3 Best Pre-Workouts for Powerlifting in 2024

Author: Oleksandr Maksymenko  (Certified Sports Nutritionist, MSc)

Powerlifting is a strength-based sport requiring maximal efforts in the squat, deadlift, and bench press. Pre-workouts containing a good mix of evidence-based ingredients may help to improve your workouts and therefore your powerlifting performance.

In this article, we’ll review the best pre workout for powerlifting below according to the most important factors you should be looking at.

 In a hurry? 

In a hurry?

In a hurry and can’t keep reading? How about you check out the Transparent Labs Bulk Black.


Transparent Labs Bulk pre-workout is a robust choice tailored for intense powerlifting workouts, offering transparency through detailed labeling, avoiding artificial additives, and providing a blend of effective, evidence-based ingredients to enhance focus and energy.

Best Pre-Workouts for Powerlifting

Top 3 Pre-Workouts for Powerlifting Reviewed

ProductTotalIngredient BreakdownStimulationTaste/
Flavor
Nutrition Label TransparencyPrice/
Quality
Transparent Labs48.59.59.59.51010
Legion Pulse479109.59.59
Jacked Factory46.51010899.5
Transparent Labs Bulk Black

  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Training Volume, Reducing Fatigue, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavors: Cherry Kiwi, Blue Raspberry, Peach Mango, Sour Gummy, Black Cherry
  • Caffeine (mg)275 mg (Caffeine Anhydrous), 30 mg (DiCaffeine Malate)
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-alanine, Citrulline Malate, Betaine
  • Serving Size: 21 grams
  • Servings per Container: 30
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.83
  • Company Founded: 2015
  • Recommended by AthletesHathor Bjornsson, Paul Skylar, Inayah Najahh

The Transparent Labs Bulk pre-workout uses a potent mixture of evidence-based ingredients to give you a pre-working well-suited to heavy powerlifting activities. It’s one of the strongest pre-workouts available and takes our top spot as the best pre workout supplement for powerlifting.

As you can tell by the name, Transparent Labs operates with full transparency, providing detailed labeling which lists the quantity and form of each ingredient. It’s free from artificial colors and flavors.

The bulk pre-workout contains 17 ingredients, with four of the most effective and evidence-based ones included in efficacious amounts.

Each scoop contains 275 mg caffeine anhydrous and 30 mg di-caffeine malate which is high above the suggested 200 mg amount. For powerlifting, this should give you the increased focus and energy needed but make sure to take care if you aren’t used to a caffeine dose this high.

Transparent Labs Bulk Black instagram

Beta-alanine is also well-dosed at 4 grams which is in the suggested serving range of 3.2-6.4 grams used in studied. With this dose, you’re likely to experience some tingling if you’re not used to it. However, for powerlifting, the tingling feeling may be a wanted benefit.

Other evidence-based ingredients include 8 grams of citrulline malate and 4 grams of betaine, both above the recommended dosages.

Transparent Labs offer the Bulk pre-workout in five flavors, with 30 servings in each container that cost ~$1.83 each.

48.5Expert Score

Transparent Labs' Bulk Black boasts powerful ingredients including caffeine, di-caffeine malate, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and betaine, potentially enhancing energy and focus for powerlifting, with consideration required for caffeine sensitivity.

Ingredients Breakdown:
9.5
Stimulation:
9.5
Taste/Flavor:
9.5
Nutrition Label Transparency:
10
Price/ Quality:
10

Positives:

  • Scientifically backed components in efficacious amounts

  • High dose of caffeine for high stimulation

  • No artificial colors or flavors

  • Fully transparent ingredient list

  • Smallest price per saving

Could be better:

