In the quest of finding the best pre workout for pump, the choices can be pretty overwhelming and confusing, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the important (and hidden) ingredients in every tub.

Factors such as flavor, ingredients, dosage, and effects, among others, are to be taken into meticulous consideration if you really want to reap the most benefits out of your pre-workout supplement.

You’ve seen this as a pre-requisite amongst gym regulars or at-home fitness enthusiasts, and why it is a stalwart pre-requisite for an explosive workout. It’s an effective cocktail of nutrients and body conditioner to help you power through challenging exercises.

Our long-time favorite remains to be the Gorilla Mode Pre Workout Formula. If your motivation and focus don’t last you until your final set, this delicious, non-hormonal mix helps in muscle endurance and drive, by delivering a great pump of nitric oxide to improve muscle strength and release energy. 

Great pump and vascularity mean great performance to achieve your fitness goals. In this article, we explore the science behind these top-rated pre-workout supplements, and why they stand out in maximizing your pump for a fantastic workout.

Best Pre Workout For Pump & Explosive Workout Performance at a Glance

BEST OVERALL
Gorilla Mode Pre Workout
9.7
Gorilla Mode Pre Workout

This pre-workout has the best doses in every ingredient. You better believe you’ll get the laser focus, energy, and grit to perform every exercise with gusto. At best, this pre-workout’s comparatively higher price justifies the benefits you’ll reap from every tub, not to mention the best pump ever. You will love the extra nitric oxide production from this one.

BEST CAFFEINE-FREE
PUMPSURGE Caffeine Free Pre Workout
9.5
PUMPSURGE Caffeine Free Pre Workout

If you don’t need more caffeine lurking in your system, the Pump Surge is the best caffeine-free commitment you could get from a pre-workout. You can get the best combination of scientific doses in every ingredient with zero fillers and dyes in a non-proprietary blend at a reasonable price.

BEST BUDGET
NITROSURGE Pre Workout Supplement
9.1
NITROSURGE Pre Workout Supplement

The cheapest tub in the bunch, the Nitro Surge Pre Workout has all the essential ingredients you will need to achieve that surge of energy for a beast mode session in the gym. Mixed in with the good stuff like L-citrulline, Beta-alanine, betaine-anhydrous, and caffeine, this pre-workout is the best bang for the buck with no cheap ‘crashing’ effect.

Gorilla Mode Pre Workout – Best Overall

What we like

  • Available in 5+ flavors
  • Efficient recovery and reduced DOMS with Pure L-Citrulline
  • 30g of active ingredients for better workouts
  • Clean burst of energy without the jitters
  • Non-proprietary blend for full ingredient transparency
  • Massive doses of L-Citrulline, Glycerpump, Agmatine, Creatine, and Betaine for intracellular hydration and blood-saturated muscles
  • Perform with grit, laser focus, and increased energy
  • Sufficient combination of STIMS and NOOTROPICS for enhanced performance, focus, and energy

What we don’t like

  • More potent formula means more mixing
  • Pricier than other pre-workouts

Gorilla Mode has all the right ingredients that will give you a good dose of nitric oxide production, mental focus, and muscle pumps post-workout. This makes it one of the strongest pre-workout contenders on the list.

Its 900mg Pure L-Citrulline is not artificially inflated with Malic Acid so you can get the maximum effective dosage per chug. Its 500mg Creatine gives the right amount of strength, power output, and muscle size. This is perfectly combined with 3000mg of glycerpump, 2500mg of betaine, and 1000mg of agmatine.

If your primary source of focus and energy is caffeine, then you’ll appreciate that every tub of this pre-workout has 350mg of Caffeine, as well as 350mg of N-phenyl dimethylamine citrate for drive and performance with the proper stimulants.

For high energy, improved mood, and mental acuity, trust the power of 1500mg of L-tyrosine, 500mg of Kanna, and 400mg of hyper zone A in their proper doses. Even more, there is 23,500mg of total nitric oxide precursors, plasma expanders, and volumizing agents that all account for the grittiness of the pre-workout.

Get the right level of hydration, endurance, and power with Gorilla Mode Pre Workout in delicious flavors: Cherry Blackout, Fruit Punch, Lemon Lime, Lemonade, Mojo Mojito, and Watermelon.

