Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Steroid Cycle - Dbol And Primobolan

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Steroid Cycle – Dbol And Primobolan

Arnold Schwarzenegger's steroid cycle from the golden era of bodybuilding is a topic that is often heavily debated.

There's a lot of speculation around what kind of drug use the golden era bodybuilders deployed to get the physiques that are so sought after nowadays.

While Arnold himself never detailed exactly what he took, we have a handful of credible sources of information that all seem to overlap in their descriptions of his steroid use.

Despite this information being very accessible, it often goes overlooked because it is buried in the nooks and crannies of the internet.

There is such an overwhelming amount of content on the internet now that this information has become increasingly more difficult to find over the years.

While Arnold likely experimented a bit here and there, this article will detail what he built his physique on, and the staple anabolics he very likely used throughout his Mr. Olympia reign.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Briefly Touches On His First Steroid Cycle

In Arnold Schwarzenegger's autobiography “Total Recall – My Unbelievably True Life Story” he gives some insight into what his first steroid cycle consisted of, and when he started it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Autobiography Totall Recall

The first thing of note is that he discovered steroid use before the 1967 Mr. Universe competition while researching about the training methods of the East Germans and the Soviets.

There were rumors that they were using performance enhancing drugs to get superior results from their weightlifters, shot-putters, and swimmers and he soon found out that steroids were the drugs that they were using.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Describes How He Discovered Steroid Use In Bodybuilding

Arnold goes on to touch on how he went to a doctor to ask for a prescription of anabolic steroids.

He simply asked:

Can you let me try it?

The doctor agreed, and he was then prescribed an injection every two weeks and pills to take in between.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Describes His First Steroid Cycle Prescription To Prepare For Mr. Universe In 1967

Keep in mind, this was Arnold's first steroid cycle ever.

His dosages may have titrated up in subsequent cycles, and he probably experimented with different anabolics at some point at least once or twice.

The more muscle you gain, the higher your requirements will become for increasingly high amounts of calories, training volume, and drug use to support additional hypertrophy above and beyond what you have already achieved.

While Arnold didn't state exactly what he was prescribed, we get some useful insight into the administration practice of each compound (oral and injectable) and what type of drugs would probably fall into these two categories at that time when considering all of the other information from other interviews we have compiled over the years.

At this point, we know he was using one injectable compound and one oral compound.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Interview About Dianabol Use

In another interview Arnold more or less implies that he used 3 Dianabol per day.

It is well-known in the community that Arnold was big on using Dianabol back in the day.

Obviously he's not actually straight up saying “this was what my cycle was”, but we can put two and two together based on his prescription for pills and an injection from a doctor, Arnold talking about Dianabol himself, and the widespread information that's passed through the grapevine reinforcing his Dianabol use.

It all culminates to paint a pretty convincing picture that Dianabol was the oral steroid in question that Arnold used.

What the injectable compound was is mainly what is debated about.

After doing some digging, I uncovered some pretty convincing information suggesting that the injectable compound was Primobolan.

Steve Davis Outlines Golden Era Steroid Cycles

In 2012, Ric Drasin interviewed Steve Davis to discuss steroid cycles from the golden era.

Both men trained at Gold's Gym with Arnold in the 70's and had personal insight into what golden era stacks consisted of, as they literally took the same stacks themselves.

Steve Davis Bodybuilder Physique From The Golden Era
Steve Davis

After prompting the topic of what golden era bodybuilders were using, Steve goes on to touch on what most guys were using:

Steve: You know, in my era, it was 3 Dianabol a day and a shot a week.

Ric: That's exactly right.

Steve: And we heard that certain Austrians were taking 4 Dianabol a day and a shot a week.

Ric: Yeah.

I'm sure both Steve and Ric actually had this conversation with Arnold at some point to confirm this, as they trained with him and bodybuilders were supposedly pretty open about their use back then.

The standard protocol going around then was 3 Dianabol a day, and 1 shot of Primobolan per week.

