Ligandrol is known as a very effective and safe testosterone booster. This makes it a popular SARM among athletes looking gain lean muscle mass, reduce body fat, as well as significantly increase their endurance and individual power rates.

Ligandrol (Also known as LGD-4033) was originally developed by Ligand Pharmaceuticals to prevent muscle wasting conditions associated with ageing, osteoporosis, muscular dystrophy and cancer.

Ligandrol is now under development by Viking Therapeutics and known as VK5211 and has passed phase 2 clinical trials.

Ligandrol is an effective SARM for;

  • Bulking
  • Recomping

Ligandrol is considered to be a relatively newer SARM on the market, though it is a popular choice among athletes and other professionals, including bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen, and cross fitters. This is because Ligandrol is known as a very effective and safe testosterone booster.

Ligandrol Muscle Building

It has a high affinity to bond only with the Androgen receptors (ARs) in the muscle and not bones or other areas of the body that have AR receptors.

Pre-clinical data highlighted Ligandrol’s ability to progressively increase weight over a 13-week period, with a substantial portion of the weight gain maintained after treatment was stopped. [1]

Ligandrol Benefits

Ligandrol is a specific SARM and can be used for;


When it comes to the bulking phase along with a good training protocol, consuming a higher number of good quality calories is the traditional way of gaining lean muscle mass. You can gain slowly, which is known as ‘lean bulk’, or you can gain quickly, which is known as ‘dirty bulk’. A lean bulk would be adding an extra 500kcal a day, whereas a dirty bulk has no limits.

Research at The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, Norway found that the ‘dirty bulk’ group gained more fat than the ‘lean bulk; group, even in strength-trained athletes. [2]

This means consuming enough fat to stimulate testosterone and enough carbs to fuel the intense training session. Protein, of course, is king during the bulking phase. This is because it stimulates two things, increased protein synthesis and a positive nitrogen balance in the body. These two create the right building blocks for increasing lean muscle mass.

Ligandrol Lean Muscle

Protein synthesis, which is a two-step process happens in the body by using the proteins we consume and make in our bodies. Research has actually shown that protein synthesis is stimulated only in the presence of a good amino acid supply, so the level of amino acids in our blood directly determines protein synthesis in the muscles. [3]

The following anabolic hormones stimulate protein synthesis.

  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1)
  • Testosterone

SARMs works on stimulating one of these pathways in order to trigger protein synthesis.

As a result of protein intake, the body’s ability to break down and absorb protein then determines the nitrogen balance levels in the body.

Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are all made from the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. What makes protein different is that it also contains a nitrogen molecule.

Research at Hyogo University in Japan has shown for example that the timing of protein and carbohydrate intake after resistance exercise influences nitrogen balance. [4]

There are three stages of nitrogen balance that are important for a healthy body.

A negative nitrogen balance, which can seriously affect bodybuilders, powerlifters and athletes looking to gain or maintain muscle mass as it creates a catabolic state as the body is excreting more nitrogen than it is consuming. This can lead to a host of symptoms and diseases in the body.

Equilibrium, which as it sounds means that your body is consuming just as much nitrogen as it is excreting. This is a normal state for most adults.

A positive nitrogen balance creates an anabolic state, so this is the ideal state for muscle growth and quicker recovery. This means that the body is consuming more nitrogen than your body is excreting.

Ligandrol Bulking

There are a couple of ways that you can create a positive nitrogen balance during the bulking phase. By consuming the right balance of dietary protein or amino acids, and through the use of SARMs.

Ligandrol is known to increase testosterone levels in the body, which promotes muscle growth and development. In a placebo-controlled study at The University of Texas, researchers found that participants achieved increased lean body mass in a little as 21 days. [5]

Furthermore, in a Phase II clinical trial, Ligandrol demonstrated statistically significant increases in lean body mass over a 12-week period compared to placebo. [6]


Ligandrol RecompingRecomping is the process of adding lean muscle mass while stripping down body fat at the same time. Both of these are the desired result for most athletes at some point. But to achieve a positive energy balance, by eating more calories than you are burning off, which is associated with a ‘bulking phase’ Is not easy. This is because at the same time you are looking to achieve a negative energy balance, forcing your body to lose fat by using fat for fuel, which is associated with a ‘cutting phase.’