Pump Surge Pre Workout – Best Caffeine-Free

What we like

  • Scientifically dosed without caffeine
  • Non-proprietary blends – all ingredients on full disclosure
  • Safe, standard, high-quality production in state-of-the-art cGMP facility
  • Highly bioavailable and research-backed ingredients with zero fillers or dyes manufactured in the USA with transparent label and cGMP certification

What we don’t like

  • Leaves a slightly tingling sensation on the working muscles

Not all lifters require caffeine to get a kick into their workout. For the best caffeine-free choice, go with Pump Surge Pre Workout. This relies exclusively on fully dosed ergogenic boosters and brain-enhancing nootropic ingredients so no caffeine is needed for that burst of energy.

It is available in a wide range of flavors including Blue Raspberry, Cherry Limeade, Cucumber Lime, Raspberry Peach, Strawberry Lemonade, and Watermelon, so your pre-workout never tastes bland.

When it comes to its active ingredients, this pre-workout contains L-Citrulline, Betaine, and Taurine, which work together in increasing nitric oxide production for muscle growth, muscle fullness, proper nutrient delivery, and intense vascularity or prominent superficial veins.

Dose-wise, there are 5g of L-Citrulline, 2.5g of Betaine anhydrous, and 2g of Taurine. Each ingredient works to provide powerful pumps, laser focus, and increased energy to support muscle growth, increased endurance, and improved stamina.

For the right blend, mix 1 serving with 8-12 ounces of water. For an extra boost, mix 1 scoop Pump Surge with 1 scoop Nitro Surge in 16 oz water.

Nitro Surge Pre Workout – Best Budget

What we like

  • Potent formula with no fillers or dyes
  • Lesser caffeine mg for tolerable stimulant especially post-workout
  • Great stimulus and reduced recovery time
  • No “crashing” effect after the workout
  • Affordable price point

What we don’t like

  • Short bouts of flushed feeling, excessive sweating, and lightheadedness on initial consumptions (effects subside over time)
  • Some ingredients don’t dissolve properly, resulting in a chalky texture in the mouth

On a budget? Nitro Surge Pre Workout has got you covered. This pre-workout will give you the right kick without making burning a hole in your pocket. It prides itself in having no creatine in its ingredients and having only straightforward components that will give you instant results.

It contains the pre-workout essentials: L-Citrulline, Betaine anhydrous, Beta-alanine, Caffeine, and L-theanine, all of which enable you to achieve the right pump for your physique. Follow this through with a nitric oxide booster for endurance, strength, and fueled muscle growth.

For specific doses, Nitro Surge Pre Workout contains 36g L-Citrulline to increase Nitric Oxide production and improve blood flow to skeletal muscle tissue for a better pump and 1.6g Beta-Alanine that reduces fatigue, boosts recovery and increases muscle carnosine levels.

It also contains 1.25g Betaine Anhydrous which promotes cellular hydration and proper vascular function, and 180mg Caffeine which enhances fatty acid metabolism and reduced perceived exertion for smoother lift each time.

To make the perfect recipe, mix 1 scoop with 6-8 oz water. For better results, mix 2 scoops with 12-16 oz water. Do not take more than 2 scoops within 24 hours.

Get the flavors in Arctic White, Black Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Blueberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Cotton Candy, Fruit Punch, Grape, Green Apple, Pineapple, Sour Peach Rings, Strawberry Margarita, and Watermelon.

Legion Pulse Pre Workout – Best All-Natural Ingredients

What we like

  • 16 flavors in all
  • Caffeine-free flavor options
  • Clean product with no fillers, artificial sweeteners, or chemicals that you can enjoy guilt-free
  • Contains 100% natural ingredients with no harsh or dangerous stimulants and no jittery aftermath
  • Enhances mental focus and mood for a more productive workout
  • Great for training programs beyond weightlifting, such as cardio, endurance training, and circuit

What we don’t like

  • Slightly bitter taste
  • A bit expensive for recommended 20 scoops per tub
  • Doesn’t contain creatine (vital ingredient for those who workout every day or most days of the week)

Created by international best-selling fitness author Mike Matthews, Legion Pulse Pre Workouts takes pride in being made of 100% natural, science-backed ingredients including L-citrulline malate, Betaine, Beta-alanine, Alpha GPC, Caffeine, and L-theanine. 

More so, each flavor comes in an original and caffeine-free version, so you can have more freedom with your source of stimulants. Choose among Arctic Blast, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Grape, Green Apple, Sour Candy, Tropic Punch, and Watermelon. For Caffeine-free flavors, take your pick from Fruit Punch, Green Apple, and Tropical Punch.

