Doping: what are the main doping products in bodybuilding?

In any sport discipline, the practitioners aspire to become the best. Bodybuilding is no exception to this rule. In addition to intense exercise and specific dietary programs, many bodybuilders consume doping substances to excel. However, these products are very controversial and are banned by sports authorities. Let’s discover together the main dopants in bodybuilding.

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What is a doping product?


A doping product is a substance administered in the body to push the body beyond its limits. The human body is naturally limited. Fatigue, lack of power and concentration can very quickly become disabling for a top athlete.

Les produits dopants en musculation
Bodybuilders are doping to increase muscle mass gain tenfold.

Laboratories then developed miraculous products to boost the human body. Most of the time, they are products synthesized in laboratories. Unlike natural extracts, their molecular structure has been modified to provide extremely powerful effects.


In bodybuilding, the main objective of the bodybuilder is to sculpt a powerful and very muscular body. Bodybuilders use drugs to develop their muscles to the maximum. The main products in this category used in bodybuilding are anabolic drugs.

However, to maximize muscle development, they must also increase their strength tenfold. By increasing their endurance and power, they can quickly surpass themselves. They will then obtain exceptional results in a short period of time. It is indeed a shortcut to reach their goals as quickly as possible.

History of doping products in bodybuilding

The use of doping products is not new in the world of bodybuilding. Since the international development of this discipline, many athletes have taken up doping.

In the 1930s, the stimulating properties of amphetamine were appreciated by bodybuilders. Eugène Sandow is among the popular bodybuilders to consume it to increase his performance. Since then, many professional bodybuilders have turned to these miraculous products.

The doping products in bodybuilding experienced a considerable boom during the post-war period. Adolf Butenandt developed the first anabolic steroid in 1931. He extracted androsterone from urine.

Many versions of testosterone were tested on bodybuilders. Steeve Reeves was among the first professionals to experiment with them during his career. Steroids gradually gained ground and were widely used in the 1970s and 1980s.

Industries specializing in muscle products subsequently focused on producing the best steroid. The steroids circulating on the market today are largely more effective than their predecessors. However, they are no less dangerous.

The doping most used by bodybuilders

A product is considered doping when it is considered illegal by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Several products fall into this category and their use is prohibited, especially in the world of competition.

There are three types in bodybuilding.

Anabolic steroids

An anabolic steroid is a substance that accelerates the development of muscle mass. They are steroid hormones based on testosterone. This synthetic hormone is injected into the body of the bodybuilder to accelerate protein synthesis in muscle cells.

Many varieties of steroids have been developed by specialized laboratories. However, an excess of testosterone causes side effects. Other synthetic products have been developed to provide the same effects as this hormone. Dianabol is one of the most widely used: this substance has been synthesized to reproduce the anabolic effects of testosterone while limiting its side effects.

Les produits dopants en musculation
The role of anabolic steroids is to accelerate anabolism.


Stimulants are substances ingested to increase tone and vitality. Athletes often use them to improve their performance during training sessions. They also help them to relax during recovery periods.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the use of amphetamines as doping drugs by bodybuilders was common. However, in addition to being addictive, this product has degrading effects on health. Other products such as Clenbutrol were therefore created. They have fewer side effects, but remain very dangerous and illegal.

The growth hormone

Developed to treat genetic diseases, the growth hormone is a great success among high-level practitioners. The main advantage of this substance is the difficulty of detection. Indeed, the product becomes almost undetectable a few moments after it is taken. Hence the interest of competitors to use it.

Synthesized in the laboratory, this product accelerates muscle growth. It has the same anabolic properties as steroids. The difference is mainly in its side effects.

The dangers of doping

If doping products are prohibited by law, it is mainly because of the danger they represent to health. Many bodybuilders have had to end their careers because of health problems. While the short-term effects are alarming, the long-term effects are just as disturbing.

Hormonal disorder

The majority of muscle doping is based on synthetic hormones and causes hormonal disorders.

Excessive testosterone intake will limit the body’s natural production of this hormone. The main effect is testicular atrophy. This leads to sexual disorders such as impotence or lack of libido. Behavioural disorders can also be observed, such as aggressiveness or depression.

The use of stimulants also affects adrenaline production. This hormone is secreted when the body feels unsafe. The strength is thus increased tenfold for a short period of time. Naturally, the human body only uses this hormone in rare cases. When using it daily, muscle fatigue occurs quickly. In the long term, it affects the entire body.

Liver diseases

Anabolics are very aggressive to the whole body. They are even more so for the liver, which is then very much in demand. Indeed, the overproduction of liver enzymes to digest these products will disrupt the functioning of this organ.

In the long term, more devastating effects will appear. From liver hypertrophy to liver cancer, the consequences are often fatal. The damage inflicted on this organ is most of the time irreversible.

Cardiovascular diseases

Testosterone is largely responsible for the functioning of the heart. The consumption of steroids causes damage to the cardiovascular system. If hypertension or stroke can occur at any time, other more serious consequences must be taken into account.

In the short term, shortness of breath caused by the big heart phenomenon may be observed. In the long term, by altering the mitochondrial membrane and causing atrial fibrillation, heart failure can occur at any time.

Les produits dopants en musculation
Doping irreversibly alters health.


The greatest danger of steroids is their addictive nature. Psychologically, the practitioner – happy with the results obtained – will want to use more. However, the body gets used to the actions of these products and the phenomenon of withdrawal sets in very quickly.

The consumption of these products quickly becomes a vicious circle, because the more one consumes, the more the need increases. However, the damage that these products cause to the body is accentuated by prolonging consumption. Moreover, most of these effects are irreversible.

Doping product or food supplements?

There are other, healthier and non-prohibited products that have similar effects. These are dietary supplements. Concerned consumers are worried about these products because the similarity in anabolic effects is confusing. Indeed, the laboratories that produce dietary supplements were also interested in anabolic steroids at one time.


The difference between dietary supplements and anabolic steroids is quite simple. While dopants are substances synthesized in the laboratory, food supplements are mostly natural extracts.

Dietary supplements are mainly hormonal stimulants. This means that the body will produce the necessary hormones itself. The supplements will only serve to boost the production of the latter.

There are many dietary supplements including proteins (BCAA, Whey Protein, Creatine) and stimulants (fenugreek, ginseng, guarana, caffeine, taurine, vitamin B12). These products, consumed in moderation, present little danger to health. They are far healthier than doping products.

Advantages of food supplements

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Dietary supplements have considerable advantages over doping products. They help the bodybuilder to achieve his goals without endangering his health.

In fact, there are countless food supplements on the market that have been developed to replicate the effects of doping products. Their compositions have been adapted to provide similar effects to the original dangerous products. Several advantages of dietary supplements can be noted:

  • Natural products
  • Significantly less hazardous to health
  • Legal
  • Available on the market
  • Non-addictive products

One cannot talk about bodybuilding without referring to doping. Most top bodybuilders have used these dangerous products to achieve their goals. However, the devastating effects on the body are mostly irreversible.

Fortunately, there are now nutritional supplements that help practitioners achieve their goals without endangering their lives. Although these products are not as effective as doping products, they are still much more interesting from a health point of view.

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