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What is a SARM exactly?

It takes just a few minutes in the gym to overhear some bulked up dude talking about anabolic steroids and SARMs. But if you’re new to bodybuilding supplements, or deem yourself a muscle-building newbie, getting to grips with selective androgen receptor modulators (AKA, SARMs) can feel pretty damn confusing.

The thing is, SARMs are nothing new, but their uses and benefits can vary. Plus, it can totally depend on who you’re listening to when you pose any of the following questions:

  • What is a SARM?
  • What is the best SARM?
  • What is the strongest SARM?
  • What is the safest SARM?

So, before we dive into what a selective androgen receptor modulator can potentially do, let’s talk about what they really are some more.

Are SARMs the same as anabolic steroids?

when were steroids made illegal

Often referred to as “research chemicals,” SARMs (or ‘selective androgen receptor modulators’) have grown hugely in popularity in recent years. Although similar to anabolic steroids, SARMs and steroids are certainly not the same.

Although both work by binding to androgen receptors, triggering changes in your DNA to encourage muscle growth, the two are not one and the same.

To read more on anabolic steroids, you can check out our beginner’s guide!

A SARMs definition

A class of therapeutic compounds with similar anabolic properties to well-known bodybuilding steroids, selective androgen receptor modulators have fewer androgenic properties.

Unlike anabolic steroids, SARMs are tissue selective, targeting muscles without kicking off the same chain of reactions as steroids. Plus, unlike many bodybuilding steroids, selective androgen receptor modulators are taken in pill form – which means no horrendous injections.

So what’s the catch? Well, none have technically been approved for human consumption.

How do SARMs work?


In simple terms, SARMs work by binding androgen receptors in the body, signalling your body to lose body fat and increase muscle mass.

What are ‘androgen receptors‘?

Androgen receptors allow the body to respond appropriately to hormones. The receptors are present in many of the body’s tissues, where they attach (bind) to androgens.

In muscle, androgens are known to have an anabolic effect, increasing both muscle mass and strength.

Where did SARMs come from?

Much like popular anabolic steroids, SARMs weren’t originally developed with the aim for improving muscle mass – not in a bodybuilding sense at least.

Instead, many selective androgen receptor modulators were designed as a form of treatment for diseases, including prostate cancer. This is where the molecule andarine – the ‘original’ SARM was first developed. At the time, it was found relatively useless in treating prostate cancer patients, however, its effects on muscle growth were pretty impressive.

So it comes as no surprise that the bodybuilding community have quickly picked up on SARMs (alongside anabolic steroids) for their power to boost muscle mass.

Popular safe and legal steroid and SARMs alternatives

SARM Benefits

Discovered in the late 90s, SARMs were originally developed to treat a variety of diseases, including the treatment of osteoporosis, sarcopenia, andropause, breast cancer and other cancer patients.

However, when bodybuilders quickly spotted their ability to boost muscle growth, it’s no surprise they were quickly picked up by a community driven by lean muscle mass!

With many users having experimented with anabolic steroids, it’s interesting to see how SARM benefits compare.

Here are just a few of the benefits of SARMs:

  • Increased fat loss
  • Increased bone density
  • Provides benefits of anabolic/androgenic steroids such as testosterone
  • Not liver toxic, unlike other oral steroids
  • Enhanced lean body mass
  • Fewer side effects compared to anabolic steroids, including prostate and cardiovascular concerns
  • Used for rehab of injuries, particularly bone and tendon related injuries

What is the best SARM?

It can be difficult to determine the best SARMs, since it can depend on your goals. As well as the potential side effects you may experience during a SARM cycle.

Unfortunately, much like an anabolic steroid, SARMs do come with their own set of side effects.

What is the strongest SARM?

Before diving into SARM use, it’s important to recognize how these selective androgen receptor modulators work, the potential side effects and where these research chemicals came from.

Also Read: Cardarine side effects: GW-501516 Benefits, Uses, Dosage (SARMS)

Below we take a closer look at what may be considered the ‘best’, ‘safest’ or ‘strongest’ SARM on the market.

Ostarine mk 2866

If you run in bodybuilding circles, you will have undoubtedly heard of Ostarine mk 2866 by now. Unlike other SARMs, Ostarine mk 2866 has somewhat the most research.

Plus, this SARM can be used during both cutting and bulking cycles, with fairly mild side effects at low doses. If you’re new to using SARMs, Ostarine could be a good choice.

*We do not suggest the use of illegal SARMs, however, and would recommend finding a safe, legal alternative.


Often the best selective androgen receptor modulator for women, Andarine is a relatively mild SARM. This SARM supports lean muscle mass gains – you’ll often hear it referred to as ‘S4’.

