If you ask any new user to AAS what the hardest part of using the drugs is, most will say the hardest part is the process of injecting themselves with a needle. I remember the first time I used an injectable steroid and had to take the dose on my own. I had a close friend help me with the first few injections until I gathered up enough confidence to try it myself. I remember standing in the bathroom with my shorts pulled below my glutes with needle in hand facing the mirror for about 20 minutes trying to muster up the gusto to drive this little 1.5” needle in my ass! I counted 1…2…3… and for some reason my hand would not do what my brain was telling it to do lol. Eventually, I completed the injection and all went as planned, but it sure took me a lot longer than I had expected it to. I want to take a moment for this month’s article to go over injections and explain some of the tricks and basic information that I have gathered over the years. Please note, I am going to write about intramuscular injections in this article, not sub-Q injections with an insulin needle. I will cover that in another article in the near future.
Needles / Syringes
Let’s start here, with the syringes. Most syringes you buy will be a syringe + needle combo. When you are buying these, please make sure you have the ‘syringe + needle’ combo, as they are sold separately at times, and I have seen many people purchase either the needles or the syringes, and having one or the other does us no good.
If you are injecting an oil based steroid I would recommend getting a 3cc ( or 3mL) syringe with a 23g to 25g needle that is 1.5” long. The 23g needle will be larger in diameter than the 25g needle. The higher the number, the smaller the needle diameter and less trauma it will cause to the flesh it is injected in. Using this logic, one would think its best to get the highest gauge needle you can get your hands on, to have the smaller diameter needle and thus cause less trauma while injecting; however, you need to account for the substance you are injecting and the thickness and viscosity of the oil or water solution. When injecting with a 25g needle it will take slightly longer to push through the needle and into your flesh, while using a 23g which is larger will flow slightly quicker. The difference here is negligible, but it’s something to consider.
Preparing the Injection Syringe
When you’re preparing for injection you will first need to pull out the oil from the bottle. Most people will be using a 10cc multi dose vial, other steroids come in a 1-2mL glass amp. You will notice it takes significantly longer to pull 1mL of oil from a vial, then it does to push that 1mL of oil through the needle and into your flesh when doing the injection. It takes me about 1-2 min to draw out 1mL of oil with a 25g needle, and about 5 sec to push that same volume into my flesh. A trick to make the process of pulling the drug into the syringe/needle faster is to buy a few 20g needles (needle only) and attach them to the syringe to pull the oil out into the syringe, then remove the 20g needle and attach the 25g needle to do the injection. Doing this allows you to pull out the desired amount of oil much, much faster. Another benefit of this is your not dulling your needle on the rubber stopper when pulling out from the 10mL vial. I will buy a handful of 20g needles to use for this purpose exclusively. You can reuse the 20g ‘drawing needle’ several times if you are careful and you make sure to sterilize it after each pull. Get a plastic bag or a small Tupperware container to store the 20g drawing needle in and make sure to wipe it down with an alcohol swab after each use to ensure it is sterile.
The Injection Site
Once you have the oil pulled into the syringe and you have the 23g or 25g needle attached, you are ready to inject. For most people, the best place to inject is the glutes. The reason for this is the top half of your glute is a much softer tissue and has less nerves than other parts of your body; thus, decreasing the pain associated with injection. I am going to describe the process of injecting into the glute below.
The best area to inject in the glute is the top 1/2 of your ass cheek (closer to the hip and away from the tail bone). If you look in the image below you can see the area I am describing.
I like to swab the injection site with an alcohol pad first. Thoroughly clean the area with the wipe first. I prefer to have my side/rear facing a mirror so I can clearly see the injection site. If you’re not very flexible it can be a bit of a chore to twist around to give yourself the injection. I will hold the syringe like I would hold a pencil, with my fingers about and inch away from the needles base, so I am holding the area on the syringe where the oil can been seen inside. Identify the area you want to inject and keep your eye on it. If your injecting in the glutes make sure your weight is planted on the opposite leg/glute from the one you are injecting in, as this will keep the target glute from tensing up and flexing when you do the injection, ultimately allowing the needle to enter the flesh with less restrictions. When you push the needle into the flesh, it is much less painful if you do it in one motion, similar to a stabbing motion. You can do it slowly and ease the needle into the flesh but you will feel more pain doing it this way. I will try to drive 2/3 of the syringe into my flesh with one motion, then push the last 1/3 into it a little slower if needed. Once the syringe is buried into the flesh, you have to walk your hands up to the top of the syringe where the plunger is at. This can be a little awkward the first few times, but with practice, you will get better.
