The Shadow” compared steroid dosages of today with the cycles he used while carrying the torch as a six-time Mr. Olympia.

Written by Doug Murray

Even though he retired decades ago, Dorian Yates‘ reputation in the sport has only grown since stepping away from the stage. In a recent YouTube video, Yates compared his steroid cycles from contest prep versus an off-season. In addition, he discussed how dosages have changed over the years, the role of aromatizing compounds, and the dangers associated with Trenbolone use. 

Performance-enhancing drugs have remained a crucial component of bodybuilding for years as contenders seek any possible advantage to accelerate muscle-building, even if it means putting their health in jeopardy. Most bodybuilding veterans believe steroid dosages have steadily climbed over the years, as names such as Arnold Schwarzenegger admit to only using two compounds at the height of his career. 

Dorian Yates
Dorian Yates / Instagram.

Dorian Yates, meanwhile, emerged as a Mr. Olympia winner in the 1990s and held the distinction for six years consecutively. Boasting one of the most defined backs in bodybuilding history, Yates is revered for his dedication to training, nutrition, and supplementation. 

“We Were More Cautious Then” — Dorian Yates Compares Steroid Dosages and Off-Season vs Contest Cycles 

Yates believed that dosages were lower when he competed, and he argued that competitors considered steroids more dangerous compared to today. 

“We thought steroids were potentially more dangerous than maybe they are. Of course, if you abuse abuse abuse anything it’s going to damage you. That’s how we got the information.” 

He explained that athletes had acquired most of their knowledge about steroids thanks to books from the local library

“That’s how we learned at the time [reading books]. I would say the dosages were lower. Because you know, you’d ask, what is this guy doing, the accepted level of what was being used then was probably less and I think we were probably more, ‘Shit, you better not take too much Dianabol because it could damage your liver and all that stuff.’ We were more cautious then,” Dorian Yates said.  

According to Yates, there has never been a Mr. Olympia champion that was steroid-free. 

“There’s no studies in this, there’s no accepted way, it’s more or less people that have been experimenting over the last… what, 60 years or so. The Mr. Olympia started in 1965.

There is no Mr. Olympia winner that was not taking steroids, even 1965 Larry Scott is on record probably taking very little, 20 or 30 milligrams of dbol a day, that’s all they were using back then but they were using, you know.” 

Concerning his off-season protocols, Yates described them as “very basic,” listing, testosterone, deca, Equipoise, and Boldenone. 


“It’s very very basic. Alright, so off-season, I just used probably testosterone, deca, or Equipoise, boldenone, it’s a bit like deca, a mid-range anabolic and dbol, Anadrol, whereas contests, I tried to stick to non-aromatizing. So like testosterone and dbol and stuff like that.” 

As for compounds used in contest prep, Yates shared that he took 500 milligrams of Primobolan, Anavar, growth hormone, 150 milligrams of Trenbolone, 500 milligrams of Boldenone, and 50 milligrams of Dianabol. 

“Primobolan, Parabolan, Anavar, and when I was  Pro, got to that level, Growth Hormone as well, I didn’t even use that as an amateur it wasn’t available. That’s it.

Dosages off-season, I’d probably use more so maybe up to 1,000 milligrams of testosterone, 500 milligrams of Boldenone or deca or something like that, and maybe 50 milligrams of dianabol a day. That’d be a maximum five weeks and then taper down.” 

Having talked to other competitors about steroid cycles, Dorian Yates maintains that he used the “average” amount during his tenure. 

“Pre-contest, 150 milligrams of Trenbolone, maybe 500 milligrams of Primobolan, a little bit of Test propionate, 300 milligrams, Anavar I was doing like 50 milligrams a day, that’s it, probably not massive to what people use these days. That was just the average of what a Pro would be using, talking to other guys and stuff like that.” 

Before contests, Yates opted for compounds that do not aromatize (compounds with a chemical reaction that converts testosterone into estrogen). 

“Aromatization is like putting this male hormone in your body, so it’s [levels] are going up there, where female hormone, estrogen is quite similar, so the body converts that excess testosterone into estrogen which can cause you to hold water and be a bit puffy and all that stuff but it didn’t really matter in the off-season we were there to lift heavy weights.” 

“Pre-contest I would go to compounds that don’t aromatize, i.e. they don’t convert to estrogen, which is then going to retain water and maybe blur your conditioning. For contests, I would always use Parabolon, which is Trenbolone. I’m shocked now with how much trenbolone people use.

Lastly, Yates reflected on using 152 milligrams of Trenbolone a week. He stressed that the compound is harsh, especially on the kidneys. He isn’t the only bodybuilder to scrutinize Trenbolone. In the past, Chris Bumstead and Phil Heath have both voiced their disapproval of the compound.


“Because we were told back then just by the guys that used to distribute it. Parabolan, 76 milligrams, there’s a reason it’s 76 milligrams and not 200 or 300 like other compounds. It’s because it’s very powerful yeah. Don’t use too much of this because it’s harsh on your system. It can be harsh on the kidneys. I don’t know where that information came from but that was just what we heard.” 

“On average I took two of those a week, so 152 milligrams of Trenbolone. That’s it, you don’t need more than that. I heard people use 6-800 milligrams of Trenbolone. First of all, is it real? If it is… you’re going to have trouble. That’s too much.” 

Unlike today’s steroid market, Yates underscored that the compounds he used were all pharmaceutical as underground labs didn’t exist then. 

“Trenbolone, Primobolan, don’t forget in the 80s and 90s there’s no underground steroid. There is none. It’s all pharmaceutical and you can get it. If you got 76 milligrams you know it’s 76 milligrams.” 

Despite pushing his body to extremes during his career, Yates is celebrated for his longevity and health today. He credits his wellness to a range of activities ranging from Pilates, and high-intensity-interval workouts, to hallucinogenic experiences with DMT and Ayahuasca. Having adopted a ‘go with the flow’ mentality, Yates is satisfied in retirement. 

There’s no denying steroid use and practices have changed drastically since Yates’ time in the limelight. However, his dosages and compounds serve as valuable insight for any individual interested in pursuing a bodybuilding career. 

RELATED: Vice Documentary Exposes Underground UK Steroid Market, Talks ‘Alarming Side Effects

Watch the full video from the Mike Hind MBE YouTube channel below: 


click to play the video

This news was written by Doug Murray, a News Editor for Fitness Volt. Doug is passionate about strength sports, bodybuilding, and powerlifting, and he is dedicated to bringing you accurate and insightful news reports. He loves connecting with readers and is always happy to answer any questions you may have.

If you have any questions about this news article, please feel free to contact Doug by leaving a comment below.

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