Injecting steroids for the very first time is a daunting task for just about anyone who has done it. Even the most seasoned pros can probably think back to their first injection.
Far too many people make mistakes that can put them off injecting forever. But if you get it right from your first attempt, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident steroid injector and this opens many more doors as far as which steroid compounds you’ll feel confident using into the future. Injecting might seem simple at first, but there’s a lot you should know and consider before giving it a go.
Even if you’ve injected a few times already, you’ll want to be sure you’re doing it right every time both to get the best results and to maintain your health. Below you’ll find the most comprehensive guide to injecting steroids containing everything you need to know to get it right, every time.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of steroids (PEDs).
In this guide, you'll learn:
- Preliminary Considerations and Preparation
- Types of Steroid Injections
- Different Syringes, Pins, and Supplies
- Intramuscular (IM) Injection Procedure
- Subcutaneous (SQ) Injection Procedure
- Injection Sites (Intramuscular and Subcutaneous)
- Back-Filling Insulin Syringes for Steroid Injections
- Injection Complications
- Common Q&A Related to Steroid Injections
- My Conclusion and Recommendation
Preliminary Considerations and Preparation
Injecting steroid isn’t like popping a pill of an oral compound. There’s a lot more to consider and prepare for, especially when it’s your first time or when you’re still in the early stages of learning how to inject properly.
After a while injecting will become second nature, but first you’ll want to become familiar with supplies, safety and sterility, preparation and technique.
Making mistakes when you’re just starting out with injections can put a serious dent in your confidence going forward.
It can also bring about health issues ranging from mild to very serious: anything from inflammation and scarring to damage to the muscles or nerves, bacterial infections or septic shock.
This can all be avoided by taking the time to learn the most fundamental preliminary considerations and preparation.
- Always have supplies ready to go before a cycle starts
- Have all required supplies ready to go before starting to inject
- Don’t share needles and always dispose of properly
- Ensure all items are sealed and brand new. don’t use any that are opened
- Only load the syringe when you’re ready to inject and avoid breathing on it or having it touch any surfaces. Do not pre-load injections in an attempt to save time.
By taking the time to take these basic but critical precautions, you’ll ensure that your steroid injections are not putting your health at risk. Then you can fully focus on getting the best results from the compounds you’re using.
Types of Steroid Injections
There are three established methods of administering injections from a medical perspective.
While it’s important to know these, we shouldn’t just assume that we can use just any method for steroids. As you will see, one method in particular should never be used and comes with a seriously high risk of death.
Let’s look at the three established injecting methods in general in more depth: intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous.
Intravenous (IV) injections
IV injections are used in medical situations, undertaken in hospital under strict hygiene conditions and carried out by medical professionals. This type of injection is also used by some illicit recreational drug users.
Anabolic steroids should never be injected intravenously. Injectable steroids are placed in an oil based solution and it’s this oil that makes IV injection out of the question for steroids.
Extreme risks and possible death are the potential consequences of injecting steroids with the IV method. One study showed a bodybuilder who injected oil based steroids intravenously suffered from acute respiratory distress.
This particular situation was not an intended IV injection, but rather mistakenly hitting a vein when injecting into the buttock muscle. This shows us how careful we need to be when injecting, being certain that no veins or arteries are impacted.
The study found that blood was aspirated, indicating a vein was pierced by the needle; however the user continued to inject. Within one minute shortness of breath was experienced as a result of the presence of oil in the bloodstream. In worse scenarios, death can occur.
All steroid users must pay close attention that blood is not aspirated when inserting the needle and if this does happen, then the syringe should be completely withdrawn from that area and injected attempted elsewhere.
Intramuscular (IM) injections
Injecting in the muscle is the method use for anabolic steroids. These intramuscular injections ensure the solution is entered deep into the muscle where it can then travel steadily and safely into the blood through smaller veins, rather than being placed directly into the bloodstream. The steroids are quickly absorbed and fast acting steroids are able to begin working as quickly as you expect them to.
An additional benefit of IM injections is they allow you to inject more than you could via any other method, but 2ml is considered the safest maximum per injection. You also get multiple injection site options which you can choose to rotate to avoid pain and irritation.
The most common muscle injection sites are those of the larger, stronger muscles like the thigh and buttock. Over time you might develop a preference for which muscles you inject in depending on which compounds you’re using and the pain level.
It’s critical to be aware that it’s not normal for blood to appear when you’re injecting steroids into the muscle. If there is any blood when you insert the needle then you’ve hit a vein or artery rather than just muscle tissue. The needle then must be removed and no solution should be injected; instead, start again and find a new muscle spot that does not draw any blood.
Another issue that can occur is when you don’t insert the needle deep enough into the muscle tissue in which case it’s possible that an abscess can form.
