly adding 50 pounds to their compound lifts.

Disclosure: We do not accept any form of advertising on Inside Bodybuilding. We monetize our practice via doctor consultations and carefully chosen pharmaceutical recommendations, which have given our patients excellent results.

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Dianabol is legal to purchase in some countries and not in others; thus, it is the responsibility of users to act within the confines of their native law.

Inside Bodybuilding does not condone the use of AAS via illegal means or for cosmetic use.

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Dianabol Side Effects


We have seen Dianabol cause gynecomastia in users due to its estrogenic nature (1), with the aromatase enzyme being present. Thus, users may want to keep a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) close by in case their nipples start to become puffy.

We have found that SERMs, such as Nolvadex, effectively inhibit estrogenic activity in the mammary glands without affecting estrogen levels. This is advantageous, as estrogen contributes to some of the gains experienced on-cycle (2), so blocking it is not optimal.

Liver Toxicity

Dianabol is a c-17 alpha-alkylated steroid, and thus liver toxicity is certain, essentially increasing the workload on the organ. We have found that supplementation with TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) during Dianabol cycles minimizes hepatic stress, keeping ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase) enzymes as low as possible.

Testosterone Suppression

In our experience, testosterone suppression with Dianabol is typically significant, with endogenous levels taking several months to restore to normal levels. A PCT, including a SERM such as clomiphene, can help to shorten this recovery period.

High Blood Pressure

Dianabol has a significant negative effect on cholesterol and blood pressure, based on our patient’s blood work. This is due to Dianabol being an oral compound that causes water retention.

Oral steroids stimulate hepatic lipase in the liver, further reducing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and thus exacerbating blood pressure. The aromatizing nature of Dianabol also causes water retention, which increases blood viscosity, reducing circulation to the heart.

Dianabol Cycle

Note: The above Dianabol cycle is dosed for beginners; however, more experienced steroid users can increase the dosage up to 30 mg/day and extend the cycle to 6 weeks.

Complementary steroids that are often stacked with Dianabol are Deca Durabolin and Testosterone.

2. Anadrol

Anadrol (Oxymetholone) is potentially equal to Dianabol in terms of muscle mass and weight gain, in our experience. However, Anadrol does have a tendency to cause harsher side effects, hence why it’s ranked number two on this list.

Anadrol is very similar to Dianabol, causing impressive strength and muscle gains (3). The main difference between the two is that Anadrol is more androgenic due to it being a DHT derivative, and thus our patients experience greater hypertrophy in the trapezius and deltoid muscles on Anadrol, as well as enhanced fat loss.

Such reductions in fat mass are one of the reasons why Anadrol can sometimes be used as a cutting steroid. We have found that when users adopt low-sodium diets, they can keep extracellular water retention at bay while increasing intracellular muscle volume.

Anadrol Side Effects

Blood Pressure

When Anadrol is taken in today’s dosages of 50–100 mg/day, we have found it to be one of the worst steroids for cholesterol and blood pressure.

Anadrol’s high toxicity is perhaps why it remains considerably less popular than Dianabol (despite offering much of the same benefits).

Liver Toxicity

Anadrol is nicknamed ‘A-Bombs’, which is a fitting name considering its physiological effects can be described as dropping a bomb on the liver. We have seen extensive cycles and high doses cause excessive amounts of hepatic damage and, in some cases, cause cirrhosis.

Testosterone Suppression

Anadrol is very suppressive; it takes several months for endogenous testosterone levels to correct back to a normal range. PCT’s are designed specifically for potent AAS like this. We typically see recovery times shorten by approximately 50% when taking effective endogenous testosterone-stimulating medications.

Acne and Hair Loss

Some genetically sensitive bodybuilders at our clinic have experienced acne vulgaris and male pattern baldness on Anadrol. Such side effects are possible due to it being a DHT-derived compound.

Anadrol Cycle

anadrol only cycle

Note: Anadrol isn’t suitable for beginners; however, intermediate users can adopt the above dosages. We have seen experienced steroid users who are competing and want to run aggressive cycles, even increasing the dosage to 100 mg/day. However, this is not advised.

