Types of Common Steroids Used by Athletes

Anabolic steroids are substances that increase muscle mass by enhancing the effect of male hormones in the human body. These work on testosterone and dihydrotestosterone to trigger increased muscle mass, fat loss, strength and aggression. At the same time, they can also enhance endurance, drive and determination – but they come at a price. Unfortunately, steroids are also highly dangerous and can cause a number of unwanted side effects and may even be lethal if the user is very unlucky. For these reasons, steroids are illegal in most countries and have been banned by most sports.

But that doesn’t stop them from being very interesting. So what exactly are these different steroids, how do they work and what risks do they post?


Dianabol is also known as Dbol and is one of the most popular steroids owing to its availability and relative affordability. It is also popular as it can be taken orally or via injection. Dianabol is one of the most potent steroids available but also comes with a lot of side effects.

Dbol works by binding to androgen receptors, thereby enhancing the action of androgenic hormones like testosterone. This results in all the benefits of heightened testosterone (more muscle, less fat, more energy) but also all of the unwanted side effects like aggression, hair loss and acne. Dbol can also potentially lead to lowered natural testosterone production, heightened oestrogen (leading to gynecomastia) and liver damage (true for most steroids).


Deca Durabolin works slightly differently to Dbol by converting into DHT. DHT is the more potent form of testosterone called ‘dihydrotestosterone’. This actually means that deca also cannot convert into oestrogen and won’t cause gynecomastia. It’s highly potent and many people like the fact that it won’t cause their hair to fall out or give them acne.

That said though Deca can cause other side effects, the most worrying being ‘Deca dick’ – AKA impotence. It’s still necessary to go through PCT (post cycle therapy) and liver damage is still very possible.


Clenbuterol is not really a steroid but is often classed among them. Clenbuterol works as a bronchodilator and as a stimulant (beta-2-agonist). This helps athletes perform better in endurance tasks and burns lots of fat. It also somewhat enhances muscle growth but this also applies to the heart. Cardiac hypertrophy can potentially be lethal and is a serious concern.


Anadrol is steroid that works by increasing protein synthesis and that doesn’t have any binding affinity for the androgen receptors. This means that many of the side effects will be lessened or not as serious but it still puts a strain on the liver (it’s actually one of the more liver toxic steroids) and heart and can still cause some degree of acne, insomnia, hair loss and gyno through secondary mechanisms. You don’t need to use PCT though, which is very appealing for many users.


Anavar works very similarly to Deca in that it affects DHT rather than testosterone directly. However, it is somewhat less potent than Deca and is even considered one of the safer options for female athletes. This is despite all the usual concerns regarding liver toxicity etc.