While some of the protocols definitely differed from person to person (e.g. Robby Robinson and Danny Padilla using Deca-only cycles), for the most part it seems like the majority of guys that trained with Arnold in Gold's Gym in the 70's were doing the same thing.

Now, the question is are they underplaying their use to not undervalue their training intensity and diet adherence?


It is very common for “open” individuals to talk about their steroid use, but basically just cut what their dosages are in half when speaking about what they took.

Ric Drasin Details Golden Era Steroid Cycles

In 2018 Ric Drasin circles back to the topic of golden era steroid cycles and outlines more specifics about what steroids the top bodybuilders from Gold's Gym were using in the 70's.

Ric Drasin Bodybuilder Physique From The Golden Era

Now I was there at that time, so I know exactly what everybody took.

Without using names of people because I don't want to implicate anybody, but starting with the top bodybuilders, and some that you know, it wasn't that much

use of steroids the way we think of today.

Basically, it was Dianabol, Primobolan, Testosterone, Deca, Winstrol, and Anavar.

Those are the main ones.

There wasn't anything outside of that.

Growth Hormone wasn't really known about then, so nobody really used it.

I mean, maybe it was in some circles, but we sure didn't hear about it.

Mostly tablets.

The injectables were the ones I mentioned.

The Winstrol, the Dianabol, and the Anavar were strictly tablets, there was no injectable at all of that sort.

Dianabol was made by CIBA (C-I-B-A).

It was a little blue pill.

Came in 100 a bottle.

If you bought it at the pharmacy, it was a prescription, it was $8 a bottle.

Deca was $1.50 a vial, that's it.


Let's say, 10 CCs of an enanthate was 10 bucks.

Anavar, around the same price and down the line, nothing was really expensive.

Now, you have to realize back in '69 and the 70's, steroids were not illegal.

They were never looked upon as being illegal.

There was a doctor's prescription.

You could get it pretty easily if you needed it, and then you had it.

There were those doctors that were affiliated with Gold's Gym back in those days that would just hand it to you.

One was a pediatrician who was well-known.

The other one was a medical doctor, who was well-known.

If you needed something, you got it.

Now, from the top of the line bodybuilders, the ones that were competing in the Olympia back then, from Gold's, their main routine was taking Primobolan, Winstrol, and Deca.

Forgot to mention Deca.

And not in any great usage.

It was like a “CC” of each, maybe once to twice a week.

That was it.

People seem to think that some of these guys were taking like “10 CCs” a day, every day.

I never saw it happen.

No way in hell that ever happened.

Dianabol, no more than three to four pills a day, at most.

Anavar was weak, so six to eight pills a day.

Winstrol was four pills a day.

Now, I started on Dianabol back in the, maybe, late 60's.

I had heard about Bill Pearl taking it.

I got it from a pharmacy, CIBA, and I started doing two pills a day.

By 10 days in, I had grown so much, it was ridiculous.

This is when everything was real.

I really grew from that Dbol and they quit making it way back.

Maybe, the mid 80's.

CIBA just went out of business and that was it.

It became illegal.

They said on the bottles themselves that these drugs would not enhance athletic performance.

They had to label that on there.

And, then they took it off of there.

Primobolan coming from Germany, or Austria I might say, was probably one of the best things I ever tried.

It was given to me by “one of our big bodybuilders” at the time.

I had great results off that.

I got so huge in two weeks, I could hardly fit into my Volkswagen.

And I'm not kidding.

That's how big I got just off that and the Dbol.

I never took great amounts.

1 shot a week, 3 Dbol a day, maybe 2 Dbol a day.

So, when you asked what these guys took, and how much did they take, and “did they take a lot?”

No, it wasn't a lot at all.

And I always felt that “less was more.”

You didn't need a whole lot to get big.

If you took too much, it didn't really work that well.

It wasn't any better than taking less.

It was available pretty easy.

Like I said, it wasn't illegal.

Everybody had it.

And that's how it was.

But most of the results in training came from heavy-lifting old school style, and a lot of protein.

One of the “big bodybuilders” gave Ric Primobolan for the first time, and he was following the classic dosing protocol we've seen mentioned time and time again now.

