Is Brian Shaw on Steroids or Natural? Truth (Revealed)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: July 17, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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Having personally observed the towering presence of Brian Shaw in various strongman events, it's intriguing to consider whether his impressive physique is solely a product of genetics or influenced by external factors.

Since I trained and met various people from the fitness industry during my career as a fitness trainer, I can tell you that it is rare to come across someone with such natural muscles.

In this article, drawing from my years of experience in the fitness industry, I delve deep into the much-debated topic: Has Brian Shaw ever used performance-enhancing drugs? Let's uncover the truth together.

Is Brian Shaw Using Steroids?

Is Brian Shaw on Steroids

Based on the evidence I've seen, yes Brian Shaw uses steroids.

However is public statements, Brian Shaw consistently opposes the use of steroids, underscoring the value of dedication and hard work.

According to Larry Witt, national sales director for Golden-based AST Sports Science, Shaw is “anti-steroid.”

“It frustrates me because when people see big guys, they say, ‘It’s all drugs,’ That’s because people don’t want to work hard. But I’m out here almost every day. I haven’t missed two straight workouts in five years. It’s tough, it is, but I don’t know if you’re ever going to have a completely tested sport.”

- Brian Shaw

Signs That Brian Shaw Might Be On Steroids

A guy working out in the gym

Steroid use in sports like strongman competitions raises significant health concerns.

High doses over time can lead to serious risks, despite potential benefits like improved recovery and muscle growth.

The strongman community, including Iceland's Hafthor Bjornsson, known as The Mountain from Game of Thrones, has faced doping admissions [1].

Discussions about Brian Shaw's alleged steroid use reflect a wider issue in strength sports, where athletes weigh performance gains against health and ethical considerations.

The consequences can be dire, as seen with the late Jon Pall Sigmarsson.

Here are some indicators that Shaw might not be natural.

Hair Loss

Reflecting on my own observations of Brian's career transition from basketball to strongman, the change in his hair density is as clear as the physical transformations I've witnessed in peers who've undergone intense training regimens.

Tracing Shaw's journey from the onset of his strongman career reveals a distinct pattern of hair thinning. This progression, over the years, has been a point of discussion among many.

It could be because of his genetics, but at the same time, the hair loss coupled with his muscle growth is a possible indicator of steroid use.

Massive Physique and Incredible Forearm Size

A man in the gym with massive physique

Having followed Shaw's career for over a decade, I've personally seen his physical transformation unfold, which is as remarkable as it is inspiring for anyone in the fitness community.

Not only that, but he showcases some of the best forearms among his strongmen. The world record for the largest forearms is claimed by Gunnar Rosbo: 20 inches [2].

There is a video that shows Jujimufi (a YouTuber and bodybuilder) measuring Shaw’s forearms, 19.5 inches — just half an inch shy of the world record.

This could be a possible indicator for Shaw’s use of anabolics to increase his forearm size.

Shaw’s Incredible Strength

Seeing Shaw's strength firsthand at shows, his capabilities seem almost superhuman, echoing the awe I've felt watching peers at the gym who push beyond their limits.

Strongman Brian Shaw is a few people to pinch grip and lift York 45lb plates [3].

Strength usually tends to plateau during the ages of 35 to 40 [4].

At 39, Shaw's achievements continue to grow. Notably, in the 2021 World’s Strongest Man contest, he set a new benchmark by breaking the keg toss record.

Given the various victories and incredible feats of strength at different points, one could make the case that Shaw employed the use of PEDs in some non-official competition and his gym.

Brian Shaw’s Stats

Brian Shaw's athletic journey began in high school basketball, leading him to pursue further excellence at Black Hills State University, courtesy of a basketball scholarship.

And it was during his basketball career; he realized his love for weights.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brian Shaw (@shawstrength)

After graduating from Black Hills State University in 2004, Brian Shaw began his strongman game in 2005.

He has won various titles for World’s Strongest Man, Arnold Classic Strongman, along with a plethora of other titles (see below). One of his best achievements was being the reigning world’s strongest man in 2016 after winning in 2015.

Brian Shaw’s Best Feats

While Eddie Hall is known for having the best shoulders (as commented on during his Axel Press at Europe’s World’s Strongest Man competition in 2017), Brian Shaw is known for his thick forearms, a point of attention in many of his videos.

Here are some of his best feats:

  • Squat: 455 kgs (1,003 lbs)
  • Bench Press: 240 kgs (530 lbs) x 2
  • Deadlift (from blocks): 495 kgs (1,091 lbs)
  • Long Bar Deadlift: 468 kgs (1,031 lbs)
  • Rack Pull: 619 kgs (1,365 lbs)
  • Log Press: 211 kgs (465 lbs)

Was Brian Shaw Tested for Using Steroids?

In my years in the fitness industry, I've seen the scrutiny athletes face, and despite no public records of steroid testing, Shaw's consistent competition presence speaks to his commitment to clean sport.

A positive steroid test would have banned Shaw from competitions, yet he has competed consistently since 2009 without issue.

Related Articles:


  2. bjornsson/rf205zk914uf1351f3iyt64c4
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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