The all-natural ingredients and their doses are as follows: Nitric Oxide Booster, Caffeine (350mg) to boost energy and strength, L-Theanine (350mg) to enhance mood and prevent post-workout crash, Alpha GPC (300mg) to increase power, L-Citrulline Malate (8g) to improve blood flow and muscular endurance, Bela-Alanine (3.6g) to reduce fatigue and boost muscle fibers gain, and lastly, Betaine (2.5g) to enhance strength.

If you’re not 100% satisfied with the product, Legion Pulse Store offers a moneyback guarantee, no questions asked, or inconvenient processes along the way.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout – Best For Immediate Effects

What we like

  • Fewer stimulants (caffeine content) compared with other pre-workouts so you have a good night’s rest even after an evening workout session
  • Quick effect within 15 to 30 minutes of consumption
  • No crash effects
  • Best for beginners
  • Great taste – the flavor is accurate with description
  • Great serving size per component

What we don’t like

  • Slightly foamy texture
  • May have reduced effectiveness on users with high pre-workout tolerance

If there is anything that should be highlighted in the best pre-workout, it is the product’s ability to provide fast effects. You don’t want to waste so much time waiting for the surge to kick in and end up having to rush your workout. The Optimum Nutrition Gold Pre Workout gives rapid results without adverse effects.

Each tub of the Optimum Nutrition Gold is packed with Vitamin D, Caffeine, Creatine, and Beta-Alanine. The caffeine is provided from all-natural resources with a lower dose of 175mg. On the other hand, the creatine is served with 3g and the Beta-Alanine with 1.5g. At best, you will immediately feel the effects of the pre-workout ingredients. So if you’re pressed for time, Optimum Nutrition Gold has got you covered.

Overall, expect to gain explosive energy, enhanced endurance, and a precursor to nitric oxide for level blood pressure and physical development. Optimum Nutrition is a trusted sports nutrition provider for over 30 years in over 90 countries. 

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout is available in Blueberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Green Apple, and Watermelon. For the recipe, mix 1 scoop in 6-8 oz cold water and stir for 30 seconds until dissolved. Caution: Do not exceed 2 scoops a day.

Altius Pre Workout Fuel – Best Keto-Friendly

What we like

  • Great product sustainability in terms of potency, effectiveness, and dose
  • Suitable for bulking and cutting seasons
  • Contain exact ingredient profile
  • Contains citrulline malate (not only plain citrulline) for muscle relief and anaerobic performance
  • Best keto-friendly choice

What we don’t like

  • Only one flavor available: Mixed Berry
  • Tolerance waves off easily especially for regular lifters

Famous for containing potent and clinically proven ingredients, the Altius Pre Workout Fuel utilizes the best natural ingredients on the market to provide artificial sweetener-free food dye-free formula. As an effect, this achieves improved performance, skin-splitting pumps, and increased strength and power.

The Altius Pre Workout Fuel contains 800mg citrulline malate, 3200mg beta-alanine, 3000mg creatine, 2500mg betaine anhydrous, 325mg caffeine, 3000 alpha-GPC, 500mg vitamin B12, 150mg sodium, 300mg potassium, and 30mg AstraGin.

Other ingredients include natural flavors, stevia extract, silicon dioxide, calcium silicate, and beet powder. For first-time users, mix ½ scoop in 8-10 oz water for 25 to 35 minutes before your workout. For regular use, mix 1 scoop in 16-24 oz water.

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Pre Workout – Best Antioxidant

What we like

  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • 3rd party tested for quality and ingredient transparency
  • Delivers clean, intense surge of energy and laser focus for total mind-muscle connection
  • Triggers bigger, longer-lasting pump with the Pure L-Citrulline
  • Award-winning pre-workout for muscle growth, strength development, and improved performance

What we don’t like

  • Can raise potassium levels because of coconut water component
  • Sweeter taste with chemical aftertaste
  • 3x more ingredients in each scoop requires more water

Pre-workouts for pump should include not only ingredients that will boost nitric oxide levels for better athletic performance but also antioxidants and essential amino acids that will make consumers feel healthy overall. 

The Kaged Muscle Pre Workout has fresh flavors such as Berry Blast, Fruit Punch, Grape, Krisp Apple, Orange Krush, and Pink Lemonade. It contains organic caffeine found in green coffee beans, green tea leaf extract, taurine, tyrosine, and a complete profile BCAA.

