Bodybuilding with Tribulus: Top Tips for Maximum Gains

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Looking for bodybuilding tips for how to get the best gains with tribulus?

If you are looking for a natural testosterone boost then you may well have heard of tribulus terrestris but does it work and how can you get the best results for maximum gains?

In this piece, we take a look at how tribulus works and how it can help with building muscle.

Whilst bodybuilders may differ in many ways there is one thing that unites them; the desire to increase lean muscle mass, reduce fat and improve strength.

Whilst some may choose to do this via the use of anabolic steroids there are plenty more who prefer to look for safe, natural alternatives.

Tribulus terrestris is a herbal supplement extracted from the common weed by the same name which grows across America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Known as puncture vine, devil’s-thorn, bullweed and goat’s weed, tribulus has been used in many traditional medicines to treat a range of ailments associated with urinary tract due to its diuretic properties. It has also gained a reputation for being an aphrodisiac and has been found to increase the libido of both males and females.

In addition, there is evidence to suggest that this potent herb can also boost testosterone levels.

Boost stamina and testosterone tribulus

Tribulus has been linked with increased stamina and providing a boost in T-levels. Image via Flickr.

An increase in testosterone levels is the holy grail when it comes to bodybuilding and is the primary driver when increasing lean muscle and decreasing body fat.

It provides us with energy and stamina and fuels the aggression needed to focus on a good workout; it is the single most important hormone when it comes to making the best muscle gains.

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Does Tribulus Boost Testosterone Levels?

Tribulus terrestris contains an important component known as steroidal saponins; a secondary metabolite that helps the human body to produce steroids.

Also known as saraponins, these building blocks can help to stimulate the growth of lean muscle mass and boost testosterone levels.

Not only that but as a botanical supplement, tribulus is deemed by most countries to be a legal herbal remedy. Whilst clinical trials have not shown any evidence of the long term effects of tribulus, we know that short-term use is also very safe and with limited (and mild) side effects (if any are incurred at all).

Though there is a lack of scientific evidence to conclusively prove to what degree tribulus boosts testosterone levels in healthy adult males, research has shown that saraponins, such as protodioscin that is found in tribulus, does increase testosterone levels.

Researchers in Lithuania found that athletes who were given a dose of 625mg (40% saraponin) three times a day for three weeks, showed increases in testosterone production.

However, this was limited to the first ten days of the research with levels after this period remaining stable.

What effects does tribulus have on bodybuilding?

As well as contributing to a boost in testosterone levels, tribulus can also aid with increasing stamina during a workout as well as helping with muscle recover post-workout.

Top Tips for Maximum Gains

There is much advice on how to get the most out of tribulus bodybuilding, but here are some key tips:

1. The Importance of Cycling

Tribulus is an adaptogenic herb whose benefits are most heightened when they are needed most.

Adaptogens work to regulate hormones and to stabilise the adrenal system. It stands to reason that once your hormone levels (including testosterone) are at a stable level that the benefits are seen to plateau. This may be what was evidenced in the clinical trials with the Lithuanian athletes.

As a result and due to the fact that long-term use of tribulus has yet to be studied it is strongly recommended that the use of tribulus is cycled.

Anecdotal evidence and common sense suggests that you use tribulus during a training phase and cycle off during periods of recovery.

2. Dose Before… Then After the Workout

Dosing is best spaced out with 2/3 of your daily dose being 30-60 minutes before your workout and a 1/3 of your does taken post workout.

bodybuilding gains tribulus

To prevent plateauing, make sure you cycle your use of tribulus. Image via Flickr.

3. Stack Attack

The best results reported in users of tribulus suggest that it should be stacked with other testosterone boosting herbal supplements.

The most common products to stack with are cortisol blockers and anti-oestrogens. Others prefer a simpler stack with DHEA, vitamin D3 and D-Aspartic Acid, Coleus forskohlii and Phosphatidyl Serine.

4. Get High Quality Supplements

As with any supplement that you can buy, it is crucial that the product you choose is of a high quality from a reputable supplier.

Not only will this ensure that the extract you are taking is free from contaminants but also contains the right make up of key ingredients.

To get the best performance from tribulus for bodybuilding it is important that your supplement contains 40-45% saponins; ideally with a ratio of at least 6% protodioscin.

5. Check the Variety

There are more than fifty varieties of the tribulus plant with each having a different composition. Tribulus terrestris is the variety you should be looking for; although there is a variety on the market aimed at T-boosting, the tribulus alatus, this particular supplement does use compounds extracted from the fruit.

Close but no cigar…alatus vs terrestris means different results. Images via Wikipedia.

6. Start with a low dosage and tweak

As there is no recommended daily allowance levels calculated for tribulus terrestris the dosage can be a tricky one to gauge when looking at achieving maximum gains.

Some manufacturers provide capsules and recommend doses of 500mg whilst others supply and advocate a single serving of 2000mg. Start with a small dosage to determine how the herb affects you and ramp up the dose during your first cycle to monitor performance.

With the right dose of tribulus you should see bodybuilding improvements within 5-7 days of usage.

Tribulus Optimum Nutrition


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