My impression given what I read on the internet about it was that steroids help your body recover much faster after workout. So for the recovering to work, you still have to damage your body in the gym, right? But I heard people saying that you don't even have to work out to get the muscles if you're on roids. Is there any truth in that?

  • 2
    Ask a professional bodybuilder. He'll tell you that you still need to work out like a mad man.
    – rrirower
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 17:35
  • Opting to protect this question as it attracts shallow, anecdotal comments by new users wanting to get their two cents in.
    – Alec
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 12:15

8 Answers 8


But I heard people saying that you don't even have to work out to get the muscles if you're on roids. Is there any truth in that?

Steroids don't change the basic paradigm of muscle training. Juicing yourself to increase your hormones (effectively) will allow you to carry more muscle than your body would allow otherwise. You will recover faster as well, and can subject your body to more load allowing increased super compensation.

But you need to train, and most heavy steroid users with massive muscles spend a lot of time in the gym.

Beyond increased training capacity the other advantage is that because your recovery is so much better you can be sloppier with your program than a natural athlete. Walking the knife edge of overtraining becomes wider because you can exceed your genetic potential.

Which is all well and good except for those small problems related to your testicles shrinking, baldness, excess estrogen, illegal drug use, injections, and knowing that the only way to maintain more muscle than your genetic capacity is with the continued use of those steroids.

It's also expensive, mood altering, and I'd be impressed if you could find a single medical professional who would tell you it's anything other than incredibly short sighted. You'll have your body for decades: don't treat it like a child's chemistry experiment.

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    Are you saying that once you stop you lose all muscles you got so easily due to steroids, even if you continue to work out?
    – thelolcat
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 20:05
  • @Eric Kaufman You left off one other side affect: steroids can become addictive just like any other drug.
    – rrirower
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 20:23
  • Tiny quibble: mood altering (i.e. roid rage) may be a myth - claim by Bigger Stronger Faster (interesting video on facts & myths of steroids)
    – G__
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 21:13
  • @Greg agreed on the broscience of roid rage, but between the spread of possible steroids choices, stacks, cycle lengths, pct quality, and individual differences there really are a decent amount of mood changes that can present themselves. Deca reducing or enhancing sexual desire, etc.
    – Eric
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 21:37
  • @thelolcat Your body will tailor itself to its training load and the amount of muscle tissue it can support. If everyone could juice up and hit their genetic potential then hop off gear and stay in maintenance mode, I think nearly everyone would do them.
    – Eric
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 21:38

There have been documented tests that show steroid use without weight training will still increase your muscle mass just as someone who workouts and doesn't use steroids. However, if you're thinking you can get huge and jacked by just taking steroids alone you're sadly mistaken.

Changes from Base Line in Mean (±SE) Fat-free Mass, Triceps and Quadriceps Cross-Sectional Areas, and Muscle Strength in the Bench-Press and Squatting Exercises over the 10 Weeks of Treatment

The P values shown are for the comparison between the change indicated and a change of zero. The asterisks indicate P<0.05 for the comparison between the change indicated and that in either no-exercise group; the daggers, P<0.05 for the comparison between the change indicated and that in the group assigned to placebo with no exercise; and the double daggers, P<0.05 for the comparison between the change indicated and the changes in all three other groups.

  • Nope. I stumbled across a comment on some article which was stating that getting muscles with the help of steroids is so easy that even if you don't work out you get results (obviously not that great but still). So I guess it's true after all
    – thelolcat
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 22:39
  • Getting huge is similar to growing hair. It's only pleasant where you want it. That's why you train. To sculpt your body and modify the shape and size of each muscle like you would modify your super-car if you were a car enthusiast. If not, you might end up horribly unnatural. Would it be still good? You judge yourself. i.imgur.com/oISqjuU.jpg
    – Mehrad
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 23:18
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    That's just some dude who injected oil in himself, I really doubt it that you could be able get to that just by taking roids :)
    – thelolcat
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 14:45
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    The data shows me that steroids are required for building tricep mass!
    – G__
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 21:14
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    Fat free mass is not the same as muscle mass. The steroid administered in the study (testosterone) is prone to aromatization which can increase water retention. The increases in strength can also occur regardless of an increase in muscle mass, AAS have been shown to acutely affect strength in rat myofibers, and anecdotically, AAS with short half-lifes have been used to break personal records due to this acute effect. So the study isn't all that conclusive, unfortunately.
    – pbond
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 18:10

I don't have a link because the study was about 25 years ago but Harvard Med did a test study on three groups for 4 months:

A. Steroids + 4 days working out per week (same regimen)

B. Steroids + No workout

C. Placebo + 4 days working out per week (same regimen)


A. 6% gain in muscle mass

B. 4% gain in muscle mass

C. 2% gain in muscle mass

I am not sure if this is as repeatable for later cycles but obviously if people are risking their life to take something there has to be a payoff.


From the limited research I've done on this I concluded that you'll still keep some of the muscle gained but not necessarily the same mass. The idea is the steroids increase the number of muscle fibres. It is one of the reasons why some are against athletes that have tested positive being allowed to compete even after serving their bans. It could be argued that they have gained an advantage that will stay with them for a long time even after going clean.


A steroid user does make muscle mass gains without working out. However, it wouldn't be as much as it would if they also went to the gym, too. It would be sort of like if a person was to workout but eat poorly, or lack sleep. They might make some gains, but not much. If someone on steroids wants to get insanely jacked, they've got to lift often for long amount of times, too. And roids do help you recover faster. Steroids are just like a supplement, except they give you way more muscle but also give you negative hormonal changes and other negative side effects as well. I would not suggest using them. It's just not worth the amount of problems that come with the muscles they give you.


I know this an old post...but if u wanted to cut fat and gain muscle without having to wotkout... gonna cost u Hella money. Bout 1500 a month.. hgh. Human growth hormone. It's a hollywood thing mostly, u wonder y all these stars look the exact same if not better 20 years later...it's hgh. It's like the fountain of youth drug.

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    I downvoted your answer. Reason? Do you have any supporting evidence to support your claims? <br/>If so, please provide supporting claims from said website/book/etc it in your answer. Once an evidence is presented, then I will re-consider my votes.
    – Aizul
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 5:59

If your question is strictly referring to just gaining muscle mass, then of course the steroid user shall make gains in mass whether they work out or not. However, where these gains are and how much gains they get shall depend on if they are lifting or not. You may have heard that steroid usage will enhance one's performance at powerlifting, but this will not be the case if the user doesn't work out, due to the fact that steroids prioritize deltoid, traps, and lat muscles, which none of are the main muscle used for powerlifting. That being stated, if a sedentary person has broad shoulders and a wide back, but the rest of their body is weak, they are probably using steroids. Also, the muscle mass gained would not be as much as an active steroid user. But why would you want to take steroids? The negative effects definitely outweigh the positive effects.

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    When did steroids start intuitively targeting certain muscles? Source please.
    – Alec
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 7:05
  • @Alec In theory he is correct to a degree. Many steroid users are known to have their traps and shoulders more defined than their other muscles, but roids do definitely hit the rest of your body too. Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:08

I have been on steroids for a month now. I go to the gym 2 days a week for a few hours. It's the only time I have as I work long hours. I have been seeing a real change. I am in the Engineering side of work and work seems to exercise my muscles daily. I don't think the steroids would work just sitting being lazy. It's not that simple. If it was, I wouldn't see anyone going to the gym.

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