This next step is very important, you need to aspirate the needle first by slightly pulling back on the plunger in the same motion you used to pull oil into the syringe. The reason for this is to ensure that the tip of the needle is not sitting directly in a vein or artery. The muscle and flesh is where you want the oil to be absorbed. You only need to pull back a tiny bit (like a millimeter or just one tick on the syringe). If you see some air bubbles enter the plunger/oil then you are good to begin pushing the oil in using the plunger. If you see blood (any amount of blood) enter the syringe you are in a vein and you need to pull the needle out of your flesh and start over by selecting a slightly different place to inject. I have done thousands of injections in my day, and very rarely hit a vein like this. It happens maybe 1 in every 100 or 200 injections. It is not often, but you MUST aspirate the needle as injecting into a vein can cause some serious issues.
Once you have confirmed you are not in a vein, then you can push the back of the plunger in and administer the dose. After all of the oil has left the plunger you want to pull the needle out with a quick motion. Sometimes you will see a small amount of blood come out of the injection site, but the majority of times you will not see anything. If you see some blood simply wipe it away with a tissue or alcohol pad. Sometimes you will pull the needle out and a stream of blood will squirt out of the injection site. This is kind of freaky and surprising to see as you are not expecting it, but it is nothing to be concerned about. It simply means the needle has passed through a vein or has nicked a vein. You just need to get a tissue and apply some pressure for 10-20 seconds and it will stop. Nicking a vein or passing through a vein is not anything to be concerned with, as long as you have aspirated and there was no blood in the vial. Again, this squirting action will happen maybe 1-5% of the time, it is not often at all but I wanted to go over it here incase it happens to anyone so you are prepared and informed. Once you are done with the injection, you can dispose of the needle/syringe and go about your day.
Next, I would like to go over a few questions that I get asked often about injections:
“What about injecting in other body parts?”
I have injected in the glutes, shoulders, triceps, biceps, lats, and quads. Technically, you could inject into any muscle in the body, but you need to be aware of the size of the muscle and the density of it. If you tried to inject in your calves on a regular basis you’re going to have some pain and a lot of scar tissue as the calves are a very dense muscle that is not voluminous. Personally, I like the glutes, shoulders and lats for my injections. Quad injections have always caused me pain, as I have very tight IT bands and I get much more discomfort; however, the majority of guys I know hit the quads with ease and don’t have any issues. It’s wise to mix up injection sites if you are doing multiple injections per week as this will prevent too much scar tissue from building up in one muscle group.
“My injection site is really sore, what should I do?”
First thing you need to sort out is how ‘sore’ the injection site is? You will feel some discomfort in the muscle after injection, but it should not be so bad that it hurts to touch or is swollen. If the injection site is discolored, sore to the touch, or is swollen, then you may have an infection and need to visit the doc to get some antibiotics. If you feel a fever come on or feel sick then this is a telltale sign of an infection and it would be wise to have a professional help you. I have seen many guys get an abscess at the injection site due to gear that is not sterile or a needle that is not sterile. If you notice the injection site is mildly sore a day or 2 after this is normal, but there is a few things you can do to help the discomfort. I like to foam roll or massage my injection sites. Doing this keeps the build up of scar tissue to a minimum and allows for increased blood flow to the area, thus moving the oil into the blood stream much faster and allowing it to disperse over a larger area of the muscle. If you’re always injecting into the same muscle you will get scar tissue build up, so make sure you’re rotating the injection sites and doing some kind of massage or foam rolling to break down the scar tissue that may be building up. Doing this will allow the muscle to look more natural as well. If you notice, many bodybuilders have these huge shoulders, but lack the detail? Ninety percent of the time this is from doing too many injections in the shoulder, it has built up a lot of scar tissue that has distorted the muscle fiber to have a smooth look to it. Below is a good example of what I am talking about. Both of these bodybuilders are most likely injecting in the shoulders but if you look at Dexter Jackson’s (on the left) shoulder, it is full but you can still see the striations in the muscle. Looking at Marcus Ruhl’s (on the right) shoulder, you see he has massive shoulders but they lack the detail. Most guys will not need to worry about this but it’s something to consider if you’re planning to compete or just want to do things the right way. I believe doing the foam rolling and massage work on those injection sites will help the muscle to keep the natural look.
Please note, some of these different ‘looks’ in the muscle are genetic. Some guys will never have delts like Dexter, but I am confident if you do some massage and foam rolling you will greatly decrease the scar tissue and increase the chance of the muscle looking natural, being more flexible, and being able to take ongoing injections for many years in to the future.
“How often can I inject in each muscle?”
