One of the biggest challenges you’ll face after a steroid or prohormone cycle is keeping the gains and that’s where bridging with SARMs is a game-changer. It’s the fear of losing gains that encourages the poor habit of staying ‘on-cycle’ for extended periods of time. Clearly, this is not ideal since it can seriously damage your health and organs; our bodies aren’t designed to take that kind of strain. So how can you deal with ‘off-cycle’ blues?
The answer is bridging with SARMs. Simply put, SARMs are built for this.
What is Bridging?
If you are not familiar with bridging, this is the phase of recovery or ‘time-off’ between steroid or prohormone cycles. As some of you will know, it is the time you’re desperately fighting to maintain the same strength, power and endurance as you had during your cycle. This is the time you try to maintain the gains that you’ve worked so hard for.
As a general guideline, the minimum time-off should be the total time on-cycle plus the length of the PCT. For example a 12-week cycle with 4 weeks PCT is a 16-week cycle in total. This would reflect the duration of 16 weeks off, after the PCT.
Inevitably, this is a time when you will lose some strength and you will experience a dip in energy, which can cause physical and mental strain.
Don’t despair. This is a time when SARMs truly shine.
This is where “bridging” comes into play. For athletes on SARMs, a perfect bridge is one that allows one to maintain a huge majority of gains whilst helping to restore hormonal balance.
Benefits of Bridging with SARMs
SARMs still don’t get the credit they deserve in the bodybuilding community but good quality SARMs, at the right dose, can provide the perfect bridge when taking time off. Although there is some confusion, SARMs are not anabolics and some can benefit your recovery phase, providing the dosage is low.
SARMs like Ostarine and Andarine were designed specifically to prevent muscle loss and lend themselves perfectly to that function. Not only that, but used at a low dose they can give the impression of still being ‘on-cycle’ and can help firm up your neural drive. Physiologically, they increase anabolic activity and thus will not only prevent muscle loss but also aid recovery.
Top 3 SARMS for Bridging
#1 Ostarine (MK-2866)
Ostarine prevents catabolism during your bridging phase, and also improves insulin resistance and lowers blood glucose levels.
At this transitioning point, your body will begin to produce testosterone but you must be careful not to allow excess cortisol from chewing up your hard-earned muscle. At the same time, your body will have little to no nitrogen which will cause your muscles to crave nutrients that you don’t have.
To counter these effects, prevent catabolism and lessen the amount of muscle loss, a low dose Ostarine helps to preserve your muscle mass and increase your nitrogen and IGF levels. This will also help you continue smashing your workouts and even improve muscle pumps.
#2 Cardarine (GW-501516)
Although not a SARM, it’s often found in the same category. Cardarine prevents fat gain. After you’ve dealt with your cortisol levels, you’ll find that the excess testosterone binds with it, rendering it inactive.
To prevent fat gain yet keeping your calories up requires a PPAR modulator such as Cardarine (GW-50156). This will regulate the rate at which you burn fat. It does this in a number of ways but essentially it promotes glycogen retention in muscle tissue. This allows the body to alter its metabolism and increase the amount of fat burned instead of using carbs or protein as fuel.
This is a true win/win and means your body retains muscles and yet fat retention is reduced. This, in turn, will give you more stamina and can have the added bonus of reducing cravings.
#3 Andarine (S-4)
Andarine is one of the most researched SARMs, often used for bridging because it is very minimally suppressive. Andarine has shown the most favourable ratio of anabolic/androgenic effects. This means more gains and fewer unwanted side-effects. This is also why it makes a fantastic SARM for women.
This dry compound yields superb results famed for the hard, chiselled look. It not only increased muscle mass and calcium production for increased bone density but it did so in a highly selective manner. When applied to humans, this means it is able to selectively stimulate anabolic activity, allowing the user to mostly surpass any of the nasty side effects associated with products of similar potency.
The 12 Week SARMs Bridge
This is an example of the ideal SARMs bridge, which would follow your prohormone or steroid cycle. Bridging with SARMs would begin immediately after completing your cycle and PCT (i.e. the bridge is going to fill the ‘off-cycle’ period that would usually follow your cycle).
Weeks 1-12 – Andarine (S-4) 50mg per day (25mg in the AM and 25mg in the PM)
Weeks 1-12 – Cardarine (GW-510516) 20mg per day (full dose 30 minutes before workout)
Weeks 1-12 – Ostarine (MK-2866) 20mg per day (full dose once per day in the AM)
Weeks 9-12 – Arimistane/DAA
Weeks 13-16 – Mini PCT:
Cardarine (GW-501516) 20mg per day
How to Bridge Between Cycles Effectively
There are 3 key factors to consider when bridging with SARMs, and each is equally important. It’s not just about the supplements you use; its the foundation you lay and that comes from the following:
You can’t just let yourself go when you move ‘off-cycle’. Your chemistry may be changing, but you can’t allow your focus to slip. Keeping up a solid mental state is essential if you don’t want to lose your gains. Losing your aggression and neural drive can be as damaging as losing muscle gain so it’s important to keep your mind sharp.
You don’t need us to tell you how important diet is to bodybuilding. Indeed some would say it’s the most important aspect of all. It’s essential that when you move ‘off-cycle’ you adjust your diet accordingly. Increasing your protein intake and equalizing your carbohydrate and fat intake will help you keep your muscle mass. There’s no hard and fast rule to this, but just keep in mind that your diet ‘off-cycle’ should not be the same as your ‘on-cycle’ diet.
In order to bridge successfully, it’s important to stay on top of your training. One way to achieve this is to ensure that when you’re ‘on-cycle’ you focus more on lower weight and higher reps, whilst your off-cycle training should be heavy. Heavier training, when you’re off-cycle or bridging, will effectively build strength and help to maintain the muscle mass you build during your cycle.
All of the above factors are important when bridging with SARMs. To get the most of your cycle, as well as your bridge, each phase requires a subtle balance of all factors to optimise progress as well as health. Be prepared and be well-read. Read our Guide to PCT After Prohormone Cycle to ensure you optimise results, health and recovery.