Complementary steroids that can be stacked with Anadrol are Testosterone and Deca Durabolin. Bodybuilders also stack Trenbolone with Anadrol; however, this should be viewed as hardcore and an unnecessary stack for most users.

3. Testosterone

The first anabolic steroid ever created comes third on the list. However, if we were strictly weighing up the pros and cons of each steroid, Testosterone would be first.

It may not be the best steroid for mass, but it’s not far behind Dianabol or Anadrol on the anabolic scale. Also, based on our tests, Testosterone is far superior to Dianabol and Anadrol in terms of damage limitation, producing only mild side effects in moderate dosages.

This is why doctors are comfortable prescribing it to men worldwide who naturally have low testosterone.

Testosterone is commonly used as the first steroid cycle, which typically produces 20–25 lbs in mass.

Testosterone also has potent fat-burning properties, with users experiencing a notable reduction in subcutaneous fat. Thus, despite Testosterone’s powerful anabolic nature, it can also be used as a cutting steroid.

Side Effects

Blood Pressure

A modest rise in blood pressure is to be expected on Testosterone. However, out of all anabolic steroids, we have found Testosterone to be the most cardiovascular-friendly.

Testosterone Suppression

Testosterone will decrease endogenous testosterone production, so if a person wants to maintain normal testicular function, they should only utilize Testosterone in cycles as opposed to taking it all year round (blasting and cruising).

Hair Loss/Acne

Testosterone is particularly androgenic; therefore, acne vulgaris and hair loss or recession can occur in bodybuilders susceptible to such side effects.

Testosterone Cycle

testosterone first cycle

Note: The above cycle is tailored for beginners and is often taken as a first cycle.

Complementary steroids that we see bodybuilders stack with Testosterone are Dianabol, Deca Durabolin, Anadrol, and Trenbolone.

Also, several cutting steroids work well in conjunction with Testosterone, including Anavar and Winstrol.

Testosterone’s versatility makes it an optimal compound for virtually any stack.

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4. Trenbolone

If this wasn’t a list of the best steroids for mass but instead the best steroids for lean muscle, Trenbolone would be number one.

In terms of pure muscle tissue being built, Trenbolone can rival any bulking steroid. However, because it doesn’t cause excessive weight gain due to water loss and fat loss, it takes the 4th spot.

Trenbolone is arguably the most powerful steroid a person could take to transform their body as quickly as possible. Bodybuilders at our clinic have packed on muscle fast and burned fat at a rapid rate (with the acetate ester), thus it could be classified as the best bulking and cutting steroid, respectively.

The downside to Trenbolone is undoubtedly the harsh side effects it produces, making it only suitable for experienced steroid users.


Trenbolone Side Effects

Blood Pressure

We have seen Trenbolone cause a hefty rise in blood pressure in almost all patients, due to it being a potent compound and thanks to its stimulative effects on the central nervous system (increasing adrenaline production). Also, a lack of aromatization can exacerbate HDL cholesterol, as estrogen is cardioprotective.

Testosterone Suppression

Endogenous shutdown can be severe on Trenbolone, and thus users will need to wait several months before their testosterone levels recover before utilizing further cycles. Failure to leave gaps like this in-between cycles, in our experience, can lead to permanent damage to the HPT (hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular) axis.

Acne and Hair Loss

Trenbolone has an androgenic rating of 500, indicating its potent nature in this regard. Thus, some level of hair thinning, recession, or loss is to be expected, with acne commonly experienced by our patients who are genetically susceptible to overstimulated sebaceous glands.

Note: This is a sample Trenbolone-only cycle, utilized by intermediate steroid users.

Two complimentary steroids that are commonly stacked with Trenbolone for more mass are Testosterone and Anadrol. However, users should be comfortable running Trenbolone-only cycles first before thinking about stacking it with other compounds due to its high cardiotoxicity.

5. Deca Durabolin

Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone) was a bulking steroid commonly used in the Golden Era, alongside Dianabol.

Anecdotally, we do not find Deca Durabolin to be among the most powerful steroids on this list; however, its effects on mass aren’t to be underestimated (especially when stacked with other bulking AAS).

