T Nation

Why Twelve Weeks?


Twelve weeks is the commonly cited cutoff for a cycle. Why is this the longest recommended time on? Is it cholesterol related, or is there some measurement for long term natural testosterone alteration?

Specifically, I'm asking because I have a buddy who, two weeks in, sprained his elbow. He plans on spending three weeks healing, not lifting, and continuing his test-e, and pausing his dianabol usage. Then, he'll restart the dianabol after it's healed around week 6, run it for its remaining two weeks, and extend his test-e cycle to 16 weeks.

Anything to be aware of, in terms of health concerns, or erroneous thinking/planning here?



Large amount of exo-test would reduce collagen synthesis, which means inscreased injury probability, slower healing on connective tissues. So he should really stop his AAS usage, or at least drop down to HRT level doses. i.e stop dbol, and run test-e@200mg per week.


Plus the longer you stay on the harder it will be to recover.

It is good and perfectly effective to run 8 week cycles as a maximum, with longer periods being broken up by 1-2week low dose periods as meph suggested. So a 12 week cycle may be done as 3x4wks or 2x6 wks - maybe with a short break inbetween the ‘meso’-cycles if deemed useful or necessary.
It sounds like a plan that would suit your pal.

Of course this is quite ‘advanced’ cycling in a sense as most do just use a ‘static’ cycle length, ie. 8wks on, 10wks on, or 12wks on, etc.

Either way - your friend would do very well to drop the AAS for the period of recovery and make sure to have his full HPTA recover - THEN start again (assuming he is a 1-2cycles a year MAX kinda dude).


Thanks for the responses, mephistopheles and Brook. Sorry about the whole “my friend” thing. I realize that’s the stereotypical shady cliche. Ironically it actually is my friend.

Theoretically - I was hoping to understand this better. Why is it that recovery’s harder the longer he is on? i.e. twelve weeks vs the sixteen? (His cycle follows the recommended newbie’s cycle that’s stickied on this board - although it’s his second.) He’s on HCG, 0.25 adex eod, and our understanding has always been that partially avoids seriously skewed biochemistry and a lengthy and brutal post-cycle recovery.

Logistically - you’re saying the route to go is to drop to test-replacement level (150 per wk?) for a two week “meso-cycle” while healing - and then resumes his dbol and 500/e3d post healing? Does the adex and hcg supplementation stay the same?


I wasn’t saying that - i honestly can’t recommend something like that (that sort of cycle) without discussing specifics with him.

As he has only ran 1 cycle before, i would honestly suggest he come off totally as he will not be suppressed (fully) yet and be able to recover very fast.

He can then recover his injury (which i assume isn’t too bad due to the assumed 2 weeks length of time to fix it) and restart the cycle again as soon as he is ready to train as full speed.

It would be an option to go into a low test dose (under 200mg/wk) to maybe assist healing but IMO for a grade 3 or a mild grade 2 sprain it wouldn’t be worth it as suppression will be affected.

Yes, HCG will assist recovery in the long term.

0.25mg adex may well be too low - the recommendation in the sticky AFAIK is to BEGIN low and increase - the 0.25mg dose is an example of low as far as i am concerned.

Dose is a factor in suppression when it ranges from very low and barely effective to ‘just low’. So Testosterone in doses ~25mg a week 9apparently) would be very minimally suppressive. I believe Oxandrolone’s dose is around 5-10mg a day (where it was found to have little suppression).
The theory that primo doesn’t affect the HPTA is likely based on similar studies where the dose was mild to begin with too… but that is a cynic at work.

Length of time is a large factor with ‘decent’ doses (anything you would use for any noticeable result either psychologically or physically IMO) of certain drugs (like Test) where under 3 weeks is only suppressive to part of the HPTA and over 3 weeks is (kinda) fully suppressive. Then the longer the HPTA is inactive, the longer it will take to recover - so 6 months is worse than 3 months, but 3 worse than 2.
THEN you have certain AAS like 19-Nortestosterone. Nandrolone Laurate was injected into a healthy male at a dose of 100mg. Full suppression was measured that same day (this is from memory, i do not have the reference without searching).

So as you can see it isn’t x affects suppression, y affects muscle gain and z affects strength. It is a matter of a number of actions causing a number of reactions. Dose is important to suppression as is drug choice but length of time will be a fairly consistent factor no matter which variable is inputted of the former two…

The point is - be wary of trying to find absolutes here - it is very very complex and suppression isnt ‘caused’ any any one factor or compound. It is a result of a number of action/reaction factors and is variable in itself.

I am sure i confused the matter, it is because of my current reading material. :wink:


Well, as often occurs with greater understanding, I have a better sense now of the scope and complexity of a cycle, but the nuances and specifics are far more ambiguous! So let me try to lay out the whole situation for you, and hopefully you can help guide me towards a plan.

Joe’s three shots in, 250 test cyp. Dbol at 30mg/day, beginning on the 10th of August. .25 adex ED, based mostly on the understanding from some old mesorx discussions that estrogen plays a role in muscle synthesis and general health and so full suppression wasn’t desirable, so use enough to avoid symptoms, but not excessive suppression. The plan was actually to go to .25 adex eod after finishing the 4 weeks of dbol.

No easy way to say this: his cojones are still, by his report, in full bloom. His fourth shot was tomorrow, and he was going to start the HCG then, too.

You would suggest that he stop the dbol, not do the shot tomorrow, stop with the ancillaries, and await recovery (estimated by doc to be a mild injury, conservative estimate two weeks) and then essentially begin again when he’s healed up?