A few Dbol per day, and a shot of Primo per week.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dosage Titration Protocol

A credible guru in the industry details what is purported to be Arnold's dosage titration protocol at the 37:18 mark in the following video:

Arnold took Dianabol and Primobolan, essentially nothing else.

An escalating dose, kind of culminating in about 100 milligrams of Dianabol a day and about 1000 milligrams Primobolan a week, a.k.a. about two total grams of drug and that was it.

No aromatase inhibitor, no Tamoxifen, no Insulin or Growth Hormone, just two grams of high-quality anabolic.

By the way, you didn't hear mentioned any Testosterone.

Testosterone really didn't come onto the scene 'til the late 70's, early 80s'.

I have no idea how factual that purported titration schedule was, but it still reinforces the likelihood that Arnold's steroids of choice were Dbol and Primobolan.

Frank Zane's Semi-Cryptic Poem About Golden Era Steroid Cycles

The nail in the coffin in my opinion is Frank Zane's poem.

In Frank Zane's “Mind, Body, Spirit” training diary, one Reddit user actually found a poem that essentially breaks down in code what the top bodybuilders took in the golden era.

Frank Zane’s Poem Revealing Golden Era Steroid Cycles

Diana Bowl and Louie.

Prima bowl on

TV, both of whom

worked as a team.

Known for miles around

as the best bowlers in town,

Primo drove 100 miles a week

combining 15 milly Gramola bars daily from Diana

not worried about getting fat, you cannot

not on that in those days.

But that was then, this is now

a growing cast of actors shove, share center stage

all playing the same part at the same time

I awoke amazed, wondering how

this ridiculous play isn't dying by now.

Obviously, anyone can see plain as day he's trying to allude to certain things in code here to outline what drugs guys were taking back then, as well as what appears to be his perspective on modern day bodybuilding as a whole compared to the golden era.

The first thing, “Diana Bowl.”

Obviously, that's Dianabol.

“Prima bowl on.”


“Primo drove 100 miles a week.”

100 milligrams per week of Primobolan, which reinforces the one shot a week of Primobolan that Arnold supposedly got.

“Combining 15 milly Gramola bars daily from Diana”

15 milligrams per day of Dianabol (Dbol) combined with the weekly shot of Primo.

After the part where he talks about 100 milligrams of Primo per week and the 15 milligrams of Dianabol per day he says:

“But that was then, this is now.

A growing cast of actors shove, share center stage.

All playing the same part at the same time.

I awoke amazed, wondering how this ridiculous play isn't dying by now.”

I assume this part refers to his perspective of modern day bodybuilding compared to the golden era and how this generation abuses high dosages of multiple drugs, and how much of a travesty he believes bodybuilding has become.

I believe it more or less stands for everything wrong with modern-day bodybuilding.

The excessive mass chasing, the insane dosages of drugs, and him being amazed the “play isn't dying by now” perhaps alluding to the fact that bodybuilding has continued to remain popular despite an increasing amount of young bodybuilders dropping dead from drug abuse.

There's a lot to take in from that poem.

Dianabol (Dbol) And Primobolan Dosages

Ric Drasin and Frank Zane both trained with Arnold and seem to be credible sources of information.

Frank Zane is a Mr. Olympia winner himself and would know better than anyone what others from Gold's Gym were using.

The cumulative evidence strongly suggests that Arnold was at minimum using a shot of Primobolan per week and 3-4 Dianabol per day.

It is entirely possible that those dosages titrated up over the years, but in general we at least know that those were likely the compounds he used to build his physique.

CIBA Dianabol was prescribed in 2.5 and 5 milligram oral tablets.

MorePlatesMoreDates.com CIBA Dianabol Advertisement

All forms of Bayer Primobolan Depot were packaged in one milliliter glass ampules and contained 100 milligrams of Metenolone Enanthate.

Bayer Primobolan Depot Ampules

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Steroid Cycle

Based on the information provided, we can assume that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s steroid cycle consisted of 15-20 milligrams of Dianabol per day and 100 milligrams of Primobolan per week.

