Question about the '2 On / 2 Off' Cycle

Hey folks. This is my first time posting at T-Nation. I am a member of another forum where recently the topic of the “2 on / 2 off” cycle developed by Bill Roberts has been springing up as of late. There has been some interesting discussions going on that have gotten me excited and I am considering this cycle for my next run. More specifically, I am thinking about running 3 in a row and extending the last off period to 6 weeks.

Over at the other board there has been many links posted to this site and others with information about the 2 Week cycle. I just had a few questions that I haven’t seen cleared up yet. Since this is the place where the cycle is primarily discussed, it seems like you guys are the one to ask! Here goes:

  1. Does the potency of the steroid compound(s) make a difference? The ability to recover so rapidly is what makes this cycle seem so great. In fact, Bill Roberts said recovery takes about a week. But what confuses me is how some compounds shut you down much faster than others, so hypothetically, couldn’t that have an effect on your ability to recover in that short time? What about if for the 2 weeks, a stack of very “suppressive” steroids were used? For example, what about running something as powerful as M1T which is a compound described to cause “immediate” shutdown? Even 2 weeks with 10-20mg that compound is considered a pretty rough cycle and I have rarely seen it ran for more than 3 weeks because of this. I know there are other factors that must be considered such as liver toxicity and cholesterol, but is 2 weeks really long enough for the HPTA to recover from a 2 week M1T cycle? I have chosen M1T for the sake of discussion, since it is probably one of the most powerful steroids out there of those which are still regularly used. What I am trying to say is that if we put other side effects such as liver toxicity and cholesterol values aside, and only focus on the HPTA function for the sake of discussion, would it really be safe to run 3 or so consecutive M1T cycles with 2 weeks in between each?

  2. Are there any peer-reviewed research or other type of hard-evidence that one could reference which supports the “Two Stage” process of HPTA suppression that Bill Roberts describes? Here is a quote from Mr. Roberts someone posted on the other forum:

I am not doubting the credibility or knowledge possessed by Mr. Roberts, but if even just for the sake of discussion, it would be nice to have some scientific literature to refer to.


I’ve done drugs that shut you down pretty hard for 2-3 weeks and then recover in probably 10-14 days. I don’t know much about M1T but you could probably do three straight 2 on 2 off cycles and recover fast and fine. You might have trouble the more you do, but if you genuinly let your body recover you could probably do even more.

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I’ve never seen Roberts actually advocate a 2 on/2 off cycle before… 2 on/4 off, yah.

Link? I tried a google search and have only found 2 on/4 off. I also was thinking about a 2 on/2 off cycle, but I can see why it might not work (if you do end up being shut down, good luck recovering in time).

M1ts suck. Google M1T +side effects. You will never want to use them again. There are enough horror stories on this site alone. Delayed gyno, kidney issues, lethargy, extreme lower back pumps…etc…

You will need at least 3-4 weeks after the two for recovery time. Especially if you want to do this multiple times over with high dose/highly supressive AAS.

Well, I read that he has even run 2-on/1-off before. Also, as you can see in the quote from above, he actually says it only takes a week for the HPTA to bounce back. As far as advocating 2-on/2-off, he may not have done so directly, but as I interpretedone of his posts he did seem to suggest that it was still safe:

[quote]I generally explain it in terms of weeks on per year, and the following subjective and unprovable appraisal that being on 1/3 of the time is conservative but can be quite effective; being on half the time is pushing it a little more but is still exercising some caution and isn’t extreme; and being on 2/3 or more is being quite aggressive and doesn’t necessarily give much more results by the end of the year.

And with regard to alkylateds, it’s probably best to not be on them more than half the time; it is more cautious to limit use to 6 weeks at a time; in general it is best to average at least as much time off of them as on; but it’s acceptable to have two stretches such as 6 weeks with a shorter time between them such as 2 weeks, or some modest number of 2 on / 1 off cycles before having a longer break off of the alkylateds.[/quote]

I never have used M1T before and never will. Again, I only used M1T for purpose of discussion. My question is simply if the suppressive nature of the compound(s) ran during the 14 days can cause you to not reach adequate HPTA recovery during such a short “off” period. In other words, does the “two stage” shutdown process still hold true, regardless of the “suppressiveness” of the compound, with the pituitary still remaining un-inhibited after 14 days.