Subcutaneous (SQ) injections
Subcutaneous or simply sub-cut injections is where the needle is placed into the skin layers. It’s a very shallow injection and one that is rarely used for anabolic steroids. Again, there is a risk of abscess formation with this type of injection if it’s not done properly.
Where steroid users will often use this type of injection is when using other types of compounds like HGH, peptides, HCG and insulin. Subcut injections are not as suited for oil based solutions like most steroids, but work well with water based compounds.
You can only inject smaller amounts of liquid via this method, unlike the greater amount of steroids that can be injected intramuscularly. Despite the fact that most steroid users will not choose to use SQ injections for their steroid compounds, studies have shown that when done carefully and correctly, this method of injecting is just as effective in achieving ideal blood levels of the steroid as IM injections are.
As you will find though, almost all anabolic steroid users will stick to injecting their gear through the muscle, while leaving subcutaneous injections for those additional compounds that are sometimes used.
Different Syringes, Pins, and Supplies
If you’re committed to using injectable for a full cycle as well as for future cycles, you’ll want to stock up on all the basic necessities; this includes syringes, pins and other supplies. As a new steroid user you might not even know what some of these items are, unless you’ve worked in the medical field.
After all, we are simply using medical supplies when administering steroids. Being familiar with the necessary supplies as well as various terminology relating to using them will give you the confidence you need to proceed with injecting.
Firstly there’s the syringe. This is the main barrel that holds the steroid liquid. Not all syringes are sold with a needle. 3ml or 3cc, or 5ml/5cc are the most common syringe sizes or capacities. Syringes are low cost items and it’s easy to stock up so you have more than enough on hand to last a long time.
Important: 1ml = 1CC. A CC (cubic centimeter) is the same thing as a ml (milliliter), both terms mean the same thing.
Then there’s the needle; the part you insert into the muscle. These come in different sizes, known as gauges. This is the thickness of the needle. They can also vary in length. There are two aspects to consider when looking at needle gauge: what you need to withdraw the steroid solution from its vial, and the gauge you need to inject it into yourself.
Another type of syringe many steroid users also purchase are the smaller 1ml insulin syringes. These syringes with needle attached are not suitable for injecting into muscle, but instead are used for subcutaneous injections. Advanced users who make use of peptides, HCG, insulin and other non-steroid compounds will commonly use insulin syringes.
Other essential supplies you should always have on hand include alcohol swaps for hygiene and sterility before injecting, and adhesive bandages like band-aids if you want to cover the injection site afterwards.
Since you need to be using new sterile equipment for each injection, you can end up going through a lot of items in a long cycle. Buying in bulk will not only save you money, but also ensure you will not have to worry about running out and being tempted to re-use items; putting your health at risk.
Intramuscular (IM) Injection Procedure
Intramuscular injections will make up the entirety of your injectable steroid procedures; you’ll only be using SQ if you’re using some of the additional types of compounds. So you will want to have your technique of injecting intramuscularly down to a T and feel confident about what you’re doing.
When doing an IM injection it’s always best to keep your syringes separate from your needles. Each of these products should be sealed in their own package wherever possible. This not only gives you maximum hygiene, but also just makes the process more simple. But if you do have syringes already fitted with their needles, you can certainly still use them, but just expect to have to add a few things to the procedure that aren’t required when these two items are separate.
Here’s what you’ll be needing for each intramuscular injection you do:
- One 3ml or 5ml syringe (3ml is usually preferred)
- One needle of a length from 1″ to 1.5″ and a gauge of between 22 and 25. Your decision about needle length will mostly depend upon which muscle you’re going to inject into. The smaller one inch needles are suitable for almost all the muscles we inject steroids into, while only the buttock area (dorsogluteal site) really needs the 1.5″ needle size. The gauge (or thickness) of the needle is a decision that will be undertaken on trial and error with new users, as you learn to get a feel for how each gauge affects you on a pain level.
- Another needle to withdraw the steroid solution from its vial. This needle should be between 18 and 21 gauge. We can use this larger gauge needle to more quickly draw out the steroid compound from the vial. Any length needle can be used for this purpose as all you are going with this one is extracting the steroid solution. This needle should never then be used to inject, but instead should be discarded safely.
- Two alcohol wipes
- A band-aid or other form of sterile adhesive
Here is the procedure to follow for your intramuscular injection. Remember: this is the same procedure whether it’s your first time or your thousandth time.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.
- Ensure all your equipment is brand new and sealed, and none of the packaging is torn or open. Discard any suspect items.
- Use one alcohol swab to swab the top of the vial from where you will be extracting the steroid solution.
- Remove the syringe from its packaging, ensuring the tip of it is not touched or breathed on or otherwise contaminated.