LGD 4033 (best for bulking cycles)

If you’re looking to build lean muscle mass, without increasing body fat, Ligandrol (LGD 4033) could be the SARM for you. This powerful SARM has shown to be significantly more powerful than Ostarine mk 2866, building gains in super speed.


Often referred to as ‘Testolone rad 140‘, Radarine (RAD 140) is another incredibly popular selective androgen receptor modulator. Its said to boost recovery times, as well as performance enhancement. There’s also potential for a SARMs stack to build lean muscle mass fast.

YK 11

Often considered the “strongest” SARM, YK-11 is best left to experienced SARM users. Incredibly powerful, it’s always advised for use with comprehensive cycle support. Used too often and you could experience some pretty nasty side effects.

Ibutamoren (MK 677)

Although technically a GH-Secretagogue, Ibutamoren is often referred to as a selective androgen receptor modulator. This powerful compound has the ability to increase your hunger, improve recovery times and sleep, by increasing growth hormone.

What is the safest SARM?

If you’re new to bodybuilding, the best SARMs stack is often Cardarine and Andarine S4. You will be able to combine a mild SARM with Cardarine, which is a non-hormonal compound.

In terms of their safety, these SARMs stacks may produce milder side effects compared to other SARMs and anabolic steroids, but with few or no clinical trials, it’s hard to say.

What risks are associated with SARMs?

While many SARMs and SARMs stacks are sold with promises of lean muscle growth and enhanced stamina, like with any type of drug, there are always side effects to look out for.

However, these investigational drugs have little research or clinical trials for their use, meaning that so much of the evidence is anecdotal. Despite many users boasting about these types of body building products, plenty also report high blood pressure, impotence and skin concerns.

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to SARMs

Alongside this, troubles with eyesight is also a common concern for users of SARMs and anabolic steroids – in particular, andarine has reports of giving users’ sight a yellow or green tinge.

Continuing on with the bad news (sorry!), more users have reported almost-instant feelings of anxiousness after using SARM. With many users believing that even potent SARMs have fewer side effects than anabolic steroids, we can see why it may be tempting to give them a try.

But alongside the weird eyesight issues, high blood pressure and anxious feelings comes the potential of being sold anabolic steroids as SARMs – which can lead to testosterone suppression. In short, the web is a scary place! So it’s always worth checking what you’re actually being sold.

Are SARMS legal?

With many brands selling selective androgen receptor modulators with a disclosure of them being ‘research chemicals’, consumers are quickly being sold potentially dangerous ‘dietary supplements’ under false promises of being safe.

At present, no SARMs have FDA approval, with many sold on the black market. Since their safety is pretty unknown, we do not condone their use in any way. It’s currently illegal to sell SARMs as ‘dietary supplements’, although the compounds have been found in several nutritional supplements in recent years.

Anabolic steroids and SARMs have been banned in competitive sports by the World Anti Doping Agency, making them illegal for athletes and bodybuilders.

Are SARMs and dietary supplements the same?

SARMs are not legal ingredients for dietary supplements, although it is not unusual (although unsafe and illegal) for them to marketed in this way.

There are currently more than 120 of these listed on the Supplement 411 High Risk List. If you’re looking to compete and use safe, natural dietary supplements, it’s important to pay attention to ingredient lists incase they do feature SARMs ingredients illegally.

The following are examples of SARMs that are frequently and illegally marketed in dietary supplements or as research chemicals:

The following prohibited substances are also sometimes marketed as SARMs:

Are there safe, legal alternatives to SARMs?

Although SARMs remain popular in the bodybuilding community, with many users boasting about their power to boost lean body mass, support recovery times and encourage fat loss – the side effects aren’t worth it.

The chemical structure of SARMs has plenty of room for further exploration – with no real clinical trials in this area at present.

Popular safe and legal steroid and SARMs alternatives

Why risk it?

Here at Brutal Force, we understand the importance of muscle building – which is why we’ve carefully developed safe, legal SARMs alternatives. Check it out.

OSTABULK – Ostarine mk 2866 alternative

  • Increases energy and stamina
  • Huge lean muscle growth
  • Encourages fat loss

RADBULK – Testolone rad 140 alternative

  • Iron-hard muscle building potential
  • Increases vascularity
  • Extreme strength

ANDALEAN – Andarine S-4 alternative

  • Rapid fat loss
  • Helps you to retain lean body mass
  • Boosts energy levels

Looking for a SARMS stack?

Check out our SELECT STACK (SARMS bundle).


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The Brutal Force Team

The Brutal Force Team

We research and write articles about health, fitness and dieting. Each of our articles includes sources from scientific studies where possible.






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The Brutal Force Team

The Brutal Force Team

We research and write articles about health, fitness and dieting. Each of our articles includes sources from scientific studies where possible.