Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

Is Serena Williams on Steroids? (Deep Investigation)

Chris Bolt
Published by Chris Bolt | Contributor
Last updated: August 7, 2023

Serena Jameka Williams is one of the most decorated professional tennis players. She revolutionized women's tennis with her aggressive style of play and has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles (the most won by any player in the Open Era).

After spending a week watching her games, observing her playing style, workout routine, and diet, I noticed that Serena displayed some almost superhuman-like abilities — something I’ve found rare in both my male and female clients.

So, we’re going to take a deeper look into whether Williams could have possibly used performance-enhancing drugs during her tennis career, asking the question, are steroids bad for you?

Quick Summary

  • Serena Williams isn't on steroids and has never tested positive for any drug when tested during her active days as a tennis player.
  • Pulmonary embolism, aggression during games, and increased muscle mass made people start suspecting Serena was on steroids.
  • To bulk up like Serena Williams, adopt her vegan diet, take supplements like vegan proteins, and finally ensure you copy her high-intensity workout routines.

Serena’s Stats

  • Age: 40 (born on 26 September 1981)
  • Height: 5’9” (175 cm)
  • Weight: 157 lbs (71 kgs)
  • Breast: 40 inches
  • Waist: 29 inches
  • Hips: 44 inches


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams)

The Women's Tennis Association ranked Serena's singles world No. 1 eight times. In addition to being a four-time Olympic gold medalist, Serena has won 73 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles.

“The wins and the losses always lead to these big moments, unless you're Serena Williams.”

— Venus Williams, Professional Tennis Player, Sister of Serena Williams

Reasons Why Williams Might Be On Steroids

woman with body muscles

Williams’ performance as one of the top tennis players and the development of her overall appearance and behavior have led me to wonder whether she used the help of steroids.

Below are some of the signs that could indicate that she potentially used performance-enhancing drugs.

Increased Muscle Mass

Take a look at a photo of Williams in her 20s and compare it to her current physique: it feels like entirely two different people. She has put on a significant deal of muscle mass, despite the fact that she grew older.

These changes over the course of years could indicate possible steroid use. However, these changes could also result from a super-intense workout plan and her genetic makeup, so it’s hard to figure out the true source of her transformation.

“First of all her physical presence is much stronger and bigger than you realize watching TV. She has thick arms and thick legs and is so intimidating and strong. It’s the whole thing—her presence, her confidence, her personality...Even now, she can make me feel like a little girl.”

— Maria Sharapova, Russian Former World No. 1 Tennis Player

Aggressive Behavior During Games

shouting Serena Williams

A 2018 study showed that increased testosterone has the same positive relationship with aggression in women as in men [1].

I’ve watched a fair share of women's tennis and many of Serena’s games and found her style of play to be significantly more aggressive than other female tennis players (and some men as well).

She is also known to have one too many outbursts during her games and even broke her racket during her 2018 Open final against Naomi Osaka.

The combination of an aggressive playing style and her aggressive behaviors could be an indication of heightened testosterone levels caused by taking steroids. However, we cannot be too sure.

Pulmonary Embolism

Back in March 2011, Williams suffered from a pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary embolisms in women are usually a result of a sedentary lifestyle [2].

A 2016 study found that pulmonary embolisms (PE) were associated with the use of anabolic steroids [3]. And another 2016 study found that even though related substances also considered doping called corticosteroids reduce swelling and treat inflammatory diseases, they increase the risk of pulmonary embolisms [4] [5].

Since Williams’ lifestyle is the polar opposite of sedentary, one could say that her PE could be a result of steroid use.

Is It Possible for Women to Naturally Become Like Williams?

A hand holding a dumbbell

Yes. Provided a woman has the same genetic disposition as Williams and strictly follows her workout and diet, it is possible for her to naturally become like Serena Williams.

Serena is genetically disposed to have a wider-than-average frame for a woman, giving her certain advantages from the start.

Those limited by their genetics can speed up their efforts noticeably by using something like bulking stacks based on legal and natural supplements.

These are alternatives to legal steroids and can increase your stamina, strength, and testosterone production resulting in more effective muscle growth.

What Would It Take To Perform and Look Like Her?

woman working out at home and a salad bowl with tape measure


Serena's diet principles are pretty simple: she eats “to live” and to stay in peak condition. She often skips breakfast because she spends her mornings on family-related tasks and working out.

During tennis season, Serena sticks to a mostly vegan diet. She consumes plenty of beans, nuts, lentils, and sprouted quinoa. Of course, she has the occasional cheat day where she indulges in her favorite foods, such as fried chicken, moon pies, and grits.

She takes vegan protein shakes, multivitamins for women, and oil of oregano and garlic for her supplements.

Before her matches, she loads up on greens, fruits, some carbs, and some kind of protein. She does this to consume a variety of food groups in one sitting [6].

Training and Workout Routine

After watching various interviews and analyzing different sources on the web, I learned that Serena’s routine consists of high-intensity training with a core focus on her arms, glutes, core, and legs.

Serena Williams, a titan of the tennis world, has a workout regimen befitting her status. Her high-intensity training program is both vigorous and highly specialized, designed to cater to the physical demands of her sport.

Serena starts her day with an hour of cardio, often running or biking. This warms up her muscles, kick-starts her metabolism, and sets a tone of discipline for the day. She uses a combination of steady-state cardio for endurance and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for speed and agility.

Her strength training sessions, happening three to four times a week, predominantly focus on her arms, glutes, core, and legs - areas integral to her power and precision on the court. For her arms, she incorporates exercises such as push-ups, dumbbell curls, and tricep dips. The goal is to enhance her serving and volleying strength.

The glute exercises, including squats, lunges, and hip thrusts, provide stability and power for her explosive movements. Core workouts, featuring a mix of planks, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches, improve her balance and allow her to maintain control during complex shots.

Leg training is also crucial for Serena. She employs a variety of drills like box jumps, sled pushes, and resistance band workouts to increase her agility and speed, ensuring she can cover every inch of the court efficiently.


Was Serena Williams Ever Tested for PEDs?

In 2018, the U.S. The Anti-Doping Agency tested Williams five times, which she claims were target testing. Interestingly, other top female players such as Danielle Collins, Madison Keys, and Alison Riske were submitted to a drug test fewer times, leading some folks to believe Serena’s tests were invasive and targeted treatment.

Was Serena Williams Ever Banned for Steroid Use?

No, she was never banned for steroid use. However, in 2016, she was revealed to have received a number of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) from the International Tennis Federation.

She did not break any drug testing, even though she tested positive, because the World Anti-Doping Agency allows the use of banned substances for medical purposes [7].

Is Serena Williams Natural?

Despite showing signs of increased strength, aggression in her games, and PE, it’s hard to pinpoint these to illegal substance abuse.

Drug testing associations have targeted Serena, and that surely raises many suspicions.

This is the reason I believe people should find ways to bulk up naturally using high-quality products. What I usually recommend to my readers and clients is to include legal steroid for women in their regimen.

It combines natural supplements to boost testosterone and performance levels. It’s by no means a shortcut akin to steroids, but with the right diet and training, it will bring you to your goal significantly faster.


Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Learn More