There are many steroids which can help you build muscle fast, but many of these compounds can also come with (unwanted) water retention. This has resulted in countless gym rats searching high and wide for steroids that can help them add LEAN mass.
Such steroids do exist where almost 100% of the weight you gain will be quality muscle. Adding lean muscle to your frame without gaining water/fat can make a physique look even more impressive; and keep your body looking somewhat natural (compared to being excessively bloated).
Some of the best bodybuilders to have graced the sport have followed a steroid protocol, enabling them to build huge amounts of muscle mass, without excessive amounts of fluid surrounding the outside of their muscle cells (which can obscure muscle definition). Such bodybuilders are a dying breed, unlike the Mr Olympia Pro’s of today who don’t care about gaining water; as long as they’re packing on more mass.
Here’s a few bodybuilders who ran solid steroid cycles for LEAN gains:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Franco Colombu
- Frank Zane
- Lou Ferrigno
- Serge Nubret
Plus many other classic bodybuilders from this golden era.
So, what’s the best steroid cycle for lean mass?
Trenbolone is predominantly a bulking steroid and great news – it doesn’t cause any water retention.
In fact the opposite is true, trenbolone will actually cause you to lose water – making you look even more shredded, whilst your packing on muscle for fun.
Trenbolone also has some fat-burning properties, ensuring you don’t accumulate any fat, whilst generously eating on a cycle. The reason trenbolone can burn fat is because it’s able to decrease cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone responsible for causing fat storage.
Trenbolone will also result in epic 3D rounded shoulders and traps that pop out to the sky – Phil Heath style.
Testosterone is the only other bulking steroid that you can use to gain huge amounts of muscle, without turning into a human hippo. Aka it doesn’t cause crazy amounts of water retention that other compounds such as anadrol or dianabol can cause.
Testosterone actually increases muscle hardness and like trenbolone can cause fat loss too; hence how some bodybuilders use testosterone when dieting hard for a competition.
Test will result in some fluid retention, but this won’t be anything drastic. At the same time though testosterone isn’t a diuretic and thus won’t cause you to lose any water weight (like trenbolone can).
Testosterone is also very popular for beginners as it’s not as taxing on your internal organs as other AAS. Despite this, you should still have regular health checks, making sure you’re as healthy as possible (if you are going to take steroids).
Best Steroid Cycle for Lean Mass
Taking testosterone and trenbolone together is one of the best bulking cycles any bodybuilder can do. If you want to look dry and aesthetic too, this duo will also deliver on that promise.
Stacking these 2 steroids together will give a user HUGE size gains, and if that’s not enough, you’ll also develop strength even Hercules would be envious of.
Here’s how a typical cycle would look:
Testosterone – 12 weeks
Trenbolone – 8 weeks
A standard steroid protocol is to take trenbolone for 4 weeks first, then add testosterone after this period for the remaining 8 weeks of your cycle.
Note: Beginners should refrain from taking excessive doses as these are powerful steroids.
The only possible drawback that may happen on this cycle is if you don’t tolerate trenbolone very well. Tren’s a pretty toxic steroid; almost certain to cause some physical and mental side effects. These include: anxiety, paranoia, insomnia and high blood pressure.
If you do experience any adverse effects, which become severe at any point, reduce your dose or stop your cycle. Alternatively you you may find it safer and more comfortable implementing shorter cycles to eliminate such reactions in the future. Generally the longer you take a steroid for, the more likely it is to negatively affect you.
Other Steroids That Build Mass:
Anadrol is an incredibly powerful steroid when it comes to building mass. If you want to build muscle and size ASAP, and you don’t care about gaining water retention, anadrol is arguably the best AAS for the job.
However, if you’re concerned about looking puffy or bloated and want to remain looking aesthetic, then trenbolone or/and testosterone are better options.
It’s worth noting that the fluid accumulation you’ll experience on anadrol will diminish after your cycle finishes, so this is something to consider if it’s the off season and you don’t mind gaining 10lbs of water weight; in order to look your best in a few months. When it comes to building muscle tissue – anadrol is superior to testosterone and many other anabolic steroids.
Dianabol is similar to anadrol, but is less harsh and you won’t experience as many side effects. Like anadrol you’ll experience some water retention (typically more than testosterone/trenbolone), but if you’re taking a sensible dose – this isn’t going to be anything too extreme.
In terms of muscle gains (in relation to side effects), oral dianabol is up there as one of the best AAS on the black market. It’s not overly harsh and has proven to be one of the best steroids you can utilize for building muscle (which has remained the same for the last 50 years).
Taking trenbolone and testosterone together whilst eating large quantities of food is without a doubt classed as a powerful bulking cycle.
There’s no debating these are some of most powerful steroids in the world for piling on mass. Usually people think of a bulking cycle taking place in the off-season/winter; but bodybuilders also often run testosterone and trenbolone in the summer when it’s beach season.
This is because they won’t cause any water retention and have the ability to reduce a users body fat percentage.
Building muscle and burning fat at the same time is a very ambitious goal in the bodybuilding world; but it’s very possible when running testosterone and trenbolone in a cycle together.
2 More Effective Steroids:
- Human growth hormone
Winstrol and human growth hormone are two very coveted compounds in bodybuilding. They have many different attributes and building lean muscle is one of them.
However, these 2 steroids above won’t build nearly as much mass as trenbolone or testosterone. For this reason (and because they’re both effective fat burners) they can also be used for cutting.
If your goal isn’t to build 30lbs of muscle, and you just want to gain a little bit of size (such as 10lbs), winstrol is a popular steroid used by many bodybuilders (especially if you want to burn fat simultaneously).
Human growth hormone isn’t technically a steroid, but it will help you build some muscle. However, this isn’t likely to be anything huge unless you take insulin with it, which maximizes its effect. If your goal is to look aesthetic, this combo isn’t recommended as insulin & HGH can result in a steroid gut – where your waist starts to protrude and stick out.
Llewellyn, William (2011), Anabolics. Jupiter, FL: Molecular Nutrition. pp. 357-367, 478-488, 525-533, 705-714, 760-771, 940-947
O’Connor M.D, Thomas (2018), America on Steroids: A Time to Heal. Cheshire, CT: Metabolic Promotion LLC. pp. 57-77, 107-111.
Dr O'Connor's the author of the book: America on Steroids - A Time to Heal, and has worked with many elite bodybuilders. He's also been featured in Muscle & Fitness, Muscular Development, whilst appearing in the bodybuilding film documentary Generation Iron 3.