by Mike Arnold
As a beginner, with literally dozens of steroids available for use, deciding which are best suited to your goals can be a daunting task. As performance/appearance enhancers, steroids can vary enormously in their impact on muscle size, strength levels, cosmetic attributes (hardness, density, dryness, and vascularity), side effects, mental-emotional state, and endogenous hormone production. Without a thorough self-education on the subject, the steroid novice does not possess the requisite knowledge for designing his own cycles, leaving him solely at the mercy of others….and where do these people usually go for help? You guessed it…the internet. The problem with this is that while the Net is loaded with an abundance of valuable info, it is also chockfull of error, forcing the prospective user to sift through a mountain of garbage in search of the truth.
This effort is both time consuming and inefficient, demanding years of study before one is capable of adequately discerning the truth from error.
Therefore, being able to turn to a vet in times of need is invaluable, especially during one’s formative years in the AAS subculture. Those who are fortunate enough to be in such a position should take advantage of it, as this person will be able to provide you with years (or perhaps even decades) of user experience. However, for those lacking this type of vital support, mini-descriptions, such as the ones shown below, can be used to help fill in the blanks as you continue your education on the subject.
You will notice that each section is broken down into different categories, with each steroid ranked according to how they compare against the other steroids in that same category. The following list is not exhaustive, as such a compilation would not only be time-prohibitive, but many of the steroids cannot be sourced, making the accompanying information irrelevant in terms of personal application. For this reason, I have selected 6 of the most common steroids in each category (6 injectables & 6 orals). Additionally, I have provided a brief write-up for each category, explaining its meaning for those of you who are not yet well-versed in steroid terminology.
The first category we will be evaluating is muscle growth. With the acquisition of muscle mass being the primary goal of many individuals, it helps to know how the various AAS compare against each other in this area. Of course, not everyone will experience the same results from each drug, as personal response will always play a role in the results we achieve. Therefore, this list should be considered nothing more than a rough guideline, which may or may not accurately apply to you.
Before going any farther, it is important to define the term muscle mass, so the reader knows exactly what I am referring to. For the purpose of this article, I have chosen to define muscle mass as a combination of both muscle fiber and intramuscular/subcutaneous water. It is common knowledge that different steroids can vary tremendously in their ability to initiate muscle fiber growth, but perhaps less well known is their ability to alter both intramuscular and subcutaneous water levels. Since water retention is such a fundamental characteristic of AAS, we should take a minute to describe how the different types of water retention affect both our overall muscle size, as well as the quality of our musculature when using different types of steroids.
Intramuscular water retention is beneficial, as this water is stored directly inside the muscle itself, contributing to its overall size and appearance. This makes it virtually impossible to differentiate intramuscular water from genuine muscle fiber. In contrast, subcutaneous water is held immediately under the skin, where it blurs muscular definition and imparts a watery look to the physique. While it will contribute to increases in bodyweight, it does not increase muscle size. Some steroids increase I.M. water significantly, while others barely alter I.M. water levels at all. In the same way, some steroids cause quite a bit of sub-q water retention, while others cause none whatsoever. Obviously, with each steroid causing varying degrees of water retention in the I.M. and sub-q regions, it can have a significant impact on both muscle size and appearance.
One should also keep in mind that those steroids which cause the most I.M water retention, while making us grow the largest on-cycle, will also result in the most rapid lost of gains post-cycle, as the water which was stored in the muscle will return to normal levels once the user discontinues the drugs. This is why we see some guys, just a couple of weeks after their cycle has ended, deflate right before our eyes. This rapid reduction in size is predominantly attributable to a normalization of I.M water levels, with muscle fiber loss accounting for only a small portion of the lost size. Of course, the longer the individual stays off, the more likely he is to lose actual muscle fiber, but this is generally not a concern during the first few weeks.
Through the collective experience of decades of steroid users, we have learned quite a bit about how well the various AAS work to enhance muscle size. Therefore, those steroids which typically result in the greatest gains in muscle mass within the shortest period of time, top the list.
3.) Dimethazine (tie)
4.) Oxymetholone (tie)
Top 2 (in order of effectiveness): Methyl-1-Testosterone, Superdrol
In the strength category, I chose the top 6 most effective orals & injectables of each group. However, my selections were limited primarily to the most readily available AAS, although some may be a bit more difficult to source than others. Besides, any time a “best of” list is compiled for strength gains, regardless of the selection criteria, the best we can do is generalize. Individual response to the various AAS varies tremendously when it comes to strength gains, with some people experiencing great strength gains from one drug, while another person barely benefits from taking that same drug. For this reason, there cannot be a definitive “best steroid for strength” ranking list. Still, the placements below provide a general idea as to how these steroids may affect your strength development. As with many things AAS, personal experience will be your teacher when attempting to determine which drugs work the best for you in this area.