Those are very conservative dosages by today's standards, and this was reinforced by every one in the golden era who has spoke out about the steroid use in that tight knit circle of bodybuilders Arnold hung out with.

Obviously they could be wrong or lying, but I think their stories line up too well with each other for it to not be at least somewhat true.

Hopefully that lays some myths to rest and sheds light on what the golden era bodybuilders were actually doing to achieve the physiques that everyone strives for nowadays.

Nowadays, guys abuse excessive amounts of drugs in hopes of achieving golden era physiques, when the golden era guys were actually using a fraction of what teenage kids are cycling on nowadays.

Granted, there may be a huge disparity in product quality between the pharmaceutical grade products available in the golden era compared to the UGL stuff most guys are using now.

However, I do not believe that to be the case, with the exception of product purity and complete dosage accuracy.

Most top UGL's are pretty on point and aren't far off of pharmaceutical quality, so to me that point usually just comes across as an excuse that guys use to justify using massive dosages, or for their lackluster results.

The golden era steroid dosages were far more reasonable than most would otherwise believe had they not seen this stuff, or heard it straight from the horse's mouth.

I don't think you will find a more credible resource than Arnold, Frank, Ric, and Steve themselves who have opened up about the standard dosages used in that era, with their statements all lining up with eachother.

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13 thoughts on “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Steroid Cycle – Dbol And Primobolan”

  1. 100mg Dianabol a day
    1000mg Primo a week

    Brodrick Chavez here is full of shit.

    Imho Dbol was used just a little under the dose to develop gyno so it can be 20-25mg a day. At 100mg a day you will develop insane gyno water and bp issues.

    In the golden era syringe we’re almost all made with a 19-21G needle which hurts as hell and I doubt you will inject 1ml Ed.

    I think that instead Primo was used at 5m once or twicea week with a big injection.

    Let’s be real all these guys were not so huge, 20-30mg Dbol + 500-1g PrimoE are a good enough dose to move a guy from 80kg to 100kg in some years….

  2. To play the devils advocate here

    In this 1976 study – the year before Pumping Iron was released

    This study was undertaken to evaluate the Anabolic’ effects of methandienone on men undergoing athletic training

    The dosage was 100mg a day for 6 weeks

    Now you do have to ask if the greatest BB in the World at that time 5 time Mr O Arnold was using 30 mg a day.. what where these guys doing ” testing 100mg a day” on Joe Average.. with very average results ?

    It far more likely that they where testing what was being used by Athletes at that time ? maybe ?

    HERVEY, G.R., HUTCHINSON, I., KNIBBS, A.V., BURKINSHAW, I.., JONES, P.R.M., NORGAN, N.G. & LEVELL, M.J. (1976) ‘Anabolic’ effects of methandienone on men undergoing athletic training. Lancet, II,699-702.

    1. Ya I highly doubt his use was ever limited to the 3 pills a day and a shot a week. Maybe his first cycle, but cycles thereafter I’m sure he titrated up just like anyone else would logically conclude as the appropriate next step at that time. Whether he got up to a gram of Primo and 700 mg of Dbol per week though, who knows.

  3. and then this


    A Double-Blind Crossover Trial of Methandienone (Dianabol, CIBA) in Moderate Dosage on Highly Trained Experienced Athletes – D L Freed, A J Banks et al

    ” We have heard of doses of up to 300 mg/day being taken by athletes, but there is no evidence, objective or anecdotal, that these huge doses achieve any greater effect than the doses used by us. On the other hand, we have heard of cases of jaundice, prostatism, hypertension, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, increases and decreases of libido, oligospermia and aggressiveness associated with steroid usage, though once again there is no evidence of dose-dependence. Indeed, some men are known to have taken large doses for at least two years without ill-effect. “

  4. All the magic was in the Dianabol. Anyone who has taken 15-20mg of Dianabol per day by itself knows how powerful of a drug it is. The 100mg of primo or whatever wouldn’t have even mattered because 15-20mg of Dianabol is powerful enough. If one takes 20mg of Dianabol per day for 10 weeks, one will be a monster. Franco Columbu has obvious gyno in his later competitive years so obviously some people pushed it.

