8 Best SARMs For Cutting, Bulking, Muscle Growth and Fat Loss (2024)

best sarms

The best SARMs on the market are taking the bodybuilding world by storm. These products are allowing men and women to build lean muscle faster than ever and to cut with greater precision.

Excitement over these products is palpable, and the market has exploded as many companies want in on what is a modern-day gold rush in the supplement world. The dark side to those efforts is that there are products that do not work in addition to supplements that are unsafe and which you want to avoid.

With that in mind, join us as we study the top SARMs and their alternatives that actually do work. We will explore what they do well, how to take them, any potential side effects and where you can get them at the best price.

The Top 8 Best SARMs in 2024


  1. Ostarine (MK-2866) — Foremost All-Purpose SARM
  2. Testolone (RAD-140) — Top SARM for Bulking
  3. Cardarine (GW-501516) — Best Performance Booster for Cutting
  4. Ibutamoren (MK-677) — Top Performance Booster for Bulking
  5. Ligandrol (LGD-4033) — Leading SARM for Women
  6. Andarine (S4) — Best for Cutting Fat
  7. Myostatin Inhibitor (YK-11) — Top SARM for Building Lean Muscle
  8. Stenabolic (SR9009) — Best for Endurance and Fat Loss

A Closer Look at Our Picks for Best SARMs and their Available Alternatives

#1. Ostarine (MK-2866) — Foremost All-Purpose SARM

Ostarine (MK-2866)

Ostarine is a drug that is classified as a selective androgen receptor modulator. It is an investigational drug, which means that it is recognized and controlled and that researchers can get approval to test the drug for various purposes. It is not approved, however, to be prescribed by a doctor or otherwise sold. This drug was originally developed in order to combat the muscle wasting often associated with cancer, AIDS and other conditions. In addition to being able to prevent the loss of muscle mass, it can encourage the growth of muscle mass, improve testosterone levels in the body and help regulate fat levels.

How Ostarine Works

Ostarine works by attaching itself to androgen receptors, which are proteins in the body that are integral to, among other things, muscle growth. Once the Ostarine has attached, it triggers the protein to grow muscle faster and enhance protein synthesis, which complements the muscle growth. This may sound familiar to readers who understand how anabolic steroids work. The key difference is that anabolic steroids are difficult to control and can attach to proteins throughout the body, which is the cause of many side effects. Ostarine, on the other hand, is highly targeted at particular proteins.

Potential Side Effects

Research thus far on Ostarine has been limited to 3mg doses taken orally for a period of 12-16 weeks. Within that context, the drug has proven to be remarkably safe and has not led to side effects in the vast majority of subjects. There are also no known interactions. Nevertheless, there is the potential for serious side effects in a tiny percentage of people. This includes liver damage and heart attacks. There are also strong precautions against using if you are younger than 18, pregnant or breastfeeding.

Bottom Line

Ostarine is at the top of the list when it comes to the most popular SARMs. In fact, this is one of the drugs that helped put the word SARM into the popular vernacular and helped lead to the movement within the supplement world to emulate these drugs. A big part of that notoriety is the relative safety of the drug. While we certainly do not want to downplay the seriousness of potential side effects like heart attacks and liver damage, these side effects really were limited to a tiny percentage of people. In addition, this drug is effective for building muscle mass, cutting, testosterone, endurance and so forth.

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#2. Testolone (RAD-140) — Top SARM for Bulking

Testolone (RAD-140)

Testolone is up there with Ostarine when it comes to the most recognizable and most effective SARMs. It was originally developed as a drug for breast cancer patients and is now being researched for wasting diseases as well. It is similar to Ostarine in that it mimics the activity of testosterone but has a more targeted behavior than is associated with anabolic steroids. In addition to increasing muscle growth, Testolone is believed to enhance energy levels and even to improve athletic performance. One of the biggest differences between Ostarine and Testolone is that Ostarine has undergone much more testing.

How Testolone Works

It is important to note that all SARMs function in the same manner fundamentally, so you will notice a great deal of similarities in us describing how they work. Testolone binds to the proteins that promote muscle growth and triggers them to grow that muscle and enhance protein synthesis, which has ancillary benefits. This is similar to how anabolic steroids work but with a major difference.

Testolone only binds with those proteins that build muscle whereas anabolic steroids can bind with any protein. If all of these SARMs behave in the same manner, you may wonder how Testolone is better for bulking. It is important to note that all of these SARMs work in the same fundamental manner. There are nuanced differences, but there remains a great deal of research to be done. More on that in the Bottom Line.

Potential Side Effects

Testolone is currently taken orally during testing. There is currently insufficient data on dosing and interactions. There is a blanket precaution against use by people under age 18 and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. That is the case with all of the SARMs on our list. Although side effects are not common in subjects, those that do occur can be serious: stroke, heart attack and liver damage.

