As we all know, Testosterone was the first steroid to be synthesized. Now, it remains the gold standard of all steroids. First, we´ll discuss testosterone in general, and in depth, then we´ll examine exactly how (and what) the propionate ester is (together, Testosterone Propionate is often referred to as just "prop" or "test prop").
Testosterone´s anabolic/androgenic ratio is 1:1 meaning it is exactly as anabolic as it is androgenic. Actually, testosterone is the steroid which all anabolic/androgenic ratio´s are based on. If a steroid is 2:1, then it is, compared with testosterone's ratio, doubly as anabolic as it is androgenic. Hence, we see from testosterone´s ratio, it is both quite anabolic as well as androgenic.
So how exactly does testosterone build muscle? Well, testosterone promotes nitrogen retention in the muscle, and the more nitrogen the muscles holds the more protein the muscle stores, and the bigger the muscle gets. Testosterone can also increase the levels of another anabolic hormone, IGF-1, in muscle tissue. IGF-1 is, alone, highly anabolic and can promote muscle growth. It is responsible for much of the anabolic activity of Growth Hormone (GH). IGF-1 is also one of the few hormones positively correlated with both muscle cell hyperplasia and hyperphasia (this means it both creates more muscle fibers as well as bigger fibers). All of this leads me to speculate that for pure mass, IGF-1, GH, and testosterone would be a very effective combination. Testosterone also has the amazing ability to increase the activity of satellite cells. These cells play a very active role in repairing damaged muscle. Testosterone also binds to the androgen receptor (A.R.) to promote all of the A.R dependant mechanisms for muscle gain and fat loss, but clearly, as we´ve seen, this isn´t the only mechanism by which it promotes growth.
Testosterone has a profound ability to protect your hard earned muscle from the catabolic (muscle wasting) glucocorticoid hormones, and increase red blood cell production, and as you may know, a higher RBC count may improve endurance via better oxygenated blood. The former trait increases nitrogen retention and muscle building while the latter can improve recovery from strenuous physical activity, as well as increase endurance and tolerance to strenuous exercise.
Testosterone occurs naturally in both the male and female body, as insofar as drug testing for it, typical tests don´t work (i.e. testing for metabolites). Testosterone can be tested for on a testosterone/epitestosterone ratio, a failing result usually being anything over 6 to 1, but there are other more effective tests currently in use as well as being developed by the usual party-poopers in the IOC and FDA.
Testosterone, once in the body, can be converted to both estrogen (via a process known as aromatization) as well as DHT. Estrogen is the main culprit for many side effects such as gyno, water retention, etc...while DHT is often blamed for hair loss and prostate enlargement. Naturally there are ways to combat this, such as using an anti-estrogenic compound along with dosage testosterone, or even an estrogen blocker. DHT can be combated (on the scalp, to prevent hair loss) with compounds such as Ketoconazole shampoo (sold under the trade name Nizoral) as well as Finasteride. Interestingly, this shampoo can also be used topically to combat acne on the face (or even the back if you´re really flexible). Both of these methods for preventing hair loss and acne are reasonably effective. However, if you are not prone to hair loss, they may be wholly unnecessary. Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) is carried by the X chromosome, so if your mother´s family boasts men with full heads of hair, then you are probably safe (unless those full heads of hair are all mullets). Naturally, as with most other steroids, your lipid profile is going to suffer a bit while on testosterone as is your blood pressure. This, of course is nothing that can´t be controlled by watching your diet and doing your cardio, at least for the duration of the typical cycle (which for arguments sake, I´ll assume is +/- 12 weeks).
To combat the aromatization of testosterone, you can simply take an aromatase inhibitor such as Arimidex. This and other Anti-estrogenic compounds are generally considered a must with testosterone doses over ½ a gram per week (500mgs). Also among side effects (as if acne and going bald aren´t enough) is increased aggression. For many, the increased aggression found from increased testosterone levels is often a bonus in the weight room as well as on the playing field. Let´s not get started on its benefits in the bedroom!
Testosterone is also a relatively safe steroid to use, with some studies showing no adverse effects from 20weeks at 600mgs/week! Personally, I have used up to 2 grams per week of various testosterone, but now I prefer to keep my dose of it around ½ a gram.
Testosterone is usually attached to an ester. The ester determines how long it takes your body to dispose of the steroid in question, and propionate is the shortest ester available with a testosterone base. There are enzymes, called esterases, in your body which have the function of removing the ester from steroids, and leaving you with just the steroid molecule with the ester cleaved off. Depending on how heavy the ester chain is, that determines how long it takes the esterase to remove it. And that amount of time determines how long the drug stays active in your body.
Check out this chart:
Chemical = Formula = Molecular Weight = Mg of testosterone
Testosterone (no ester) = C19 H28 O2 = 288.4mg = 100mg
Propionate = C3 H4 O = 56.1mg = 83.72mg
Cypionate = C8 H4 O = 124.2mg = 69.90mg
Here, we´re comparing testosterone with no ester (suspension) with Test Propionate and Cypionate (basically the longest vs. shortest esters available with testosterone).
So you see, the longer the ester on the testosterone is, the longer the steroid is active in your body, and the less actual test you get. This is because, for every 100mgs of Testosterone Cypionate you inject, only 69.90mgs of it is actually testosterone, the rest is the cypionate ester, which must be removed. On the other hand, with the propionate ester you´ll get 83.72mgs of testosterone! The advantage to longer esters is that they need to be injected less frequently (test prop needs to be injected every other day while you can shoot test cyp once a week). The disadvantage to long estered steroids is that they contain less actual steroid.
Also, as with most steroids, injected testosterone will inhibit your natural test levels and HPTA (Hypothalamic Pituitary Testicular Axis). A mere Hundred mgs of test/week takes about 5-6 weeks to shut the HPTA, and 250-500mgs shuts you down by week 2.
Realistically, every cycle should contain testosterone. Go back and read that sentence again. A beginners´ dose of testosterone (i.e. someone on their first or second cycle of anabolic steroids) would be in the 250-500mgs range. Though, realistically, I wouldn´t recommend much less than 400mgs of test per cycle for anybody, beginner or not. And guess what? The more you use the more results you get.
Testosterone Propionate Stack
What stacks well with Testosterone Propionate? Everything! Many people´s favorite´s are Eq (boldenone undeclyenate) or Deca (nandrolone decanoate), but really, anything will stack well with test prop. Tren (trenbolone acetate), Masteron, and/or Winstrol are also favorites for many on a cutting cycle, myself included. It´s important to remember that since test prop has such a short ester, most people stack it with other short estered drugs, the rational being that they need to endure frequent injections for the test prop to be effective, so they may as well be using other drugs requiring the same dosing protocol.
Finally, it´s worth noting that sometimes a strategy known as "frontloading" is employed with Testosterone Propionate, this is where double or triple the intended dose for the cycle is injected for the first two weeks, then the user switches to a longer ester. The reasoning behind this is presumably to get the blood levels of the drug up quickly in the hopes of seeing results more quickly.
Testosterone Propionate Profile
Testosterone base + Propionate ester
Molecular Weight (base): 288.429
Molecular Weight (ester): 74.0792
Formula (base): C19 H28 O2
Formula (ester): C3H6O2
Melting Point (base): 155
Melting Point (ester): 21C
Effective Dose (Men): 350-2000mg+ week.
Effective Dose (Women): 50-100mgs/week
Active life: 2-3 days
Detection Time: 2-3 weeks