This is highly dependent on your individual situation. Some of the factors are:
– How much volume are you injecting? Meaning how much oil? The more oil you inject the more trauma/scar tissue that will occur at the injection site.
– How big is the muscle you are injecting in to? Some guys naturally have larger muscle bellies that can take more volume per injection.
– What kind of drugs are you injecting? As a rule of thumb, drugs with a very high mg/mL ratio will cause more discomfort at the injection site. For example, if you are taking a 400mg Testosterone Enanthate product, it will take a little longer for the muscle to absorb all 400mg’s in that injection, as opposed to if you are injecting a 200mg Testosterone Enanthate product, it will absorb with more ease. Something else that can factor into this is the type of ester attached to the drug. Faster acting esters like Propionate or Acetate will release much faster and have been known to cause more discomfort. I have heard many guys who just cannot handle Test Prop in any form, as they get a ton of pain with it. It is best to start low and work your way up.
“Can I mix multiple drugs in the syringe?”
Yes you can, and I recommend doing this to cut down on the amount of injections you are using. For example, if your cycle includes weekly injections of Testosterone 250mg and Deca 300mg you can load both drugs into one syringe to get away with doing only one injection, rather then loading 1cc of Test into one syringe and loading the 1cc of Deca into the other and injecting both. Please note, if you are going to mix drugs in one syringe like this you need to take precautions to prevent bacteria from getting on the needle or in the vials you are pulling from. Clean the drawing needle after every time you pull from a multi dose vial and wipe their tops of the rubber stoppers on the vials to ensure there is no bacteria there as well.
“Can I pre load syringes?”
Yes of course, and I tend to recommend this as it makes things much easier and tends to decrease the chance of things going wrong. Preloading syringes refers to loading up a few syringes with the proper does and storing them for a week or 2 for future injections. I have not seen anything that leads me to believe that if you are mixing multiple drugs in one syringe and preloading them for the next week that it will hurt any of the individual compounds or render them less effective. Doing the pre loads seems to make the injection process much faster as you can grab the weekly dose from your kit that is already loaded into the syringe and take the injection quickly. The only issue I have seen some from this is if you are using a steroid that has a tendency to ‘crash’ or come out of solution. Some higher mg/mL drugs will be made using the incorrect solvent ratio and this will cause the oil and the raw hormone to separate. You will easily see this happen as the oil will look like there are little crystals in it, or it will look really gummy or thick. Many unprofessional labs producing gear these days will try and pack way too much hormone in a vial, and this is one of the results that can happen. Ninety-five percent of guys who take gear will not have to worry about this, especially if your supplier is reputable. If your bottle begins to look a little ‘off’ then I would definitely not pre load any syringes.
“What is the best place to store the gear between injections?”
For some guys this is tricky as they need to be discrete and their storage options are limited. I have a small box that I keep my products in with a few weeks worth of syringes and alcohol pads. It is about the size of a lunch box. This makes it easier as I have everything in one place and do not have to worry about leaving things in different places of the house. Make sure to store them at room temperature. If you leave your injectable in cold weather they will thicken or crash and will have to be reheated in order to get their viscosity to a level that can be drawn through the needle. Another tip here I recommend getting a designated bag or syringe disposal container to dispose of your used syringes in. This is good to do for a few reasons: first it decreases the chance someone else will come in contact with the needle, but the main reason I like to do this is so you have one bag with all of your ‘evidence’ you can dispose of in a manner that is discrete. The last thing you want is someone snooping through your trash to find a bunch of used syringes and used bottle of steroids. Keep all of the discarded syringes and bottles in one bag/box and dispose of them in a neutral dumpster or in a manner that you feel is safe.
In closing, I want to advise anyone who is doing injections to take their time and do some research. I have seen some nasty abscesses come from guys being lax while doing injections that could have easily been prevented. Make sure you have the correct ‘kit’ for doing the injections. Get some alcohol swabs, the correct syringe/needle combos, some larger drawing needles, and a good box or case to store these things in. We are not crack heads here, and I think this goes without saying but I am going to just incase- sharing needles is a no no! If you do not have a fresh syringe you have opened/unwrapped yourself then DO NOT do the injection. I hope this article helps some of you. It is by no means a be all end all to injections, but I think it can act as a guide to help some of you who may not be as familiar or comfortable with this process. I welcome any feedback or questions from you guys, so please feel free to leave a review or question and we’ll be happy to help.
If your looking for another site with more extensive information on How to administer injections I recommend looking at How To Do Injections, its a wealth of knowledge if you click the links you can find a lot of information there as well.