- Remove the larger gauge extracting needle from its packaging and tightly attach it to the syringe.
- Keep the cap on the needle and draw in the equivalent amount of air to the amount of solution you’re going to extract.
- Take off the needle’s cap, plunge at a 90 degree angle into the rubber stopper while the vial is turned upside down. You then push the air into the vial to make extraction easier. Then slowly pull out your desired quantity of the solution into the syringe.
- Take the needle out of the vial and remove air bubbles from the syringe by tapping it. Small bubbles can be pushed out, then the cap replaced.
- Use an alcohol swab to thoroughly swab the area of skin where you’re going to inject. Wait up to 30 seconds before proceeding with injection.
- Remove your injecting needle from its packaging and insert it into the syringe. Then remove the cap from this needle.
- Use a steady hand to insert the needle into your muscle injection site, pushing it in all the way at an angle of 90 degrees. At this point you must pull back the plunger the aspirate to confirm that you haven’t hit a vein with the needle. If blood is seen, abort the injection, throw away the needle and re-start the procedure with a new needle.
- Steadily and slowly inject the steroid solution into the muscle. Do not go too fast: slow is better even though it can be tempting to get it over with quickly.
- Take the syringe out and cover your injection site with the band-aid.
You’ve now completed your intramuscular injection procedure in a safe and hygienic way.
Subcutaneous (SQ) Injection Procedure
For an SQ injection you’ll be injecting just under the skin into fatty tissue. A preferred spot for this type of injection is the soft tissue of the abdomen.
Here’s what you need for subcutaneous injections:
- One insulin syringe
- Two alcohol pads
- A band-aid or other sterile adhesive
Follow this procedure for safe subcutaneous injections:
- Swap the top of the vial with an alcohol wipe and wait 30 seconds, then insert the needle.
- Take the cap off the needle and plunge the needle into the rubber stopper at an angle of 90 degrees, then withdraw the liquid from the vial by holding the vial at a 90 degree angle and extracting the contents.
- Use an alcohol pad to wipe over the injection site and wait 30 seconds.
- Squeeze the skin between your fingers at your injection site and insert the needle at a slight angle to ensure it goes into the fatty tissue and not directly down into the muscle.
- Using a slow and steady motion, inject the solution under the skin. Unlike IM injections you do not have to aspirate with SQ injections.
- Withdraw the needle from the skin.
- Cover the injection area with a band-aid.
You’ve now safely and hygienically completed a subcutaneous injection.
Injection Sites (Intramuscular and Subcutaneous)
You will soon develop a preference for where you like to inject, and since you’ll want to rotate injection sites it’s important to know all of the muscles that you can possibly use:
- Glute intramuscular – part of the buttock muscles; the glute or gluteus maximus is the largest of the three buttock muscles located at the top of the buttock area.
- Thigh intramuscular – located in the quadriceps muscle at the outer side of the leg in the central point of the thigh.
- Deltoid intramuscular – located at the side of the shoulder in the middle of this muscle.
- Pec intramuscular – the pectoral muscles are located on the chest area behind the breast. Pectoralis major is the larger muscle located at the top outer area of the chest.
- Triceps intramuscular – large arm muscle at the back of the upper arm.
- Biceps intramuscular – large arm muscle located between the shoulder and elbow at the front of the upper arm.
Back-Filling Insulin Syringes for Steroid Injections
When you’re using steroid compounds that are fast acting, they require more frequent injections than those compounds which have slower release esters. In some cases you might even need to be injecting everyday. Some of the compounds that need to be frequently injected include Winstrol and Testosterone Suspension. Besides frequency, some of these compounds are well known to be particularly painful to inject.
When you’re in this position, it makes sense to look for ways to make the process easier. One of the options we have involves back filling insulin syringes for steroid injections. Why do this? In short, this method makes it both less painful and more convenient to administer your injections.
The needles usually used for steroid injections have a larger gauge, so when you’re using them very frequently you can develop scar tissue as well as have to deal with the extra discomfort or pain of these needles. While this is bearable for most guys if you’re only injecting once, twice or even three times weekly; anything more often than that and you’ll probably be very keen to find an easier option.
To do this back-filling method, you’ll need an insulin syringe as well as your regular gauge steroid syringe. The process is simple: draw in your steroid solution as normal with your normal syringe. Remove the plunger from the insulin syringe, then fill that syringe from the back with the 1ml of solution. You will need to remove any air that has become trapped in the front of the insulin syringe, so carefully push on the plunger slightly once its back in to get rid of that air at the front.
There are some challenges to know about: because you’re unlikely to be able to draw the plunger back before you inject, due to the small size of insulin syringes where your solution will most likely fill the whole thing. To work with this smaller size, choose an injection site where the skin is thinner so the smaller needle won’t have to push through as much fat.
