T Nation

Mass Vs. Strength From AAS


Could someone please explain the physiology behind this phenomenon of some AAS promoting major strength increases, while not particularly increasing mass while other AAS promoting mass but not increasing strength nearly as much?

I understand that many cause rapid weight gain in the form of water retention I would think that that isn't what people really mean when they say an AAS great for gaining mass.

How can something be anabolic and increase strength dramatically, yet not also increase mass dramatically? I understand that neural type training can result in strength increases over mass increases simply by increasing neural activation of fibers that you already have. But how can a hormone increase strength w/o increasing mass?


I really can't think of any steroids that promote mass gains without strength gains, but I do know that the ones that cause strength gains without mass are central nervous system stimulants. In that category Halotestin comes to mind.
A lot of the typical "mass" steroids act this way because they cause a lot of water retention, which causes a perception of more massive muscles.


A greater ability through the CNS. The strength was there but the athlete was too overtrained or undermotivated to use it. With the AAS, some people get stronger simply off the placebo effect. But AAS can effect receptors that will trigger aggression leading to more drive in the gym. I believe the more androgenic (defined in the therapeutic index) steroids result in greater physc effects.


Steroids which have strong genomic effects (i.e. initiating gene transcription) usually build more mass than those with primarily non-genomic effects.


Anthony please elaborate. I dont know what this genomic stuff is. I still dont understand how something like Anavar can make u way stronger without also making u considerably bigger. I thought muscle was musle and that AAS build muscle. I wouldnt think Anavar would simply tune ur CNS to utilize muscle u already have better, rather I would think it would make u stronger by giving u more mass. I understand that some AAS make u retain water more than others but surely that is not what it meant when people say some are better for gaining mass whereas others are better for gaining strength.


I'am not exactley the brain that Anthony is but, If something like anavar was to make you gain a great deal of strength without any weight gain, I'am guessing that it increases the density and quality of the muscle. that may be way off base and just plain wrong, but that makes sense to me....


Well...some steroids stimulate the CNS more strongly, such as anavar. This causes more muscle fibers to fire when you lift, and thus gives you strength...while not necessarily promoting as much growth as the steroids that operate by other mechanisms of action primarily.


this is disappointing to hear. I would have much rather heard that anavar promotes greater muscle density of general quality of muscle.

if anavar largely just causes higher utilization of same muscle fibers then I imagine u dont make nearly as much long-term benefit from it. i mean if it improved the muscle then maybe the muscle would stick around a while if u trained right but if all it does is cause higher activation while u are taking it then I dont see how its effects could last nearly as long.