Also, just to re-clarify, I understand that there are other critical considerations to make as far as liver toxicity and cholesterol, but what I am interested in regarding the 2 week cycle approach are the HPTA recovery aspects.

[quote]Differences are:

As we now have better aromatase inhibitors, e.g. letrozole, where a cycle has a fair amount of aromatizables such as Dianabol or testosteorne propionate, using an AI is preferred now to using Clomid or Nolvadex during the cycle for gyno protection.

The pseudo-taper deal of using some light orals in the first off week has been dropped.

While long-term, a ratio of being 1/3 of the weeks of the year is effective while conservative and suitable for most, it’s been well established by now that 2 on / 2 off also works fine when PCT is used in the off weeks, and even a single off week is acceptable from time to time. [/quote]

This is Bill Roberts in that thread you linked to previously. It pretty clearly states that for 2 on/2 off, a SERM would need to be used during the “off” weeks and an AI (like letro) would need to be used while “on” (assuming aromatizable steroids are used).

Thanks for bringing this information to light.

I think with his advice, 2 on/2 off could be used for a few cycles (2-4) and then switch it back to a longer 2 on/ 4 off scheme. Of course, that’s theoretical.

It also depends on how you react to aas and if you’ve noticed signifigant shutdown with anything you’ve used.

M1T is garbage any of my friends that used it said it sucked for gains and made them feel like shit, from what I have read it is very toxic and basically a dirty compound that gives crap for gains compared to a real Steroid even the milder orals.

Hey Bill, are you out there?

I know he’s a busy guy, but I’m really hoping he will stop by and bless this thread with his knowledge.

Well, what’s said above is correct.

And suppression of LH production is fairly rapid in any case, occurring early in even a 2 week cycle. The thing is that, if problematic compounds such as nandrolone are not used and long-acting esters are not used, recovery is very rapid if the “on” period is only 2 weeks.

Rather than go 3 weeks and then have 6 weeks off, although the comparison is not equal (more total time on and more drugs used, if same dosage) I’d rather see 2 on / 2 off / 2 on for that same time period.

Or, if it is expected to not use anabolic steroids for quite some time after this period, just going 8 weeks straight could certainly be considered as well. Again an unequal comparison, but it might fit the personal schedule and situation better. There really is no telling without further information.

Thank you Bill. If I understand correctly, then the potency of the compound isn’t important, it’s the duration that the compound is active in your system (in this case < 14 days) that determines if you will be making that “rapid recovery”. Anything to add in regards to #2 of the OP?

Yes, there is. But unfortunately I didn’t list the reference in my Meso article on the subject; Dan Duchaine didn’t want references (there wasn’t room) for the newsletter article on the subject; and I don’t think it is something that will turn up by computer search, but only by thumbing through a large number of journal articles.

I do recall it clearly however: in some manner LHRH responsiveness was measured on a daily basis while androgen was administered, and was found actually to increase at first, and to still be improved on day 14, but to rapidly drop deeply below baseline after that.

I appreciate that it’s reasonable to want the reference to see for oneself, but unfortunately I can’t readily do it. I am actually not an organized person at all, and usually don’t save copies of refererences, keep any track record of them, or even if I make a copy, I ordinarily lose it after a while. I suppose it is because my interest is in knowing the content myself rather than being able to give citations, unless my purpose at the moment is to write an article which requires the citation. It would be better if I were more organized.

Bill, I am already sold on the concept personally and will be running the 2-week cycle regardless. Aside from you being a credible source, I have seen only positive reports from people who have run the protocol. I just noticed that whenever the concept, as you’ve developed it, comes up on other forums people seem very skeptical. Even with all that you’ve contributed to the AAS world, somehow you’ve maintained a low profile, so just saying “Bill Roberts developed it” isn’t enough to convince a lot of people. I just figured it would be nice to have something to point to for those who aren’t familiar with your reputation.