Bottom Line

If Ostarine and Testolone are practically the same, how can we select one as the best all-around product and another as the best for bulking? Let us start by noting that these drugs do have nuanced differences and that when there is enough research completed, we will have a better understanding of what each does differently. In the meantime, we base our assessment on the results that are being achieved by bodybuilders in the real world who are using these products to bulk up, cut and so forth.

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#3. Cardarine (GW-501516) — Best Performance Booster for Cutting

Cardarine (GW-501516)

Cardarine is a type of chemical classified as a metabolic modulator. It is not, however, specifically a selective androgen receptor modulator. It is, in fact, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor or PPAR, and it is a popular choice among bodybuilders for cutting. Whether it belongs on a list of SARMs is a matter of perspective. No, in a technical sense, but in the bodybuilding and supplement worlds, SARMs and PPARs are often grouped and used in stacks together and so forth. There was a time when it was hoped that Cardarine would cure diabetes and perhaps even obesity. That did not come to pass. But the drug does change how the body uses fat, and that can make it very effective in the cutting phase.

How Cardarine Works

Cardarine was formulated to reverse metabolic abnormalities, such as those found in pre-diabetic and obese people. But it can have these effects in people who have normal metabolisms as well. These effects include triggering the burning of fat in the bloodstream and which is stored, stimulating the oxidation of fatty acids and increasing glucose uptake, which actually alters the metabolism so that it burns fat for energy as opposed to burns carbohydrates or muscle for energy.

Potential Side Effects

Cardarine has had virtually no human clinical studies conducted with it. The reason for this is that it was discovered to be a carcinogen, which is a nonstarter for a drug in most cases. Due to the lack of clinical research involving humans, we have very little idea about the actual side effects. However, the scientific community warns that there is great potential to cause liver damage through use and to exacerbate existing liver damage. The substance is likely to cause great harm to fetuses as well.

Bottom Line

Despite the grave warnings against the use of Cardarine, many people continue to use it due to how effective it is during the cutting phase and for those people who are in the early stages of their bodybuilding journey and seeking to lose weight. We do not encourage anyone to use Cardarine due to the serious risks involved. There are, however, all-natural alternatives to all of the drugs we have listed, and those supplements can be used for cutting without any of the dangerous side effects.

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#4. Ibutamoren (MK-677) — Top Performance Booster for Bulking

Ibutamoren (MK-677)

Ibutamoren is also not a SARM, but bodybuilders and the supplement industry often lump it in with the top SARMs for bulking. What this drug actually does is help to increase the secretion of human growth hormone and make you hungrier, which is invaluable when trying to bulk up. This is quite different than what SARMs used for bulking do, and that is rather intriguing. You are generally not going to achieve better results by stacking bulking SARMs together, but you can by stacking Ibutamoren with a SARM.

How Ibutamoren Works

Ibutamoren works on two fronts. It stimulates ghrelin, which is the hormone responsible for making you feel hungry. Fighting against that feeling of not being hungry is a challenge for many people trying to bulk up, and this helps you overcome that at least from a mental perspective. The chemical structure of Ibutamoren also promotes the secretion of human growth hormone. It not only ramps up secretion of HGH but the growth factor IGF-1, and these two compounds make it much easier to grow muscle mass while also enhancing athletic performance and providing many other physical benefits as well.

Potential Side Effects

Ibutamoren is well tolerated by most people. It is not recommended for people under age 18 or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Otherwise, there are no known interactions, and unexpected side effects are uncommon. Hunger is an expected side effect, and one that you should be aware of. This is extremely beneficial for the person seeking to take considerable additional protein but can be just as harmful for the person struggling to lose weight or who deals with appetite control. The other most common side effect is water retention, but this is often not serious and temporary.

Bottom Line

Ibutamoren is perhaps one of the more compelling options on our list for the person who is new to SARMs. The substance is synthetic. There is little risk associated with using it. There has been a significant amount of clinical research involving humans. Many people have had great success with it for adding muscle, and it is an excellent option to stack with a bulking SARM like Ostarine or Testolone.

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#5. Ligandrol (LGD-4033) — Leading SARM for Women

Ligandrol (LGD-4033)

While this is one of the best SARMs to buy for women, it is important to note straight off that this is not a SARM specifically for women. When it comes to supplements, men will see “for women” and freak a bit. This is not loaded with estrogen, soy or anything else that is going to strip away your masculinity. What Ligandrol does exceptionally well in addition to helping to build crazy muscle mass is helping to build bone density, and decreasing bone density is something that many women deal with as they age.

