Reviews Pre-Workout Supplements

9 Best Pump Pre-Workouts in 2024

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There’s nothing better than a good pump.

When the blood flows to your muscles during a tough workout, you look jacked, and you feel amazing. Luckily, there are supplements that can help you get even better pumps every time you hit the gym. In this article, we’ll be covering the 9 best pump pre-workout supplements on the market.

12 experts (certified nutritionists, professional nutritionists, conditioning experts, professional athletes) were involved in the reviewing and testing of 19 different branded pump pre-workout products.

All the tested pre-workouts were scored on the following categories: ingredients breakdown, stimulation, taste/flavor, nutrition label transparency, and value for money.

After over 200 hours invested our team was able to deliver the 9 best pump pre-workouts. We are also dedicated to continuously updating this list as new products appear.

Are you wondering what pre-workout gives the best pump? Then keep reading to find out which supplements will maximize your pumps.

Best Pump Pre-Workouts

Top 9 Best Pump Pre-Workouts Reviewed

  1. Pulse Natural – Top Pick
  2. Pre-Workout Elite Kaged® – Runner-Up
  3. BULK by Transparent Labs
  4. Jacked Factory ALTIUS – Clinically Effective Dosed
  5. Pre JYM
  6. Pump Serum – Enriched with Pomegranate Extract
  7. Myprotein the Pre-Workout – Budget Pick
  8. Pump by Transparent Labs
  9. NO3 Ultimate – Best Non-Stim
ProductTotalIngredients
Breakdown
StimulationTaste/
Flavor
Nutrition Label
Transparency
Price/
Quality
Legion49101010109
Pre-Kaged®4910109.5109.5
Transparent Labs
BULK
4810910109
Jacked Factory46.5101099.58
Pre JYM4699.5108.59
Huge45.58810109.5
MyProtein4598.5999.5
Transparent Labs
PUMP
44.58.588.5109.5
Cellucor®42.588998.5
TOP PICK

1. Pulse Natural

Pulse Natural
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Pina Colada, Rainbow Sherbet, Fruit Punch, Strawberry Kiwi, Blue Raspberry, Apple Cider, Arctic Blast, Blood Orange, Blueberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Frosted Cranberry, Grape, Green Apple, Mojito, Pink Lemonade, Sour Candy, Strawberry Margarita, Tropical Punch, Watermelon, Peach Ring
  • Caffeine: 350mg
  • Special Ingredients: Betaine, Beta-Alanine, Citrulline Malate
  • Package Size: 1.04lbs
  • Serving: 23.5g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$2.25
  • Company Founded: 2014
  • Recommended by AthletesGage ClarkGrant Tinsley

Starting off our list is Legion with their Pulse pre-workout. As you may already know, Legion is one of the most consistently high quality supplement brands out there, so it should be no surprise that they’re featured at the top of our list. So, what about this product makes it one of the best pre-workout for pumps?

First, this is a great choice for someone looking for a very strong pre-workout. With 350mg of caffeine per serving. This makes it a great pre-workout for pump and energy. However, Legion also offers Pulse in a stim-free option, making it a great choice for those seeking a decaf pre-workout as well.

Comparing its other main active ingredients with Transparent Labs, it has similar levels of beta-alanine at 3.6g, and betaine at 2.5g.

Pulse Natural instagram
Photo by @devcfit_

In terms of citrulline malate, which we’re focusing on for its pump-related properties, Pulse has the same amount as Transparent Labs at 8g. Such a solid dose ensures that Pulse will give you a great pump with every use.

Pulse takes the cake for easily having the most flavors on our list. In fact, it has more than double the amount of options compared to any other product on our list with 20 flavors to choose from! On top of this, Pulse is made with 100% natural ingredients, so you can be confident these flavors aren’t being derived from artificial components.

Finally, while Pulse is clearly a great all-around supplement, its one downside is its price. At ~$2.25 per serving, it is one of the most expensive products on our list. However, you can be confident you’re getting a great product for this price.

49 EXPERT SCORE

Legion’s Pulse pre-workout offers potent energy and pump effects with substantial doses of caffeine, beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline malate, available in multiple natural flavors, albeit at a higher cost.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • High citrulline malate content for great pumps
  • Highest caffeine content on our list
  • Most flavor variety by far

Could be better:

  • High caffeine content won’t be suitable for everybody
  • Large dose of beta-alanine may cause a tingling sensation
  • High price point
Runner-Up

2. Pre-Workout Elite Kaged®

Pre-Workout Elite Kaged®
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Orange Mango, Glacier Grape, Fruit Punch, Caribbean Sunrise
  • Caffeine: 388mg
  • Special Ingredients: L-Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, Creatine
  • Package Size: 720g
  • Serving: 36g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$3.00
  • Company Founded: 2015
  • Recommended by AthletesAndrea SomerColt NicholsKris Gethin

Next on our list we have Pre-Kaged, which is Kaged’s Elite pre-workout, and another one of the top pre-workouts for pumps. Let’s see how it’s able to compare to the top one.

At 388mg of caffeine per serving this is the highest caffeine content on the list. To be honest the only reason why this is not no. 1 supplement on our list is because of its price which is quite high (justified tho) and that high caffeine content. It offers great stimulation but if you’re sensitive to caffeine or had a coffee(s) short before that… 

It might not be the best option. The rest looks absolutely awesome - 10g of Citrulline is just great and can make a difference as Citrulline works better with higher doses. 5g of Creatine, 3.2g of Beta-alanine is how it should be - if you have your pre-workout, you basically can skip taking creatine and beta-alanine that day (they need to be taken daily).

