One Cycle a Year with PCT - Am I Doing this Right?

Hello, fellow T-Nationers,

What’s the best way to utilise steroids to maximise retention and stay healthy?

Summary at the end might make this an easier read

First Cycle: I’m 26, lifting for ten years, and last year I did my first cycle of Test-E 300mg for 6 weeks, then 500mg for 6 weeks (the plan was 300mg for ten weeks, and I was enjoying it). I wanted to try it out. From what I read, it makes you feel more content, energetic, powerful, and direct, giving mind-boggling strength and hypertrophic gainz. I took 0.5mg Arimidex every three days to minimise the effects of test aromatising to estrogen and causing gyno, mood swings, and water retention. Then I added clomid after 3 weeks off the Test-E at 100mg for 2 days, 50mg for 3 weeks, then 25mg for 3 weeks. That seemed to be alright.

My training was 6 days a week about 20-25 sets per muscle group with supersets and drop sets. I went from 87kg to 93kg lean.

Cycle Two: Twelve months later, this year (2023), I’ve decided to try it again. This time I wanted to stack something else in there, so I chose Dianabol, the breakfast of champions. I was gonna go for 10mg a day for 2 weeks and up it to 20mg a day for another 4 weeks but the 50mg pills are hard to split. So, 3 days in I started taking 25mg a day, split 12.5 morning and afternoon. By week 4 I’d gained close to 4kg (including water weight but good going). I then upped it to 37.5mg eod nd 25mg for 2 weeks, then in week 7 I stopped the Dbol nd just continued with the test.

The test I was taking was Test 400 consisting of 150 enanthate (4.5 day half-life), 150 cypionate (8 day half-life), and 100 propionate (2.5 day half-life). This mixture of different branches of Test means with 2-3 injections a week test levels will be more consistent. The Test propionate peaks after hours but the other two are still rising, as then propionate decreases the enanthate is peaking, then the cyprionate is peaking as the enanthate is dropping. It still takes about 5 weeks to reach steady state if taking the same amount each week. I decided to take 250mg in week 1, then 400mg in weeks 2-5, then 500mg in weeks 6-11. I want my PCT to start in the first week of Christmas and be about three weeks after I finish, so this makes sense.

I decided to take HCG alongside this stack as well because my balls shrank a lot last year and HCG retains some testicular function so recovery is faster afterwards. I started the HCG in week 2 at 250IU twice a week, then upped it to 250IU three times per week in week 4. I’m considering upping it again to 300IU three times a week, but I don’t want to desensitise. I will be using 750IU eod twice then 500IU eod 6 times, and then 250IU twice so it lasts basically 3 weeks.

Training was Arnolds 8 day split for 3 weeks:
Chest and back I, legs I, shoulders and arms.
Chest and back II, legs II, arms.
Then changed to for 3 weeks:
Chest, back, legs, arms (tricep focus), rest, arms (bicep focus), rest.
Now running Smolov Bench more to bench more and will finish by reducing the bench and increasing deadlifts and squats to peak them after bench.

Started this cycle at 95.6kg, I am currently 101.4kg and still have 3 weeks left.

My previous bench max was 127.5kg, arse up, could barely do 115kg for a triple, now 120kg for 10 sets of 3 smooth, will finish on 125kg 10x3 then 140kg for 1-3 reps. + Pull-ups from 12 reps at 95kg to 16 reps at 101kg.

Summarisation Wrapping up that’s roughly 400mg Test-E for twelve weeks. with Armidex added in during the cycle. A small PCT with Clomid and Arimidex. Then for the next year 450mg Test E/C/P mix for 11 weeks with 25mg Dbol for the first 6 weeks. With HCG, Arimidex, and Nolva added in during the cycle. For post-cycle HCG, clomid, and arimidex.

Maximize retention would be blast and cruise. PCT is the worst way to retain new tissue. However B&C is a commitment to put muscle over health. Prob only a good idea if you value your physique over your longetivity.

Stay healthy would be abstinence. In no way shape or form does using steroids make you healthier. If you’re a hypogonadal male, TRT can make health better. If your suffer from AIDs or a wasting disease, therapeutic steroid use can make your life value better. For the healthy male, no use is best.

As far as you doing it right, I would say “not”. Your lifts vs your BW are not indicitave of lifting properly or with steroid use for,that matter,

You can press 20% more than your BW for three? Are your squat or dead’s and better?


Go in or you’re just not going to get the benefit you want.
IMO, try three equally spaced 8 week cycles next year with the same AAS. Your amounts are fairly safe (of course no AAS is safest.)


Since this is only your second cycle, and your first one worked out so well, why not just do that again? 500mg test but go 16-20 weeks this time, as health allows? No need to start stacking anabolics when you don’t need them, right? When test alone stops working then throw in something else.

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Some will come down to how tall OP is. If he is above average height, he may be pretty lean at around 100 kg. Tall and lean isn’t great for bench even if there is decent muscle. We are talking probably at least 6’2" for me to think OP is in good shape at 100 kgs with a 140 kg bench.

If I was cycling on and off, I’d use HCG. Just a low dose during the cycle. Something like what you are proposing (300 iu 3x a week). During the off period between you last Test shot and the SERM PCT, I’d ramp up to around 1500-2000 IU per week spit into around 3 shots. FWIW, Defy medical (a well known TRT clinic) said they didn’t worry about leydig cell sensitivity (or losing it) at around 2000 iu per week, but said they wouldn’t Rx more than that.