Maybe one day I’ll get some post-cycle bloodwork done and post it up for the nay-sayers.

Reasons for people being nay-sayers have included:

  1. Never having done it
  2. Having done it some poor way which is not at all the way I’ve said to do it (less common than #1, though)

and most importantly.

  1. Not making equal comparisons, and instead coming to brain-dead conclusions such as that obviously a 12 week cycle is going to do more than a 2 week cycle.

Rather than comparing, for example, two 12 week cycles year to twelve 2 week cycles.

Anyway, here’s to your good results!

Bill, wot if i injected 1000mg test decanoate on day 1, and then did nothing until day 14 - will i be “off” after day 14 considering the initial decanoate’s half life?

Bill, in most of the example cycles i’ve seen Clomid has been used as the PCT as oppposed to nolva. Is there any particular reason for this, and would nolva (of which i have a reasonable supply) be a reasonable alternative?

Also I have no short acting test esters and wanted to know if anadrol + var would be a good combo for a 2 on 2/4 off cycle system.

Finally. what are the trade-offs to being on some form of AAS and/or PCT for virtually the whole year vs the more traditional 8-12 wk cycle approach where you do have some time totally off all substances? I usually see this talked about in terms of pro’s and con’s of size gains, but how does having no time off any substance (AAS or PCT) affect the body?

Nolvadex is a perfectly reasonable alternative.

Anadrol and oxandrolone worked well the one time I tried it, at 75 mg/day each in divided doses.

Back when having to rely on SERMs for gyno protection during the cycle as well as using them for PCT, a quite reasonable point could be made that being on SERMs nonstop for years on end might result in attenuated effectiveness, although Clomif for example in a one-year clinical study proved safe for men.

If not using SERMs during the cycle though then that is less of a concern.

Being “on” half the time (if 2 on / 2 off) is moderately aggressive no matter what, whether it’s 8 on / 8 off or 2 on / 2 off. It is true that the 2 on / 2 off has more total SERM use. If an adverse effect has ever been experienced from that – other than having to drop it because of mood or visual disturabances – I’ve never heard of it, though.

If 2 on / 4 off, this is fairly conservative and one is off of everything 1/3 of the time.

I can see the benefit of 2 on and 2 off. But i have a quick question. What if your body is slower to respond to anabolics? IS this a valid consideration? I know guys who can be on 500mg test and 400 mg deca weekly and it will still take about 3-5 weeks for them to see their gains. Others I’ve knows who were say more genetically “gifted” could respond within a week or sooner, especially with faster acting compounds.

So is Individual variance a valid concern or not? Could a slow responder just take a few more 2 weekers to show results?

Also is it written in stone that a cycle like that can;t be done with say a sust 250? Like a 750mg fron load. From there on in 2 weeks the circulating androgen levels will be very minimal. But is that enough to twart the process?

It does work fine including for the more experienced, but frontloading and using an effective-for-the-person (a level genuinely effective over say 8 weeks counts as effective) is necessary. If failing to frontload and waiting for longer acting testosterone esters, let alone Deca, to build up, yes one won’t see much in the first couple of weeks of a longer cycle.

I have heard of a handful of cases of users trying a single injection of Sustanon at 1000 mg at the start of the cycle, who thought it worked OK, but personally I chalk that down to their not being very experienced users. Not in terms of the recovery being OK, but with regard to thinking the effectiveness to be anything much.

my Brain hurts now, 16yrs ago it was never this complicated, but then we almost never did a PCT and wonder why we crashed so bad :slight_smile:

[quote]Vulf wrote:
my Brain hurts now, 16yrs ago it was never this complicated, but then we almost never did a PCT and wonder why we crashed so bad :)[/quote]

Like anything in life the things designed to simplify our lives often complicate things.
In the AAS community its very common to see those in the know spending more time, thought and $$ into their ancillaries than into the actually gear.
Its just the way the game has evolved