2.) Methyl-1-testosterone (tie)
3.) Dimethazine (tie)
4.) Oxymetholone (tie)
3.) Testosterone (tie)
4.) Nandrolone (tie)
Top 4 (in no particular order): Superdrol, Methyl-1-Testosterone, Anadrol, Trenbolone
Like the strength category above, how an individual reacts to a particular steroid in terms of side effects, is determined by personal response. There are many occasions in which an individual will not have any problems using a specific drug, while the next person cannot use it at all due to intolerable side effects. A great example is nandrolone. When it comes to sexual functioning, nandrolone is a drug which some can use in large dosages without any issues, while others will experience impotence and a near complete loss of libido even when using tiny amounts of the drug. Like all steroids, you will not know how nandrolone affects you until you try it for yourself.
Because of the personal response factor, we can only make vague generalizations regarding which steroids are more or less likely to cause particular side effects. More so, not everyone considers each side effect to be equally bothersome. For example, a fitness model may consider hair loss to be a completely unacceptable side effect, while a BB’r who has been bald for years will not even have that side effect in his top 100. Therefore, I have not ranked these steroids by the “type” of side effects they cause, but rather, by the number and severity of side effects caused.
Also, for this category I decided against using a “worst of the worst” ranking system and instead, implemented a “worst to best” ranking system. Again, I utilized only the most common steroids. For example, in the oral column, I listed methyl-1-testosterone as the #1 offender, as it is well known to cause horrendous side effects in many users, in numerous different ways. By the time you reach the middle of the list you will find steroids which are considered to be “middle of the road” in terms of side effects…and at the bottom you will find AAS which have been shown time and time against to present the fewest problems among the greatest number of people.
2.) Testosterone (tie)
3.) Nandrolone (tie)
Top 3 (since this list uses a “worst to best” ranking system, there cannot be a top 3)
It is no secret that many steroids are capable of altering out emotions, potentially leading to an outward change of behavior. Some AAS supply anti-depressant-like effects, improving the user’s mood and overall sense of well-being. Others can lead to an increase in aggression and a more dominant alpha-male mind-set. In those who are prone, one may even develop a short-fuse, experiencing misplaced outbursts of anger or physical violence. In general, it is usually recommended that these type of AAS be avoided by the less emotionally mature/unstable, which usually includes young adults (especially teens) and those men who have pre-existing problems in the areas of self control and aggression. Men with these pre-existing issues who also engage in the use of these drugs are likely to exacerbate these problems, potentially leading to physical violence and/or anti-social conduct. To sum up, if you’re not man enough to control yourself, you have no business using this type of steroid…and in my opinion, no steroids at all. Only children allow themselves to be controlled by BB’ing drugs, while men remain in control at all times.
As with the other categories above, personal experience is your teacher, showing you which steroids are the most compatible with your personality. While out outward reactions are determined by our maturity level, the way in which a steroid impacts our inner emotions is decided by personal response. For example, drugs such as trenbolone and halotestin are well known to cause emotional alterations in many users, although some are able to use these drugs in high dosages with no issues at all. The wise BB’rs knows when he doesn’t get along well with certain drugs and moves onto another which is more suited to his own unique make-up.
It is generally recommended, more than with any other type of steroid, that a beginner starts off at lower dosages and gradually works his way up, as needed. With these drugs, more is frequently not better. It doesn’t take much to experience the emotional changes which accompanying these drugs and in some users, these changes can be profound. Therefore, the individual who is considering using these drugs requires a certain degree of insight into how he is perceived by others, hopefully ensuring social acceptance.
Top 2 (tend to have the largest effect on the mind): Trenbolone, Halotestin
Muscle Hardness & Density
There are many steroids which lead to an improvement in muscle hardness & density. Normally, these steroids are used when one desires to enhance the quality of their physique. There is no sub-q water retention associated with these compounds, so the user will maintain a dry, lean appearance. Often, these drugs are used by BB’rs for contest preparation, since they are the most effective at displaying all the intricate details of one’s muscularity. It should be said that regardless of which steroids are administered, if one’s bodyfat is too high, these changes will not be apparent. One must obtain a sufficiently low bodyfat level before these steroids are able to have these effects on the physique, and the lower one’s bodyfat is, the more pronounced these effects will be.
2.) Anavar (tie)
3.) Winstrol (tie)
4.) Cyanostane (tie)
5.) Epistane (tie)
6.) Halo Extreme (by IML)
3.) Injectable Winstrol
4.) 1-Testosterone (tie)
5.) Methenolone (tie)