If you’re passionate about bodybuilding, you may well have heard of Deca-Durabolin. You’ve probably also heard about its active ingredient, nandrolone decanoate, which is known for being a performance enhancer.

Deca-Durabolin is a brand name for a preparation of the active ingredient: nandrolone decanoate. Nandrolone decanoate is an androgen and anabolic steroid. It is similar to testosterone and is typically taken as Deca-Durabolin via intramuscular injection every 1-4 weeks. 

Sharing many of the same properties as testosterone, Deca-Durabolin has been one of the most popular choices of anabolic steroids. Keep reading to find out more about Deca-Durabolin and the effects of its active ingredient, nandrolone decanoate.

How Does Deca-Durabolin Work?

Deca-Durabolin increases the amount of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) the body produces. IGF-1 is a hormone, and it is closely related to the way in which your body uses ‘growth hormone’. IGF-1 and growth hormone together control the way the body grows new tissues, such as muscle.

Anabolic steroids have a metabolic effect on the body, which impacts the balance of electrolytes and the retention of nitrogen. Nitrogen is incredibly important for the growth of muscle tissue because it is a compound that is unique to protein and so critical to the formation of new muscle in the body.

Deca-Durabolin also increases the production of red blood cells in the body, benefitting the body’s ability to effectively transport oxygen around the body to where it is needed.

Why Do Athletes Use Deca-Durabolin?

Being similar to testosterone, Deca-Durabolin is used to increase muscle growth and the healing capacity of the body. It is preferred to testosterone because of two reasons.

  • It is more effective at delivering the benefits
  • It has weaker associated side effects

This is often put in a slightly different way — we say that its active ingredient, nandrolone decanoate, has a stronger anabolic impact- and a weaker androgenic impact- than testosterone.

The anabolic impact is the change to the metabolic state of the body to facilitate the building of lean muscle mass, driven in part by the increased retention of nitrogen. The androgenic impact has the side effects associated with testosterone misuse – headaches, acne, and high blood pressure to name just a few.

So why do athletes use Deca-Durabolin, or nandrolone, at all? It’s because the anabolic state that it helps the body to achieve has many benefits that help competitors.

  • It accelerates muscle growth
  • It increases lean muscle mass
  • It improves strength
  • It contributes to competitive aggressiveness
  • It allows faster recovery between athletic performances

All of these are reasons why many athletes have used Deca-Durabolin — to try to improve their athletic performance.

Another key benefit of Deca-Durabolin for athletes is that whilst typically not allowed in competition; it is only approved by the FDA for certain conditions. This means that it has come under a significant deal of scientific and medical scrutiny in order to ensure that it is a safe and appropriate treatment for specific conditions. It means that there are fewer unknowns about the safety of the drug.

Finally, Deca-Durabolin has been shown to increase fluid retention, which can benefit the joints by ensuring that they are more likely to be appropriately lubricated. It also has been shown to increase the synthesis of collagen, which improves the overall state of ligaments and joints.

So it’s clear that as an athlete, whether training or recovering from injury, there are a number of potential benefits of Deca-Durabolin, which explain its high uptake.

How Do You Take Deca-Durabolin?

Deca-Durabolin is taken as an intra-muscular injection, usually in the buttocks or thigh. If you’re prescribed it as medication, your doctor can talk you through the optimal process for self-injection.

When taken by bodybuilders, Deca-Durabolin is most frequently stacked with a different steroid. This is because the lean muscle mass growth that Deca-Durabolin drives is relatively moderate in comparison to other anabolic steroids, such as Dianabol. This means that it is uncommon for experienced bodybuilders to take Deca-Durabolin on its own. Further to this, Deca-Durabolin can significantly reduce the level of natural testosterone in the body, making it even less ideal for taking in isolation.

The most common pairings for Deca-Durabolin are:

  • Dianabol
  • Anadrol
  • Testosterone


Dianabol is an extremely popular anabolic steroid that has been shown to contribute significant lean muscle mass growth. Two of the main side effects of Dianabol, though, are an increased chance of high blood pressure and hepatotoxicity — meaning that it will cause liver damage if used for more than a short period of time.

As Deca-Durabolin does not contribute to either of these issues, it is seen by many bodybuilders as a good partner to stack with Dianabol. It has also been popularized by its use by many well-known, iconic bodybuilders due to its relatively low androgenic impact, which minimizes the risk of some negative effects like baldness.


Anadrol is a brand name for the anabolic steroid oxymetholone. It has similar effects on the building of lean muscle mass as Dianabol. However, it also can impact the body negatively, having a reputation for putting the cardiovascular system of users under a lot of strain. It is also highly hepatotoxic, and so as such, is rarely used by anyone without an immense level of experience.


Testosterone and Deca-Durabolin are a common duo, as the side effects are arguably the lowest of all the Deca-Durabolin pairings. There is not considered to be a significant impact on the cardiovascular system; however, it is important to bear in mind that, like with all pairings, some changes to cholesterol should be expected.