This injection should be a little less painful and the process is quick and easy enough to make it a new part of your routine. While a painful compound will always be painful to inject, the goal is to reduce this as much as possible and back filling provides that option.
There’s a lot that can go wrong with gear injections. This ranges from injecting into the wrong spot or too often in the same spot, causing pain, irritation or infection, to much more serious issues like accidentally injecting into a vein and putting your life at risk.
We can consider complications of steroid injecting in two main categories: those at the local level at the injection site itself which you can usually visually see, plus those that can occur internally out of sight but can potentially be far more dangerous.
Potential steroid injection complications can include:
- Pain at the injection site: some compounds are much more painful than others to inject. Additionally, injection sites should always be rotated to allow the muscle time to recover.
- Impacting a vein or artery: our number one goal when injecting into the muscle is to avoid getting the needle into a vein or artery; this is a reason why the larger muscles a chosen. Oil based steroids, when injected into a vein – even only a small amount of solution – can cause a range of effects depending how much went in. You will at the very least feel dizziness. Further symptoms can include shortness of breath, coughing and chest tightness. If these symptoms persist for longer than a few minutes or become unmanageable, seek medical assistance. In severe cases, steroid users have ended up in the emergency room due to these poor injection techniques.
- Coughing and flu symptoms: these are more a side effect of specific steroid compounds but they can occur very quickly after injecting. Trenbolone is famous for causing this effect, and some people will experience it with Winstrol as well. Importantly you should know this isn’t a serious complication, but it could be something you’d be very concerned about if you weren’t familiar.
- Infections: using equipment that isn’t new and sterile, or that has become contaminated with bacteria in the time before you’ve injected puts you at big risk of infection. Inflammation and swelling are key symptoms of infection and if it gets worse, you can start feeling feverish.
These are just a few of the things that can go wrong when injecting steroids.
Most people will experience an issue one way or another when using steroids over many years. It’s in your best interests to learn what is a minor problem, and what’s a major issue that needs more immediate attention or care.
Learning for example how pain might feel post-injection compared to what an infection feels like can mean the difference between making a decision to get medical help or knowing that you’ll heal naturally. This comes with time and experience, but knowledge is power and the more you know about what can go wrong and how, the less chance you’ll have of seeing any serious complications.
What are the side effects of steroid shots?
Anabolic steroids come with all sorts of possible side effects from the hormone itself, whether they are injectable or oral steroids. When it comes to specific side effects or adverse reactions to the action of injecting, we see many possible risks here too.
These problems can range from bruising and pain, to accidentally hitting a nerve, causing muscle damage by injecting in the same spot too often, or accidentally hitting a blood vessel and causing internal bleeding or inadvertently injecting the steroid solution into a vein, which can result in a medical emergency. This is why it’s so critical you learn and implement the right injection techniques.
Where do you inject steroids?
The large muscles are where steroids are commonly injected. This includes the muscles on the buttocks, thigh, chest and upper arms. The steroid injection should be placed deep into the muscle, but should never be allowed to hit a vein or artery.
What happens if you accidentally inject air into muscle?
A poorly prepared steroid injection can include some air when the plunger is pushed to insert the solution into your muscle. Air bubbles should be removed according to the procedure described above. Smaller amounts of air is generally harmless.
Do you bleed when injecting steroids?
You should never draw blood when injecting steroids into the muscle. If blood is aspirated it means you’ve hit a vein or artery which can lead to some serious health risks if a lot of oil based steroid solution has been injected.
Does injecting steroids hurt?
Many people will feel some pain when injecting steroids. Mostly this is at the time of injection and the pain should go away shortly after; in some cases ongoing muscle pain can occur. It’s critical to be rotating your injection sites so that the muscles are able to fully recover, minimizing this additional pain.
What’s the most painful steroid to inject?
Some steroids are known to be more painful to inject than others, but the injection site also contributes to this pain level. Smaller muscles will usually hurt more. Not rotating injection sites will also cause additional pain.
Usually it is the particular ester attached to the steroid which causes the most pain when injecting. The short propionate ester is known as being particularly painful and this is often used attached to a testosterone hormone.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
Injecting steroids can be safe when you do it right and when you don’t abuse the steroid compounds. It can also be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, or go beyond the limits of safety. Using steroids comes with risks, as does the act of injecting.
Most people experience problems when they engage in high risk behavior, instead of taking sensible precautions and learning from the experience of others. All steroid users must weigh up the risks vs the rewards before deciding to go ahead.
If you enjoyed this guide and would like more real, NO-BS information on cycling steroids, then pick up Straight From the Underground (my recommended underground steroid handbook). Everything in this book is based on first hand experience, not theory.