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I would disagree. Mechanically/leverage wise, yes long limbs has its disadvantages but there’s always an excuse for something. Taller people typically have wider/larger pectoral muscles so you would have to examine the whole situation before saying something like that.

At my 90kg weight, bench is probably my worst lift and I could still do over 140kg for triples. I’m not calling the OP weak for the sake of a call out. He is asking if something is ‘wrong’. I would say his nutrition and training are wrong. He is focusing too much on the AAS and likely not enough on the actual work to get there. What happens when the AAS cease? If you havn’t figured out how to grow with them, its going to be horrible when you stop. However, if your training and nutrition are on point when you stop, you will be that much better off.


I don’t disagree here. I do think that if someone is pretty tall, that they will weigh more than 100 kgs to fill out that extra area. I know a guy who is around 6’4", and doesn’t look all that huge at 275 lbs, and he is fairly lean. He can put up about 4 plates. Not a great ratio, compared to some shorter lifters. Another buddy that is on the opposite side of the height spectrum (5’2") has done 405 at like 165-170 lbs.

I am just saying, maybe OP isn’t all that out of shape if he is going for a lean look if he is tall. Still probably doesn’t need steroids for this goal though, and if he is super tall, and using AAS, he should be heavier and stronger IMO.

Keep in mind when comparing lifts with body weight that the Schwartz-Malone formula makes for equitable comparisons. That is how Best Lifter is determine in competitions.

Comparing a 275lb lifter with a 180lb lifter:
Bench press of 1.5 times their body weight

  • 275lb lifter = 412.5lbs
  • 180lb lifter = 270

But when the Schwartz-Malone formula is applied, if a 275lb (0.5214) lifter did a 405lb bench press, then the 180lb (0.6238) lifter would need a 339lb bench press to equal that of the 275lb lifter.

Here the 180lb lifter is doing 1.88 times his body weight to equal the 275lb lifter doing 1.47 times his body weight.


I believe all the responders are giving you very sound advice.

But I need to state that of the 3 decades that I used AAS, I competed in bodybuilding every one of those years. I am giving you the advice that would be giving myself as a hopeful competitor. I wanted to maximize the muscle I could get, hopefully without shortening my lifespan significantly.

This is just one of many coefficients. Some favor smaller lifters and others favor heavier. Here is a interesting calculator for most of them. Powerlifting Relative Strength Calculator

I agree. Strength doesn’t scale linearly with size. Small animals are often extremely strong relative to their weight, and large animals are weak compared to weight. Same applies to small and large humans.

I am not really familiar with that coefficient, but Wilks is something that I’ve been judged by. The funny thing with Wilks is the formula was generated using powerlifting meet data (IIRC), so some goofy stuff happens for very heavy lifters. It is possible to have a better Wilks score with the same lift if you are much heavier than another lifter.

Here is a 400 lb lift by someone who weighs 300 and then by someone who weighs 600.



The 600 lb lifter would win the competition with the same lift as a 300 lb lifter. I think this is saying that at a certain point in weight relative strength and absolute strength go down, which makes sense. Very tough to squat 400 lbs if you weight 600 lbs.

We could debate coefficients all day long, but we if we step back and look at the numbers, its not like its even close to a good lift at any weight. That was my point. We are NOT splitting hairs here. We are looking at someone, in a normal weight spectrum, on AAS who lifts 1.2x their body weight on a press.

Just to clarify a novice understanding, none of the formulas favor the lighter lifter. Granted some favor slightly better one weight group more so than the other end of the other weight group.

I haven’t investigated this, but I know most all of the formulas are based on average actual weight lifted by different weight lifters. My guess is that the samples of lifters over 500lbs are pitifully weak compared to the average 300lb lifter.

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That is the conclusion I came to as well.

What other formulas are there?

Reshel / Glossbrenner

For most of the existence of the Australian Powerlifting Federation, the Reshel Formula was used to determine the best lifter, created by a former APF Technical Officer, Greg Reshel. Recently, however, the APF adopted the new Glossbrenner Formula, created by Powerlifting USA Statistician Herb Glossbrenner. This formula, however is not really a new formula as much as a combination of two older ones. It took the average of the coefficients from the Schwartz, and IPF formula, the Wilks. Herb Glossbrenner contended that the Reshel too heavily favoured the very light weight lifters, and was outdated. He also contended that, while they were both okay formulas, the Schwartz formula favoured the lighter lifters and the Wilks favoured the heavier lifters. So, he took the average of the two to balance them out.

I am most familiar with this as well. I think its more considered the modern standard.

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But how did it all get started and why the changes?

When I first competed in powerlifting the Hoffman formula was used. Powerlifting in Florida in those days was sanctioned through the AAU. In fact, bodybuilding was also sanctioned under the AAU. And of course, Olympic lifting was too. You do know who Bob Hoffman (of York Barbell) is. He coached the USA Olympic Weightlifting team between 1936 and 1968. Most likely the Hoffman formula was developed from data of top level Olympic lifters.

As Powerlifting began expanding away from the AAU and more data was attained (as best I can recall) the Schwartz formula replaced the Hoffman formula for application in Powerlifting. As more data from championships was gathered the Schwartz formula was updated to the Schwartz-Malone formula. As more data from championships was gather the Wilks formula was developed.

The best formulas reflect what the best lifters (not singularly best, but group of the top competitors) were doing. So, more data better reflects reality of the whole (that excel).

My love of inferential statistics understands more data and more recent data best represents the current process.

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