  • A high dose of beta-alanine can cause tingling sensations

2. Legion Athletics Pulse – Runner-Up

Legion Athletics Pulse

  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Training Volume, Reducing Fatigue, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavors: Pina Colada, Rainbow Sherbet, Fruit Punch, Blue Raspberry, Apple Cider, Arctic Blast, Blood Orange, Blueberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Frosted Cranberry, Grape, Green Apple, Mojito, Peach Ring, Sour Candy, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi, Strawberry Margarita, Tropical Punch, Watermelon
  • Caffeine (mg): 350 mg
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-alanine, Citrulline Malate, Betaine
  • Serving Size: 23.5 grams
  • Servings per Container: 20
  • Price per Serving: ~$2.25
  • Company Founded: 2013
  • Recommended by AthletesBrendon Wharton, Sue B, Chris Barakat

It’s a 100% nature-based pre-workout that’s free from added sugar, food dyes, and chemicals. With 20 exciting flavors to choose from, Pulse has an option for everyone’s taste buds.

With 350 mg of caffeine anhydrous in each serving, the Legion Athletics Pulse pre-workout isn’t for the faint-hearted. Although Legion Athletics has included 350 mg of l-theanine alongside it which has been suggested to give a more sustained stimulant release and reduce the possibility of a crash, be sure to take care with a dosage this high and make sure you can handle lower amounts first.

The Pulse pre-workout contains three other key ingredients that make it well-suited for high-effort powerlifting activities. Beta-alanine is dosed at 3.6 grams which is above the recommended daily dose to improve work capacity. L-citrulline, a nitric oxide (NO) precursor, is included as 8 grams of citrulline malate. This is 2 grams about the recommended dose shown in studies to improve muscular endurance and strength through improved blood and oxygen delivery to the muscles.

Legion Athletics Pulse instagram

Photo by @bajheerawow

Whilst research is still ongoing, it’s worth mentioning that 2.5 grams of betaine is included which is on the high side of the recommended dose suggested to improve power output.

Legion Athletics gives you the option to purchase the Pulse pre-workout with or without caffeine which is good if you don't always want caffeine before lifting. Each ingredient has also been tested for purity with the Labdoor certification on the front. Each tub contains 20 servings that cost ~$2.25 each.

47Expert Score

Legion Athletics' Pulse pre-workout features 20 flavors, a natural formula without additives, and essential ingredients for powerlifting, while offering caffeine-free options and Labdoor certification.

Ingredients Breakdown:
9
Stimulation:
10
Taste/Flavor:
9.5
Nutrition Label Transparency:
9.5
Price/ Quality:
9

Positives:

  • Huge dose of caffeine softened with l-theanine

  • Natural sweeteners, colors, and flavors

  • Labdoor tested for purity

  • Can purchase with or without caffeine

  • Large flavor range

Could be better:

  • Quite expensive per serving

  • No creatine

  • A high dose of beta-alanine can cause tingling sensations

3. Jacked Factory ALTIUS – High-Stim With Creatine

Jacked Factory ALTIUS

  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: High-intensity Exercise Performance, Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Training Volume, Reducing Fatigue, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavors: Mixed Berry
  • Caffeine (mg): 325 mg
  • Special Ingredients: Creatine Monohydrate, Beta-alanine, Citrulline Malate, Betaine
  • Serving Size: 20.4 grams
  • Servings per Container: 20
  • Price per Serving: ~$2.25
  • Company Founded: 2015
  • Recommended by AthletesBhuwan Chauhan, Morgan MacDonald, Maddy Barry

The Jacked Factory ALTIUS pre-workout gets the award for the best high-stimulation pre-workout with creatine. With a mix of five evidence-based ingredients in efficacious amounts, it's a pre-workout that packs quite a punch.

Caffeine anhydrous is the main active ingredient that’s effectively dosed at 325 mg. If you have a good tolerance for caffeine, this should be a good amount to maximize your concentration and energy levels before lifting.

Unlike my other pre-workout choices, Jacked Factory has included 3 grams of creatine monohydrate which is well-documented to improve muscle strength and performance. The dosage is at the minimum end of the effective daily dose meaning you’ll need to take the pre-workout daily or supplement with additional creatine to see the desired effect.

