A Hard Truth In The Iron Sport

The primary purpose of using anabolic drugs, such as testosterone, steroids and growth hormone, is to trigger added muscle beyond what is attainable naturally with training and diet. Of course, athletes who use anabolic drugs also train intensely and go on diets to change body composition, frequently to lose fat. Using anabolic drugs under dieting conditions, where calories are often cut back severely, can spare muscle that might otherwise be broken down; however, the drugs also promote muscularity that is beyond genetic limits. The situation is clearly apparent when athletes get off the drugs. Their newly acquired muscle bulk often seems to melt away with each passing week.


For some athletes the added size they get with drug use isn’t enough. Because of fierce competition, they want to dwarf their competitors, literally, so they resort to techniques that temporarily—or not so temporarily—boost muscle size beyond even what can be produced with any drug. The genesis of  “local site enhancement,” as it’s known, probably began in the early 1980s, when some bodybuilders began injecting themselves with a mediocre anabolic steroid drug called Esiclene, generic name formebolone. Compared to other anabolic steroids, Esiclene didn’t produce the often dramatic size effects, but it did have one property that made it attractive to competitors. It tended to produce a localized inflammation of muscle that lasted about a week.


Experience soon showed that Esiclene use was best for smaller muscle groups, such as the biceps, deltoids and particularly the calves. The localized inflammation induced by Esiclene often boosted muscle size by one to 1 1/2 inches after a few days. In larger muscle areas, such as the chest, back, and legs, however, it tended to produce a lumpy effect that looked like tumors. It was also said to make the muscle look harder. Likely many contests have been won by competitors who gained a last-minute edge by using Esiclene.

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