Short cycles: why you should consider them

In practical terms, any use of supraphysiological hormones for an amount of time between 2 to 6 weeks can be considered a short cycle. Now you may have heard throughout your whole life that anything below 8 or 10 weeks is a waste of time and gear, but in reality, there are a few cases where running shorter cycles can be beneficial, here are a few: newbies, someone who is looking for just moderate gains, athletes who are on a restricted time frame (e.g., need to clear it out of their systems for anti-doping), people who are looking to reach their natural limit faster or even long-term users who are looking to reduce health risks while cycling. Typically, a 4-week cycle will be the sweet spot for the gains-to-sides ratio, while still allowing for a rapid HPTA recovery, since testicular atrophy is reduced in this amount of time.

So, let’s see what kind of benefits we can expect from short cycles:

  1. Reduced time with a messed-up lipid profile: as we all know, steroid use in general leads to a reduction in HDL and an increase in LDL levels, which are probably the main reason for coronary risk after genetics. If we can keep this to a minimum, we’re looking at an overall healthier individual;
  2. Generally fewer and decreased side effects: many people that would otherwise be left with a nasty skin don’t even get acne during a short cycle, the same goes for hair loss, mood changes, etc.;
  3. Gains wise, short cycles will make you progress much faster than training natural, which is to be expected, and that can have a tremendous effect in adhering to the dieting and training plan;
  4. Short cycles are especially good for breaking plateaus and pushing a person beyond their limits;
  5. Gains will be less noticeable and more spaced out on the long term, which can be helpful for people looking to hide their use of steroids;
  6. Water retention will be significantly reduced when compared to a regular cycle, which also tends to be in favor of a healthier state.

Of course, expectation when running a short cycle should be coherent with the approach taken, where the person will see good gains during the “on” time and a swift HPTA recovery on the “off”, especially when working on the shorter end. Obviously, a short cycle won’t bring in the sheer amount of mass that a regular cycle will, but in the long term it might be somewhat equivalent while tending to preserve health a little better.

For shorter cycles, hormone choices are extremely important. There is absolutely no point in running, for example, boldenone undecylenate, which is a very slow acting substance in a 2-week cycle. The preferred esters should be the fast acting/fast clearing ones for injectables and orals. You want your levels to go up right away and to clear them as soon as you stop, so shorter half-lives are the way to go. Front loading injectables is a good idea, with higher doses being taken in the first week. Also, you can be injecting more mgs per shot as with shorter cycles the body tends to tolerate more hormones and stack them up pretty well.

Overall, running several short cycles with some time off in between (a good rule of thumb is staying 1/3 of the time on and 2/3 off, for example, 4 weeks on, 8 weeks off, 4 weeks on and so forth) can yield some pretty good results if you’re on one of the cases listed above, so if you’re interested you should definitely consider giving it a try.

Marco D Angelo

PhD in biochemistry, specialized in enzymology and metabolic biochemistry with a background in pharmacology, he works in a molecular biology laboratory and in his spare time works as a high-performance trainer in addition to assisting other coaches.