The three other evidence-based ingredients included are beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and betaine. Beta-alanine is dosed at 3.2 grams which is above the recommended daily dose and as we have already mentioned will most likely lead to skin tingling for a short period of time. Betaine is at the high end of the recommended dose at 2.5 grams with possible beneficial effects on power output and endurance according to some research.

Citrulline malate is effectively dosed at 8 grams which is above the amount shown to be effective in research to improve blood flow and oxygen to the working muscles.

Jacked Factory has used natural sweeteners and flavors for the mixed berry taste, producing the pre-workout drink for powerlifting in a cGMP facility in America. Two things to note are that the ALTIUS pre-workout only comes in a mixed berry flavor and has a high price per serving at ~$2.25. However, with the ingredient doses included this is hardly surprising. 

46.5Expert Score

Jacked Factory's ALTIUS pre-workout provides high-stimulation and creatine, featuring key ingredients like caffeine anhydrous, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and betaine, targeting energy, strength, and power.

Ingredients Breakdown:
10
Stimulation:
10
Taste/Flavor:
8
Nutrition Label Transparency:
9
Price/ Quality:
9.5

Positives:

  • Five evidence-based ingredients included in efficacious amounts

  • High dose of caffeine for high stimulation

  • Natural flavors and sweeteners

  • Manufactured in the USA in cGMP facility

  • 3g of Creatine monohydrate

Could be better:

  • High cost per serving

  • Just one flavor available

  • A high dose of beta-alanine can cause tingling sensations

How Do Pre-Workouts Help in Powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a strength sport where the aim is to lift the most weight possible in the three big compound movements - the squat, deadlift, and bench press.

Doing this successfully requires muscular strength, endurance, good technique, and the correct focus, all of which can be improved by some of the compounds commonly seen in pre-workouts.

Some of the benefits of taking a pre-workout before powerlifting include:

✅ Increased Energy and Concentration 

Caffeine is one of the most widely researched compounds in the world, with well-known beneficial effects on concentration and energy levels. With powerlifting requiring both of these, pre-workouts containing caffeine can lead to improvements in performance.

L-citrulline may also lead to improvements in energy by facilitating more blood flow and oxygen to the working muscles.

✅ Improved Muscular Strength

If you’re looking for improvements in strength, supplementing with creatine is the way to go. Powerlifting predominantly uses the ATP-PC system, with creatine providing the phosphocreatine needed to power it.

Betaine is another compound with promising research showing improvements in power output with the correct dosage.

✅ Improved Work Capacity

Beta-alanine works by buffering the build-up of acid by-products during high-intensity exercise, improving work capacity and therefore performance.

athlete powerlifting workout

How to Choose the Best Pre-Workout for Powerlifting?

Here’s the key factors to consider before buying a suitable pre-workout for powerlifting.

1. Evidence-Based Ingredients

Look for the key evidence-based ingredients on the pre-workout label. These include caffeine, beta-alanine and creatine (preferably monohydrate) which all have research showing beneficial effects on key aspects of powerlifting performance.

Other ingredients to look out for include l-citrulline (also included as citrulline malate) and betaine.

2. Efficacious Doses

Make sure the key ingredients are included in evidence-based doses. Here’s the amounts to look out for:

Caffeine: 200 mg. Can be increased if well tolerated, decaffeinated options are also available

Creatine: 3-5 grams (accumulative effect so pre-workout dose doesn’t matter as long as the daily amount is hit)

Beta-alanine: 1.2-1.6 grams (Maintenance dose to limit tingling and possible GI distress)

L-Citrulline: 3 grams

Citrulline Malate: 6 grams

Betaine: 1.25-2.5 grams

3. Third-Party Testing

This means that each pre-workout ingredient has been tested for purity, with a third-party lab certifying the pre-workout as being free from banned substances.