Deca-Durabolin is almost always taken as an intra-muscular injection, and so the standard advice applies when administering the dose. In order to effectively administer the dose, physicians typical recommend using the following supplies:

  • A syringe
  • Alcohol swabs or gauze
  • Vial with the drug solution
  • A sharps container
  • Band-Aids

This is because the focus of administering an injection should focus on safety. It is important to ensure that everything is as clean as possible to minimize the chance of infection, and delivering the injection calmly in an appropriate area also reduces the likelihood of discomfort.

How Long Does Deca-Durabolin Take To Work?

The time it takes for Deca-Durabolin to work is dependent upon a number of different factors, such as:


  • Age
  • Gender
  • Dosage
  • Natural Metabolism

It will impact different people in different ways. However, there is a base level of expectation for when results are expected.

Generally speaking, most users would expect to wait three weeks prior to seeing an impact and longer for the complete manifestation of all benefits. This longer period will again vary, but it is expected to be around ten weeks.

In order to maximize the impact of Deca-Durabolin and reduce the time to see results, it’s important to bear in mind a few key factors:

  • Diet
  • Training


Without adequate protein in a user’s diet, they may be in a position where there is insufficient nitrogen available (as a result of breaking down dietary protein), which can impact the ability of the body to conduct the biosynthesis required for muscle growth.

This is also the case for the vitamins and minerals the body utilizes when creating muscle. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in muscle growth and particularly the development of new muscle fibers. Glutamine is another example — an amino acid that studies have shown plays a key role in improving the rate of protein synthesis.

This is why it is important for every user to review their diet and ensure that they are adequately supported through supplements, if required, to maximize the impact of their cycle.


It’s also important that as strength begins to increase, that training is adapted in order to maximize the benefits of the cycle. This typically means looking to increase the amount of weight in line with the strength increases experienced while being careful not to overload the joints.

Why Has Deca-Durabolin Been So Popular?

The success of Deca-Durabolin comes down to a few factors:


  • Age
  • Historic alternatives
  • Results
  • Famous users


Part of the reason for the name recognition of Deca-Durabolin is that it has been around for a long time, used even as far back as the 1960s. This has allowed time for users to try cycling with it and understand the results it was capable of.

It has also meant that a number of generations of bodybuilders and athletes have used it, increasing social proof. Its age has also led to a lot of investment in studies and improvements in safety, meaning that there is more trust in a well-established anabolic steroid like Deca-Durabolin than in some of its newer rivals.

Its age also meant that it spanned a period when its use was allowed in many more countries. By the time restrictions came in for the United States, it had already been in use for decades.

Historic Alternatives

Dating back so far also meant that Deca-Durabolin came through in a period where there were much fewer options when it came to anabolic steroids. Deca-Durabolin was one of just a handful available to bodybuilders, meaning that it would receive more uptake just as a result of there being so limited a level of choice.


No matter how old and how few alternatives there have been, Deca-Durabolin wouldn’t still be around if it didn’t achieve the results that warranted its use. While there are now legal alternatives and harsher restrictions, ultimately, the results are a significant driver, given that they are the primary reason that bodybuilders consider the use of anabolic steroids.

Famous Users

Many of the superstars of the so-called Golden Age of Bodybuilding had experimented with steroids while they were legal, and this, too, led to an increase in the awareness of the broader bodybuilding scene and the usage of anabolic steroids.

When Should You Take Deca-Durabolin?

Deca-Durabolin can be taken at any time, although many suggest that it should be at least an hour after eating and even post-workout to leverage the increased blood flow around the body.

In reality, Deca-Durabolin contains a long ester that slows the delivery of the active ingredient into the body. This means that provided general absorption is not impeded in some way, you can take Deca at any point.

How Long Does Deca-Durabolin Stay In Your System?

One measure of the length of time a drug such as Deca-Durabolin stays in the body is half-life — the length of time taken to reduce the amount of the active ingredient in the body by half. The half-life for Deca-Durabolin is six days; however, it can take 21 days to be excreted from the body.

As Deca-Durabolin is processed by the body, it produces metabolites, and these have been found to be detectable months after the actual administration of Deca-Durabolin.

What Post-Cycle Therapy Does Deca-Durabolin Need?

The two main areas of concern when looking at an effective post-cycle therapy plan for Deca-Durabolin are:

  • Resumption of normal testosterone production
  • Preservation of gains of lean muscle mass

Deca-Durabolin has been known to have a significant impact on the body’s natural production of testosterone. As a result, users typically look to focus in part on testosterone recovery – that is, getting the body to resume the usual production of testosterone.

This element is particularly important because the related side effects include sexual ones, such as erectile dysfunction. This, in turn, can produce mental health effects. Therefore if someone is planning to use Deca-Durabolin, it should be discussed in length with a physician to minimize any negative impact.


Two medications often used for Deca-Durabolin are

  • Nolvadex
  • Clomid

These are both known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SARMS), which help with post-cycle estrogen production, as when a cycle of anabolic steroids is stopped, estrogen levels will often rise significantly and result in hormone imbalances.

More generally, post-cycle therapy for Deca-Durabolin is also focused on retaining the gains in strength and lean muscle mass as a result of the cycle.


Deca-Durabolin has previously been a popular choice for bodybuilders when it was more easily available. It’s clear that it can produce effective results when looking to make significant gains in the creation of new lean muscle mass; however, it’s a complex topic and important to understand in detail before considering it.