Deca Durabolin doesn’t just produce impressive gains in mass but also drastically increases intracellular fluid, resulting in exceptional muscle fullness and thickness.

Furthermore, Deca Durabolin isn’t androgenic; thus, it offers unique protection to hair follicles on the scalp and helps to reduce acne.

We have also seen Deca offer joint-rejuvenating qualities, which are particularly beneficial for older bodybuilders who have a history of lifting heavy.

Deca Durabolin Side Effects


Impotence, or ‘Deca dick’, is a common side effect reported by bodybuilders in our clinic. This occurs due to a lack of nitric oxide production (4), combined with excessive prolactin in the bloodstream on Deca Durabolin.

We have had some success in overcoming this side effect by taking cabergoline, which reduces prolactin levels. Another effective option is to stack Deca Durabolin with an androgenic steroid, such as Testosterone, increasing nitric oxide and thus blood flow to the penis.

Testosterone Suppression

We often find Deca Durabolin to be very suppressive of the HPTA, and thus users should administer a PCT following cycle cessation.


Deca Durabolin will have a mild adverse effect on cholesterol levels. Although this is a side effect, numerous blood tests from our patients indicate that the severity of cholesterol alterations is much less compared to other anabolic steroids. Thus, Deca Durabolin can be considered somewhat of a cardiovascular-friendly anabolic steroid.

Deca Durabolin Cycle

testosterone deca cycle

Note: The above cycle is suitable for steroid users who have run Testosterone before at moderate dosages and want to take their mass gains to the next level with the addition of Deca.

Anabolic steroids that complement Deca Durabolin are Testosterone, Anadrol, and Dianabol.


What is the Best Steroid Stack for Mass?

The best steroid stack for mass, in terms of sheer potency, would be:

  • Dianabol and Testosterone

Below is a sample steroid cycle of Dianabol and Testosterone when taken together:

testosterone dianabol stack

Note: This stack should only be taken if a user has taken Testosterone or Dianabol already in solo cycles and is comfortable with the side effects.

Considering that the above stack is the best stack for mass, we have found it to not be overly harsh in terms of side effects. Equally, it is not suitable for beginners, but for intermediate and advanced steroid users.

What is the Safest Steroid Stack for Mass?

In our experience, the safest steroid stack for mass would be Testosterone and Deca Durabolin.

Testosterone is the safest anabolic steroid available, with it having only mild effects on cholesterol and posing little to no liver toxicity.

Deca Durabolin also only impacts HDL/LDL cholesterol to a mild degree and poses no hepatotoxicity, being an injectable steroid like Testosterone

The main drawbacks we observe with Deca Durabolin are sexual side effects, impotence, and a lack of libido. However, this stack is a complementary duo, as Testosterone can greatly reduce such side effects due to its additional androgenicity.

Below is a sample stack of Testosterone and Deca Durabolin:

testosterone deca cycle

Do Steroids Result in Permanent Mass Gain?

Yes, anabolic steroids permanently affect the number of myonuclei in the muscle cell. Thus, through the concept of muscle memory, we see that hypertrophy can be restored in patients at any given time.

Therefore, not only will users retain the majority of muscle they’ve gained from steroids (if they continue to lift weights and train), but if they stop lifting weights and experience muscle atrophy, should they resume training in the future, the body will restore the previous muscle size in a matter of weeks.

This is why certain sporting federations are looking to ban athletes if they have ever taken steroids during their lifetime, as it has a long-term or permanent effect.


The best steroid for mass will largely depend on what the user wants to achieve.

If a person wants to strictly gain lean mass with no water retention, Trenbolone is the best compound.

Similarly, if users want to gain as much mass as possible and are happy to accumulate 10 pounds of water retention in the process, Dianabol or Anadrol are the most effective options, based on our findings.

Testosterone, however, ticks most of the boxes for what people want in a bulking steroid: building significant amounts of muscle, burning fat, and producing few side effects in most of our patients.

Co Authors :

(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14462467/

(2) https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2018.01834/full#:~:text=Beyond%20the%20known%20relationship%20between,collagen%20content%20of%20connective%20tissues.

(3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23124786/

(4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29317256/