Each tub contains Pure L-Citrulline that drives nutrient-rich blood and oxygen into muscles for that satisfying skin splitting pumps and better workout performance. There are 29 fruits and veggie superfoods that provide essential antioxidants and promote nitric oxide production in the body.

Maximize your resistance training and see a significant reduction in your muscle fatigue with these components: fermented BCAAs 6.5g, fermented L-Citrulline 6.5g, Beta Power Betaine Extract 2g, Carnosyn Beta-Alanine 1.6g, Patented Creatine HCI 1.5g, coconut water powder 500mg, PurCaf Organic Caffeine 274mg, and Spectra antioxidants 100mg.

Cellucor C4 Sport – Best Tasting

What we like

  • Tested and trusted by 3rd parties; NSF Certified for Sport
  • Contains zero sugar, and zero calories
  • Ideal for individuals with mild to intermediate stimulant levels (135mg caffeine)
  • Immediate burst of energy upon consumption
  • Dissolves well in hot and cold water with no floating clumps

What we don’t like

  • Slight tingling sensation
  • Adrenaline kick may be too much for novice lifters

Through our research, there is one major positive note on the Cellulor C4 Sports – it tastes amazing. It may have limited flavors in its roster but nevertheless leaves your tastebuds with a taste too good to be true while kicking your gym energy and endurance up a notch. The flavors include Watermelon, Arctic Snow Cone, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Mango, and Strawberry Lemonade.

From novice to pro lifters, you will love how the Cellulor C4 Sport Pre Workouts has nitrogen-containing compounds that accelerate building lean muscle, maximizing performance, and increasing strength in all athletes.

Its Beta-Alanine component promotes muscle endurance, reduces muscles swell, and speeds up muscle recovery. Meanwhile, the micronized creatine monohydrate provides critical support for muscle energy production during intense exercises to aid in athletic performance. The CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine also supports muscular endurance.

For the perfect formula, mix 1 scoop in 6-8 oz water 20 to 30 minutes before your actual workout.

Universal Nutrition Animal Pump – Best Pill Form

What we like

  • Customizable pre-workout in pill form
  • Supplement that fits in your pocket
  • No powder, no clumping, no mess
  • Contains proper dose of components in pre-workout for pumps

What we don’t like

  • No disclosure of which pills contain what ingredients
  • Nine pills to be consumed all at once

Pre-workout supplements often come in powder form. Contrary to this, Universal Nutrition Animal Pump provides unique pre-workouts in pill form. Every tub contains a powerful pump complex, stimulant complex, and Nitric Oxide complex.

Universal Nutrition has been the leading name for the highest level of professional bodybuilders for 30 years. You can’t go wrong with any of their products, especially their pump pre-workout, in aiding you to be the Beast in the gym you were always meant to be.

For every set of pills you take, expect to gain sharp mental focus and cell volumizer for intent pumps, increasing blood flow, and proper protein synthesis for your speedy muscle recovery. With no messy powder to mind during the preparation, you can simply “grab and go” the Universal Nutrition Animal Pump.

This serves as a complete pump pre-workout with added energy, focus, and ergogenic factors so you can hit PRs smoothly, lift with calm intention, and leave the gym satisfied with your work. Lastly, this pre-workout comes in a customizable pack. For stim-free pre-workout, simply take out the red pill, and you are good to go.

ProSupps Dr. Jekyll Signature Pre Workout – Best Stims Free Pre Workout

What we like

  • Perfect for night and daytime use without caffeine
  • “Informed Choice” Certified, banned substance tested
  • Zero sugar, zero carbs, zero calories, gluten-free, caffeine-free, stim-free
  • No proprietary blends

What we don’t like

  • Strong tartness in some flavors
  • Gives off a slight itch a couple of minutes upon consumption

If you want a completely stimulant-free pre-workout that works effectively no less, then the ProSupps Dr. Jekyll Signaturee Pre Workout is made for you. With no caffeine and stimulant components in place, this well-rounded pre-workout puts emphasis on maximizing pumps and training output with a cognitive drive matrix. As a result, this effectively increases training intensity without the jitters.

It contains 1.6g Beta-Alanine that prolongs training endurance, delays the onset of muscle fatigue, and increases power output while hastening recovery. Meanwhile, it has a 1.5g Creatine Hydrochloride that enhances muscle growth and power output, increases training adaptation, and also increases the work capacity of the skeletal muscles.