How Ligandrol Works

Ligandrol is your typical selective androgen receptor modulator as has been discussed earlier in this article. It mimics testosterone in that it binds with androgen receptors and stimulates them to produce muscle. An androgen receptor is a type of protein. Anabolic steroids mimic testosterone as well. The difference is that anabolic steroids can bind to any protein. Ligandrol, on the other hand, will only bind to the androgen receptors. All SARMs help to increase bone density as well. Why does Ligandrol work better than some of the other drugs? That remains unclear. But it does, and its success in this regard has made it the focal point of a number of research studies focused on musculoskeletal diseases.

Potential Side Effects

There is not enough clinical data yet to say that Ligandrol is safe for most people. For this reason, the blank medical advisement extends beyond children and pregnant and breastfeeding women to include all people. Nevertheless, there is widespread use of Ligandrol in the bodybuilding world without any serious side effects, so it probably safe to presume that it is all right for most people. Any side effects associated it with it have generally been mild, such as fatigue, headaches and nausea. If you experience any side effects like that, stop taking the Ligandrol until you can consult with a physician.

Bottom Line

Ligandrol is one of the strongest SARMs but also one of the safest. It also has an excellent reputation for increasing and enhancing both sexual mood and function. Many men have achieved great results taking it for no other reason but to improve their sex life. This is a great SARM for women as well, but this among the reasons that we were concerned with labeling it as such. It is great for men too.

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#6. Andarine (S4) — Best SARM for Cutting Fat

Andarine (S4)

Andarine was initially developed in the fight against osteoporosis, which makes it an excellent choice for women as well. It was later researched for the purposes of treating muscle wasting, which is when it its ability to promote muscle growth came to the forefront. But what is perhaps most impressive about Andarine is its ability to block the formation of new fat cells. This makes it very useful during cutting when seeking to eliminate stubborn fat. Results are often visit in as little as 2-3 days. It also helps to enhance muscle mass and muscle vascularity and increase muscle strength and energy levels.

How Andarine Works

Andarine is a selective androgen receptor modulator. It attaches to proteins. The particular receptors it attaches to are then triggered to tell muscles and bones to grow. SARMs are not the only chemicals known to attach to androgen receptors, but SARMs like Andarine are unique in that they do not cause side effects in other parts of the body, such as how anabolic steroids do. All SARMs trigger your body to burn fat for energy as opposed to carbohydrates and muscle. Why is Andarine more effective at doing that than other SARMs? That remains unclear and requires more research to uncover.

Potential Side Effects

One of the chief concerns with Andarine is that while it is generally safe, dosing depends on age, health and other factors. That can make it difficult for the person administering it to himself or herself. It is not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women or anyone younger than 18. There are no known interactions. Side effects are not common, and that includes mild side effects. However, in a small number of people, there is the potential for serious side effects, such as heart attack, stroke and liver damage.

Bottom Line

Andarine is popular in the bodybuilding world, and its use is widespread. There is little question that it is one of the best SARMs available if you are cutting and struggling with some stubborn fat. It is all effective when bulking and cutting in general. Of course, there are real concerns when it comes to dosing, so it is important to put the effort in to determining what the right dose for you is.

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#7. Myostatin Inhibitor (YK-11) — Top SARM for Building Lean Muscle

Myostatin Inhibitor (YK-11)

Building muscle mass is about building muscles that are as big as possible. This is often the goal when using SARMs for bulking. But not everyone wants to bulk up like that. Perhaps you are just starting out and want to build lean muscle as your foundation, or perhaps you are already well built for your size and just want to add a bit more muscle mass rather than bulk up. That is where the YK11 myostatin inhibitor/SARM comes in. It can help you achieve the lean muscle growth you want and do it fast.

How YK-11 Works

YK-11 is a SARM but also a myostatin substance. This can get a little confusing for the layman since myostatin is a compound found naturally in the body. It inhibits muscle growth and is believed to be a chief culprit involved in muscle wasting. YK-11 not only helps to build muscle and bone density but helps to inhibit myogenesis, which works against lean muscle development. Is this why YK-11 is better at building lean muscle than other SARMs? This is not a certainty yet but definitely the working theory.

Potential Side Effects

YK-11 is actually a steroid-SARM hybrid. It is a synthetic compound and based on DHT. There is still much that we do not know about it. Among the most appealing aspects of using SARMs is that they do not have the rogue nature of anabolic steroids that can cause issues elsewhere in the body. This is not necessarily the case with YK-11. Since there is not enough data to have an opinion one way or the other, one must assume that using YK-11 comes with the same risks as taking other synthetic forms of DHT.

Bottom Line

YK-11 is not the typical SARM. This is intriguing from a technical perspective and quite worrisome from a health perspective. Despite the health concerns, use of YK-11 is widespread among bodybuilders. We, however, strongly encourage our readers to avoid use of this synthetic substance until more is known about the potential side effects. In the meantime, there are other SARMs that you can use and even YK-11 supplement-based alternatives that can help you achieve your goals.

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#8. Stenabolic (SR9009) — Best for Endurance and Fat Loss

Stenabolic is not a SARM but a Rev-Erb agonist. Rev-Erb are proteins, and Rev-Erb agonists have been shown to dramatically increase fat loss in mice while also increasing the total energy expenditure. That makes SR9009 are an exciting product that could change the weight loss landscape. Of course, it requires much more research, including trials involving actual people. That has not stopped many in the bodybuilding world from already integrating into their stacks and enjoying the benefits of it.

How Stenabolic Works

Be mindful that there is much we do not know about the product itself since testing has been limited to mice. Science does understand in some respects how it works, which is what led the Scripps Research Institute to develop it. The Rev-Erb proteins are nuclear receptors that play a role in creating energy. The Rev-Erb agonists in this case are triggering these proteins to burn fat in the body for energy as opposed to burning carbohydrates or muscle. This particular drug is quite effective at this.

Potential Side Effects

There are no known interactions and no known side effects. This statement must be caveated with the context that research has been limited and restricted to just mice. That has not stopped bodybuilders from integrating Stenabolic into their stacks. Based on that usage, we can presume to some degree that there are no serious short-term side effects. Nevertheless, that is impossible to say with certainty, and there can definitely be long-term adverse reactions that simply have not manifested yet.

Bottom Line

Stenabolic is an exciting investigational drug that presents some very intriguing possibilities. It is still a long way off from being deemed safe for human use. We absolutely would not use it ourselves and definitely do not recommend it to our readers use it. There are SARMs and SARM supplemental alternatives that make a real difference with weight loss and help with cutting, and you can take them without any of the long-term damage that you may inadvertently cause by using an unproven drug.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is a SARM?

Selective androgen receptor modulators are a kind of therapeutic compound that have properties similar to an anabolic steroid but with much reduced androgenic properties. A SARM will bind to muscle-building proteins but not to other proteins the way an anabolic steroid can. SARMs are controlled substances currently considered to be investigational drugs by the FDA.

  1. Are SARMs Legal to Buy and Sell?

Yes, but with a caveat. Since they are investigational drugs, it is legal to sell and purchase them for research purposes. It is not legal to sell them packaged for human consumption, however.

  1. Can You Get a Prescription for SARMs?

No. The FDA has not approved them as a drug for human use. A doctor cannot give you a prescription.

  1. Are SARMs Safe to Use?

The answer to this question is relative. Anabolic steroids can cause all manner of side effects because they will bind not just with androgenic receptors but proteins throughout the body. SARMs do not do this, so from that perspective they are safer than steroids. But there is still much research to be done and much we do not know about them, so no one can yet say with certainty that they are safe.

  1. Can Women Use SARMs?

Women absolutely can use SARMs. The process by which they build muscle mass is just the same as a man, and many female bodybuilders do include SARMs in their stacks. The scientific community does advise against pregnant and breastfeeding women from using these substances, however.

  1. What Are SARMs Supplements?

SARMs are synthetic drugs designed to mimic testosterone. While many bodybuilders already use SARMs, there are many people who prefer to wait until these substances are legalized and proven safe. SARMs supplements are an alternative available to these people. These are all-natural supplements that use vitamins, minerals and traditional medicines in order to mimic the effect of a particular SARM. They can be surprisingly effective and are, of course, completely safe to use.

  1. What Are the Benefits of Taking SARMs?

There are a number of benefits associated with SARMs, including increased muscle mass, bone density and fat loss. Users often experienced heightened energy levels. There are often other benefits similar to those associated with taking testosterone, such as increased libido and improved sexual performance.

  1. What Are the Side Effects of Taking SARMs?

Note that there are no side effects associated with the all-natural SARMs supplements that are available. The various SARMs themselves can cause side effects. These do tend to vary from one drug to another. In rare cases, they can be quite serious, such as liver damage or heart disease. Often, they are quite minor, such as headaches or fatigue. There has been some research that has found similar side effects to using anabolic steroids, such as mood swings, acne and decreased testicular size.

Final Thoughts

SARMs are often presented as the safe alternative to anabolic steroids. It is more appropriate to say that they are the safer alternative. There is a lot of exciting promise here. It feels that we are on the verge of some major breakthroughs that will at least make a real difference in the world of medicine. Perhaps there may even come a time when it is safe and legal to use them for muscle building and fat loss.

In the meantime, there are best SARM alternatives in the form of nutritional supplements that we can use. While they may not be as strong, they also come with none of the short- and long-term risks. You may also be amazed at just how well they do work with hard work and a balanced diet.

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