    1. This is my question: did the golden era bodybuilders EVER cycle off of Dianabol at all, or did they simply take it continually? As far as I am aware, they may not have even known about any risk to their livers at that time by taking it continually. I’m curious as to the original dose protocol that Zeigler and CIBA recommended for Dianabol. I also am of the faith that it is the Dianabol that was really doing the work. Primobolan as known as a physique polisher, not as super anabolic itself, but one can imagine if they were taking Dianabol continually, or at least for 12 weeks or longer at a time, how that 100mg per week or so of any injectable, would be all they would ever have needed to compound the effects. If I’m not mistaken, once all the androgen receptors are occupied, excess steroids in the system will serve as nothing but making the bodybuilder feel all warm and fuzzy that he’s doing himself any better, while skyrocketing his odds for side.effects, sort of like a rich man and his bank account balance, once he’s skyrocketed past his having plenty of money to do and get whatever he wants in life. Am I correct? What do you think?

  5. Excellent article. I had a friend of mine who was huge as an old man. When he went out in public people freaked out. He told men when he was in his prime that he lifted heavy 3 x times per week and took Danabol. I never asked how much but I just can’t see him doing weekly injections.
    This article helps me see that a guy that wants to have substantial size doesn’t need to be a chemist. Keep it simple.

  6. Hey, guys. I’m Russian and I know for sure that our guys were cruising on 10-15 mg of Dbol and they grew well. I’m even talking about Olimpic weightlifters. I would say that even now small dosages work well. Just drop your prejudiced and try to feed your laboratory lab 20 mg per day, for research purposes only. You’ll be amazed.

  7. Another great Video! In my opinion there is none on YouTube that puts this Type of Quality Information about PEDs, SARMs etc. Also the Dianabol Tablets from CIBA were 5mg. There is a german book called “Das Schwarze Buch der Anabolen Steroide” (The Black Book of Anabolic Steroids), i got that from there. You can find Information about different Pharmaceutical Companies and Underground Labs plus their Products with Pictures (some officially discontinued like Dianabol) Dosages, Cycles. I do not recommend these Cycle Dosages in that book by the way, they are Crazy in my opinion. must’ve been some people with really bad genetics.

  8. I have Fred Hatfields book “A scientific approach to bodybuilding” and he lays out a 6 week cycle as follows (this book was published in 1983 so it’s what hey took in the early 80’s)

    weeks 1 and 2: 50 mgs a day of var or winny and 100 mgs a week of primo or deca

    weeks 3 and 4: 25 mgs a week of var or winny and 200 mgs a week of primo or deca

    weeks 5 and 6: no oral and 300 mgs a week of primo or deca

    very interesting!

  9. Sorry guys I got it wrong

    Hatfield has an off season and an on season cycle in his book which are as follows

    Off-season (6 weeks)

    weeks 1 and 2: 50 mgs of var or winny and 300 mgs of primo or deca

    weeks 3 and 4: 25 mgs of var or winny and 200 mgs of primo or deca

    weeks 5 and 6: no orals and 100 mgs of primo or deca

    Pre-contest (6 weeks)

    week 1: 20 mgs dbol and 100 mgs of primo or deca

    week 2: 40 mgs dbol and 200 mgs of primo or deca

    week 3: 20 mgs dbol and 50 mgs anadrol and 300 mgs of primo or deca

    week 4: 100 mgs anadrol and 300 mgs of primo or deca

    week 5: 50 mgs anadrol and 10 mgs halo and 400 mgs of primo or deca

    week 6: 50 mgs abadrol and 20 mgs of halo no injectable

    and it says that if cutting is going to be a problem use primo as thee inject and var as the oral for the last 3 weeks

    Very, very interesting that the pre-contest uses more gear than the off season and that the off season oral is var or winny and that the pre-contest oral is dbol and anadrol

    Max weekly dose off season is 650 mgs a week and max dose pre-contest is 1 gram, and this was the normal cycles in the early 80’s

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