It was our (limited) understanding that he’s in full hpta suppression as soon as the test is introduced, and with the dbol in the equation, the natural production’s definitely shut off. Would going cold turkey right now screw him up more than staying on the test at a low dose, maintaining some ancillaries (hcg?) and discontinuing the dbol?


Your friend GI Joe, is only 3 shots in. His HPTA may be fully supressed, but his testes should still be in shape. So he can stop right away, and get on some nolvadex (or equivilant) for a proper PCT. He reallly should look after the injury first.


He has only been ‘on’ for 8 days, IMO his HPTA is not going to be fully suppressed (although he will be inhibited enough to not be actually releasing Testosterone from his balls) and he should recover fast.

Yes, i would suggest he not dose any more AAS at all and NOT begin the HCG (which i would actually use in a manner but lets not complicate things), but continuing with 0.25mg of Adex ED until he begins to run (approximately) 10 days of 20mg Tamoxifen after about 1 wk after the last shot of Testosterone.

He will not be screwed up at all - and it isn’t cold turkey either - it is PCT. He will have to do that eventually anyway and trust me the PCT after 1 week is going to be the easiest he will ever do :wink:

I personally doubt he will notice much in the way of uncomfortable symptoms of inhibition doing it this way - but that depends on the resilience of his HPTA to begin with.

Then yes, when he is rehabbed fully - start again, full bore.


Hmmm, not sure I can add anything here, the boys seem to have done a very fine job of explaining the situation.

here’s a quote from Bill Roberts on the matter[quote]

The two-week cycles do give really fast recovery. It’s not that there is no HPTA shutdown, as there is during the two weeks, but the pituitary is immediately ready to respond to LHRH instead of so to speak having to be awakened from sleep (in more precise speaking, having greatly lowered LHRH responsiveness), and the testes are also immediately ready to respond to LH.

While if HCG is used in for example an 8 week cycle then the testes also are able to respond well to LH immediately, there’s nothing that in like manner avoid reduced responsiveness of the pituitary. [/quote]

So it’s not just a matter of shutdown, it’s a matter of being primed to come back online. LH sensitivity is still very high 2 weeks into a cycle, which means any increase in LH will generate a large response from the body in terms of recovery. As cycles go on in length LH sensitivity drops off rapidly. In fact, it drops off fairly rapidly after the 14 day mark. That means past this point the testes are NOT primed to start producing their own test (unless using HCG), but more important is the pituitary–HCG can’t help that suppression in the way it does the testes, and it takes a dive.

In longer cycles these sensitivities to the body’s own “ignition button” are at rock bottom, at that makes recovery difficult. To continue the car analogy, it’s like not just shutting off the car (testes), but draining the gas tank and oil completely. Remember, the HPTA is an axis of 3 different glands, not just testes. It is testes, pituitary, and hypothalamus. These glands work in concert much of the time, but they can also react in different ways to different stimuli, and that includes recovery.

The reason 12 weeks is typically picked as a starting point is because the point of diminishing returns occurs around this point. Often earlier, but 12 weeks generally ensures that one will milk all the benefit from exogenous hormones that is possible, with not too much wasted time. Bill Roberts has said before that a cycle is longer than efficient if there is a lot of time spent with exogenous hormones PAST the point of diminishing returns with muscle gain/strength. In other words, you’re wasting gear. You should simply come off at this point. 16 weeks is for the most part pretty well past this point.

Stop now, it’s the easiest thing to do and it will waste very little gear compared to going on and possibly re-injuring the ankle in an accident. I would spend a total of 4 weeks off at least to ensure recovery (cyp has a longer halflife than most used for 2 week cycles and will still be hanging around in his system past 14 days even if he doesn’t take another shot today) if he’s going to go on for 12 weeks afterwards.


750 mg of test cyp (3 shots) may take up to 3 half lives to be non-suppressive. Or approximately 3 weeks…Info on half-lives varies, but it’s a round number…official FDA information says 8 day half life. I would not start nolva right away as it would simply be wasted with all the exogenous test still in his system. Wait until the level hits about 100mg total in his system to start PCT, but of course keep with the adex until then. 2 weeks of PCT should be all he needs. I would say starting the 3rd week of no injections you can probably start the PCT, so weeks 3 and 4 “off” cycle are your recovery weeks, or wait til 21 days after the last injection to begin PCT.


I honestly can’t say much more than has already been said, especially as everybody who has posted has a higher level of knowledge in this area than I do.

If I were your friend, however, (notice I did not say if I were me) I would do just as has been said: Drop the test completely, continue the low-dose adex for around 10 days followed by another 10 of 20mg/d nolvadex.

Test cyp and dbol is not the most difficult-to-recover-from cycle in the first place. Test e and dbol for 12 weeks was my first cycle and recovery was a breeze compared to recovery after I started adding in 19-nors (specifically tren) every cycle. Only 3 to 4 shots in? Not a big deal at all.

I think the bottom line is, if your friend stays on, he’s not, overall, going to get anything like the gains he would from a “proper” cycle, have a harder (longer) time recovering, and it’s going to be that much longer before he can begin his next cycle (I assume there will be one) so that he can faster reach and surpass his goals. It’s just three weeks: Come off now, be fully recovered, and at the end of the three weeks (provided his sprain is actually fully healed by then), he can just start this cycle over and get what he should get out of it.


i agree without reading what everybody said… If he is only 3 shots in, He can stop with very little pct and expect to fully recover soon without missing a beat. Wait untill he is 100% healthy again, and training is going well, then hit up the cycle again.

Cycles should be saved for periods where you have some ‘training momentum’ 100% healthy physically and mentally fresh, with time to train and eat. No point in doing a cycle with a sprained elbow.