If you’re an athlete who competes in tested events or someone who wants to make sure each ingredient is pure, look for a certification on the tub.

powerlifting training

4. Flavor Choices

Whilst this may be subjective, choosing a pre-workout with multiple flavors allows you to switch things up and try out new ones when you get bored.

Check the user reviews to see if a particular flavor has an issue or if one flavor is much more popular than the others.

If you prefer only natural ingredients, you should examine the composition for artificial substances.

5. Value for Money

Due to the higher ingredient doses, the cost of powerlifting pre-workouts is slightly above normal ones. Divide the total cost by the number of servings to work out the cost per serving and compare it to the ingredients offered.

man powerlifting in gym

How to Use Pre-Workouts Before Powerlifting Training?

If you’re going to take a pre-workout before powerlifting, make sure it’s 30-60 minutes prior to training or competition. Mix with cold water and shake until the powder is dissolved.

Don’t consume it right before lifting as this can increase the chances of GI comfort. You also don’t give the ingredients enough time to absorb and start taking effect.

FAQ

Does Pre-Workout Increase Strength?

Pre-workouts contain a mix of evidence based ingredients which may lead to improvements in strength and performance. Commonly included ingredients with proven research that may improve strength include caffeine and creatine. Betaine may also improve strength but this hasn’t been fully proven yet. 

Can You Take Pre-Workout Before Powerlifting?

As the name suggests, pre-workouts should be taken before powerlifting. Consume the pre-workout 30-60 minutes before exercise for the best results.

Conclusion

Taking a pre-workout containing a good mixture of evidence based ingredients before powerlifting may help to improve performance. Ingredients to look out for include caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and possibly l-citrulline and betaine.

Out of my three choices, the Transparent Labs Bulk pre-workout is our top pick to take before powerlifting. It contains a good mix of evidence-based ingredients in good quantities and comes from a company that operates with full transparency.

Do you take a pre workout before powerlifting? Does it help? Let’s take more about this in the comment below.

Also read:

References:

  • F. L. Dodd "A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood" Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015; 232(14): 2563–2576.
  • "LABDOOR CERTIFICATIONS" LABDOOR  https://labdoor.com/ enterprise/certifications (accessed August 28, 2023).
  • Shih-Hao Wu "Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021" Nutrients. 2022 Mar; 14(6): 1255.
  • Hamid Arazi "Effects of short-term betaine supplementation on muscle endurance and indices of endocrine function following acute high-intensity resistance exercise in young athletes" Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 22 Mar 2022
  • "Facts About the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP)" FDA 05/31/2023
  • Nanci S Guest "International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance" J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2021 Jan 2;18(1):1
  • Kent Sahlin "Muscle Energetics During Explosive Activities and Potential Effects of Nutrition and Training" Sports Med. 2014; 44(Suppl 2): 167–173.
  • Jay R Hoffman "Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue" J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009; 6: 7.
  • Julie Y. Culbertson "Effects of Beta-Alanine on Muscle Carnosine and Exercise Performance:A Review of the Current Literature" Nutrients. 2010 Jan; 2(1): 75–98.

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Transparent Labs Bulk Black

Oleksandr Maksymenko

Sports Nutritionist, MSc

Experience: 7 years

Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition

Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist, certified by FPA (Fitness Professional Association). Oleksandr adheres to the principles of evidence-based dietetics and instills in his clients a healthy relationship with food - without strict prohibitions on favorite foods and regular disruptions. His main task – not only get a result for you, but also maintain it for many years, enjoying tasty and delicious food.


If you have any questions/suggestions/any other inquiry, you can reach out to us via email - reviews@torokhtiy.com

This article was written by our qualified author and proofread by an expert with proven experience. When writing the article we've used our expertise and data from authoritative, scientific, and evidence-based sources. The list of references is provided at the end of the article.


Our team of authors and experts includes professional athletes (Olympians, winners of European and World titles), PhDs in Sports Science, certified coaches, sports nutritionists, CSCSs, physiotherapists, and others. Read more about the team here, and more about how we test here.

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