Aside from its 3.9g performance matrix, this stim-free pre-workout also contains 800mg of nooLVL, which properly increases blood flow for pumps and vascularity. In return, it improves muscle pump-nutrient delivery, as well as muscle endurance.

Final Verdict

Staying in focus and to stabilize the mind-body connection to complete the desired workout can be challenging. This goes especially if you have limited time to do the grind and you want to maximize your performance. That’s when pre-workouts come useful.

The best pre-workout must have safe ingredients, delivers what it promises, and helps you carry over up to your last rep with the pump and muscle endurance you need. The Gorilla Mode Pre Workout Formula is a five-star mix that is formulated with 12 active ingredients such as L-Citrulline and GlycerPump that effectively increases the anaerobic power and keeps you focus in your performance. Combined with other ingredients at safe levels, it gives you a nitrogen surge that promotes blood flow, improves performance, and fast-track recovery. And the flavors are lip-smackingly good!

Buying Guide: What To Look For in a Pre Workout Supplement For Pump

Transparency of Ingredients

You may have come across claims that this or that brand has no proprietary blend. What exactly is it? In a nutshell, a proprietary blend is the collection of ingredients unique to a particular product. This also goes by the label “complex,” “matrix,” or “proprietary formulation.” Huge supplement companies may label some ingredients as such for non-disclosure.

If you think about it, pre-workout for pump with proprietary blend labels is quite sketchy since there’s no full disclosure of ingredients, thus making it hard to gauge your progress. This doesn’t necessarily disqualify an excellent product, but it definitely lacks transparency.

Value for Money

Value varies per consumer. The best way to know if certain pre-workout supplements give the best bang for the buck is to study the ingredients vis-a-vis their given doses and counter-check it with the price per ounce.

Dosage

It’s easy to overlook this component and just stick with the bare necessities. But dosage should, in fact, be a part of the basics when researching pump pre-workout. You could have the right ingredient but the wrong dosage. Thus, these two variables should go hand-in-hand in search of the best pre-workouts for you.

Here’s a quick overview of the common ingredients found in pre-workout formulas, the proper corresponding dose, and the benefits.

IngredientRecommended DoseBenefits
Caffeine80mg to 350mgAlertness, endurance, power output
Creatine5g to 10g

* Take every day or most days in a week for best results
Power output, anaerobic capacity, reduced fatigue
Beta-Alanine1.6g to 3.2gEndurance, cardio, better strength with higher reps
Citrulline5gBlood flow circulation, performance
Betaine Anhydrous1.5g to 6gPower output, muscle endurance, post-exercise cortisol
Taurine1g to 2gFocus (best paired with caffeine), enhanced recovery, reduces or prevents muscle cramps
Tyrosine5gFocus, stress-reducing, produces adrenaline and dopamine 

Each component has their respective benefits, depending on when you take them and how much you consume. 

For instance, if you’re trying to stir clear from caffeine or stims in general, there are pre-workouts for pumps with zero caffeine or stims. Some rely on nootropics (substances that boost brain performance) minus the caffeine component.

Another example is that Creatine is best for individuals who work out every day or most days of the week. Otherwise, you can reap the benefit in accordance with your workout. Beta-Alanine is known to cause a tingling sensation on the skin.

Testing

Third-party companies such as Informed Choice, Informed-Sport, and NSF test pre-workout ingredients for banned components or proprietary blends. These are also the giant companies that test athletes for competitions as a part of game qualifications. If you’re strict about taking pre-workouts, make sure to purchase pump supplements that have been 3rd party tested.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pump pre-workout contains these common ingredients: 

  • Caffeine
  • Creatine
  • Beta-Alanine
  • Citrulline
  • Betaine Anhydrous
  • Taurine
  • Tyrosine

Make sure to know the right dose per ingredient to reap the most benefit from the pre-workout supplement.

Effective pre-workout depends on every person. To achieve the best results, eat a proper diet, stay active throughout the day, hydrate properly, and avoid too much rest. Keep moving to get the most benefits from your pre-workouts for pump.

Pump pre-workout is best consumed 30 to 40 minutes before working out.

A vital component of a pre-workout, nitric oxide booster increase blood flows into the blood vessels. This makes the muscles swell, which results in muscle pumps, depending on the muscles worked.

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