But it can be achieved. Research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston found that overweight participants on a low-calorie diet, with resistance training and high protein ( per day), gained 9lbs of lean muscle whilst losing 9.3lbs of fat. They also improved overall body strength. [7]

Furthermore, research with elite athletes recomping whilst on a restricted diet achieved an average fat loss that took them from just over 7% to 5%, and they gained just under 1lb of muscle. This study had participants on a low carbohydrate (4.5% of total calories), ketogenic diet over a 30-day period. [8]

One of the key elements amongst recomping studies is that they all utilised high protein consumption. Research recommends that consuming 1.8-2.7g/kg per day to achieve optimum results during a recomping phase. [9]

Ligandrol appears to sparkle when it comes to recomping. Researchers at The Boston University School of Medicine found that participants experienced a decrease in body fat while increasing their lean body mass, strength, and overall sense of well-being while taking Ligandrol for 21 days. [10]

Ligandrol Side Effects

Ligandrol has been shown in clinical trial to be well-tolerated and safe at all doses.

However, possible side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Ligandrol Dosage

*Popularly Recommended Dosing Guidelines for Ligandrol

Results can be achieved with doses of 1-5 mg, though dosage should not exceed 10 mg. Females are advised to stick to an upper limit of 5 mg per day. When starting out begin with a lower dose of 1-2 mg and adjust accordingly depending on how your body responds to it.

Ligandrol Dosage

It has a half-life of 24-26 hours and should be used for four weeks. It can be tolerated for up to 12 weeks, though it has been reported to lower testosterone levels when used for longer periods, though levels return to normal quickly after stopping. Once your four weeks are up, wait at least a month before starting another cycle.

Final Thoughts

SARMS are such an innovative and popular supplement among athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters and cross fitters. Ligandrol is an upgraded, safer and alternative version to anabolic steroids. It’s formulated and created to target specific androgen receptors in specific areas in the body without the side effects commonly associated with its predecessor.

Disclaimer: SARMs are banned by WADA and most other global sporting organisation for both in-competition and out-of-competition use. You should NOT use them if you are competing in any such sanctioned sport as it a prohibited class of anabolic agents. Please check with local doping agencies for the latest information.

*Popularly Recommended Dosing Guidelines are based on study and manufacturer information and are for informational purposes only.  Always consult a doctor and follow manufacturer recommendations when taking any supplement.


  1. VKTX: Additional Preclinical Data Shows Robust and Durable Weight Gain for VK5211-Treated Primates Accessed on 20 August 2018
  2. Garthe I1, Raastad T, Refsnes PE, Sundgot-Borgen J. Effect of nutritional intervention on body composition and performance in elite athletes. Accessed on 20 August 2018
  3. Rooyackers OE1, Nair KS Hormonal regulation of human muscle protein metabolism. Accessed on 20 August 2018
  4. Hiroyasu Mori Effect of timing of protein and carbohydrate intake after resistance exercise on nitrogen balance in trained and untrained young men Accessed on 20 August 2018
  5. Shehzad Basaria Lauren Collins E Lichar Dillon Shalender Bhasin The Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Effects of LGD-4033, a Novel Nonsteroidal Oral, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator, in Healthy Young Men Accessed on 20 August 2018
  6. VK5211 Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator Accessed on 20 August 2018
  7. Demling RH1, DeSanti L. Effect of a hypocaloric diet, increased protein intake and resistance training on lean mass gains and fat mass loss in overweight police officers. Accessed on 20 August 2018
  8. Antonio Paoli, Keith Grimaldi, Dominic D’Agostino, Lorenzo Cenci, Tatiana Moro, Antonino Bianco and Antonio Palma Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts Accessed on 20 August 2018
  9. Murphy CH1, Hector AJ, Phillips SM Considerations for protein intake in managing weight loss in athletes. Accessed on 20 August 2018
  10. Basaria S1, Collins L, Dillon EL, Orwoll K, Storer TW, Miciek R, Ulloor J, Zhang A, Eder R, Zientek H, Gordon G, Kazmi S, Sheffield-Moore M, Bhasin S. The safety, pharmacokinetics, and effects of LGD-4033, a novel nonsteroidal oral, selective androgen receptor modulator, in healthy young men. Accessed on 20 August 2018

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *