Is Myostatin the New Testosterone for Building Muscle?

In the kingdom of bodybuilding, when it comes to building muscle there's one hormone that triumphs them all...and that is testosterone. T is simply the king of all anabolic hormones in the body.

If it wasn't, millions of guys around the world wouldn't be spending thousands of dollars each year injecting it into their butts.

…But they are.

And even natty bodybuilders are searching high and wide for ways to maximize their testosterone levels; with over the counter test boosters selling like hotcakes.

A bodybuilder finding new ways to increase his testosterone is as exciting as a nerd discovering the ultimate cheat to their favourite ever Nintendo 64 game (which is almost certainly Goldeneye 007).

T is the key to significantly increasing your strength and muscle size - effortlessly.

Your dog scrounging for left-overs of your pizza is no different to gym rats coveting a 10% rise in test.

However… in this article today I'm going to talk about a protein that's in the same league as testosterone when it comes to building muscle. And when I say protein, I'm not talking about a high protein diet.

This protein is produced in the body and can be utilized in the same way as testosterone for building muscle. However, not many people know about it…

What is it Erny I hear you cry!

Okay, let's get to business. This protein or myokine is known as myostatin, otherwise referred to as growth differentiation factor 8.

Myostatin essentially inhibits myogenesis.

Myogenesis is the process that promotes the growth of lean muscle tissue.

So in simple terms, myostatin limits the amount of muscle you can build.

…F you Myostatin.

So because myostatin prevents myogenesis, guys with extremely low levels of this protein experience extraordinary muscle growth; coupled with awesome fat burning effects.

Thus, average Joe's looking to gain muscle should aim to reduce myostatin levels, rather than increase them.

How Much Muscle Can You Build by Lowering Myostatin?


There are certain breeds of animals who have myostatin mutations, meaning they have abnormally low levels of this protein. One example is Belgian Blue Cattle, who have 40% more muscle compared to other cattle without the gene.

40% more muscle, how much is that? Lets translate this into bodybuilding terms:

Normal bodybuilder = 16 inch arms

Myostatin-deficient bodybuilder = 22.4 inch arms.

…That's also the difference between me and Phil Heath.

How Much Do Myostatin Levels Need to Drop?

Farmers inject their cattle with substances such as follistatin, a protein which significantly lowers myostatin levels, to increase their cattle's lean mass, so they can sell more meat. Interestingly, they have found that lowering myostatin by just 20% is enough to see a rapid increase in muscle mass and strength (1).

A study published in 2004 had a group of men perform weight training for 10 weeks. Weight training naturally causes myostatin levels to lower, as the body's breaking down muscle tissue and thus it lowers myostatin to enable your muscles to repair/grow bigger. The men lifting weights saw a 20% decrease in serum myostatin levels on average. Their strength levels went up 30% and muscle mass increased by 12%.

Although other factors can be attributed to this muscle growth such as:

So although lower myostatin levels may not be the whole reason of why these men gained muscle, it does give some evidence that myostatin levels might not need to decrease that significantly in order to see lean gains in muscle and strength.

Flex Wheeler's Myostatin Mutation

Flex Wheeler, one of the greatest and most aesthetic bodybuiders of all time, was found to have an extremely rare myostatin mutation.

This became apparent when he participated in a study amongst 61 other bodybuilders in the late 90's. The 62 men were picked because of their exceptional gains in muscle mass as a result from lifting weights.

The study concluded that a myostatin deficiency was the cause for exceptional muscle growth in 9 of these men.

And lucky old Flex happened to carry the most rare myostatin gene of them all, being the 'exon 2 gene'.

This proves that some of the best bodybuilders in the world don't reach the top just because of superior testosterone levels. Other factors also come into play, such as Flex's rare genetic myostatin condition.

It would be interesting to see a study done on all Mr Olympia contestants to see if they'd have any existing mutation's like Flex's. It wouldn't be surprising if guys like Phil Heath and Kai Greene had some kind of mutation too, which would put to bed the myth of "they're only that big because of steroids".

Plan of Action

Because of myostatin's recently discovered profound effect on muscle growth, it's been dubbed 'the future of bodybuilding'.

Big praise indeed.

It's also resulted in myostatin-inhibitor supplements flying off the shelves and becoming best-sellers in bodybuilding warehouses across the globe.

However, it's important to note that although lowering your myostatin level is another awesome trick you can use to build muscle, you shouldn't expect HUGE gains from these supplements.

…Just like you wouldn't expect to get huge gains from natty test boosters.

Also trying to manipulate your myostatin levels by eating dark chocolate every day isn’t going to make the slightest difference to your gains (if only it was that easy!).

However, some people have reported of awesome gains when taking myostatin-blocking supplements.

So instead of just sticking to whey protein, creatine and BCAAs…try out a myostatin inhibitor.

It might just help you become more anabolic, enabling you to bust through a plateau, fill that loose t-shirt or finally outbench your gym partner.

If you do decide to try out a myostatin blocker, let us know about your gains in the comments section below!

About Author

Erny Peibst is the owner of, where he shares his personal thoughts as to which bodybuilders are natural or not, based on his knowledge of steroid symptoms.

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Adrian Bryant

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