Pre-Workout Elite Kaged® instagram
Photo by @kaged

On top of it, if that is still not satisfying - 2.5g Betaine and 1.5 LCLT which can help you with your workout but also with recovery.

Not enough focus for you… 300mg of Alpha-GPC works really well for some folks (I’m one of them).

Last but not least - electrolytes in higher than usually seen doses, plus vit. B complex with a nice form of vit. B12.

So again… Great product, the pump should be there without question, without banned substances which is important, vegan friendly and great flavor… What else do we want?

The only downsides you should be aware of are its 3$ per serving (big serving tho!) and high caffeine content (not best for some folks)

49 EXPERT SCORE

Pre-Workout Elite Kaged® offers potent stimulation and comprehensive performance enhancement with carefully balanced ingredients, though its premium price and high caffeine content may not suit everyone.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Very high L-Citrulline content at 10g
  • Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Betaine - all in great doses
  • Extra vit. B complex plus electrolytes
  • Alpha-GPC and LCLT is a nice addition

Could be better:

  • High price point
  • Really high dose of Caffeine (although for some it might be a pro)

3. BULK by Transparent Labs

BULK by Transparent Labs
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Strawberry Kiwi, Pina Colada, Blue Raspberry, Black Cherry, Peach Mango, Tropical Punch, Sour Grape
  • Caffeine: 200mg
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, Betaine, Citrulline Malate
  • Package Size: 1.35lbs
  • Serving: 20.5g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$1.67
  • Company Founded: 2012
  • Recommended by AthletesHafthor BjornssonPaul SklarSean Harris

Next up on our list is Transparent Labs with their Bulk pre-workout. Similar to Legion, Transparent Labs has become increasingly popular for their high-quality, science-backed products. Let’s see how their Transparent pre-workout compares to Legion's Pulse, and if it’s on par with the best pre-workout for pump and vascularity.

Overall, this is one of the most balanced Pump pre-workouts available on the market. With 200mg of caffeine in each serving, which will give you a solid boost of energy without being too much.

Featuring 4g of beta-alanine, 2.5g of betaine, and 8g of citrulline malate, it has most of the active ingredients you should be looking for in a pre-workout.

While beta-alanine and betaine both play important roles in improving performance (increasing power, and endurance etc.), the main ingredient of interest when it comes to better pumps is citrulline.

This is because citrulline is a vasodilator, which improves blood flow leading to better pumps. With 8g of citrulline malate in each serving, Transparent Labs offers a solid dose of this key ingredient, which should greatly improve your pumps.

Transparent Labs also comes in a wide variety of 7 flavors. It is also one of the more affordable pre-workouts on our list at around $1.67 per serving.

Also, like all of Transparent Labs products, it’s formulated with no artificial ingredients whatsoever. It contains high doses of all its active ingredients, a solid amount of caffeine, as well as a good assortment of flavors, a budget-friendly price, and an all-natural formula.

Overall, it’s tough to find anything too bad about Transparent Labs Bulk pre-workout.

48 EXPERT SCORE

Transparent Labs' Bulk pre-workout, with key ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline malate, making it an excellent option for maximizing your exercise routine.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • High dose of Citrulline malate is great for pumps
  • Solid doses of all it’s other active ingredients
  • Good moderate dose of caffeine
  • No artificial ingredients

Could be better:

  • Experienced athletes may be looking for a pre-workout with more caffeine
  • Large dose of beta-alanine may cause a tingling sensation
  • Contains several largely unnecessary ingredients (ie. L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC)
Clinically Effective Dosed

4. Jacked Factory ALTIUS

Jacked Factory ALTIUS
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Mixed Berry
  • Caffeine: 325mg
  • Special Ingredients: Citrulline Malate, Betaine, Creatine, Beta-Alanine
  • Package Size: 408g
  • Serving: 20.4g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$2.25
  • Company Founded: 2006
  • Recommended by AthletesMorgan MacMike OliverBhuwan Chauhan

Next on our list we have the Altius pre-workout from Jacked Factory. Similar to the previous products on our list, this is a great all-around pre-workout for pumps, but how does it compare on the specifics?

In terms of caffeine, this is one of the stronger options on our list, just having slightly less caffeine than Legion at 325mg per serving. Although this dose will be perfect for some, it will likely be too strong for a beginner first trying pre-workout.

This product has all of the main ingredients we’re focusing on including 3.2g of beta-alanine, 2.5g of betaine, and 3g of creatine. It has solid doses of each of these, especially creatine, falling towards the low end of the recommended daily amount.

Of course, we can’t forget about citrulline. At 8g of citrulline malate per serving, it has the same amount of this key pumping ingredient as Transparent Labs and Legion.

One main downside here is the variety in flavors. Jacked Factory only comes in one flavor: mixed berry. This is especially low when you compare it with a product like Legion which has 20 flavors to choose from.

This product has a similarly high price point to the previous 2 products on our list at ~$2.25 per serving. One upside, however, is that Jacked Factory’s formula is made with all natural ingredients.

46.5 EXPERT SCORE

Jacked Factory Altius provides a potent pre-workout option with robust caffeine content, key ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, creatine, and citrulline malate for effective pumps, albeit limited flavor variety and a relatively high price point.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Solid dose of citrulline malate
  • High creatine content
  • Some of the highest caffeine content on our list

Could be better:

  • High price point
  • Caffeine dosage is not for beginners
  • High dose of beta-alanine may cause a tingling sensation
  • Only one flavor to choose from

5. Pre JYM

Pre JYM Pre-Workout
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Raspberry Lemonade, Rainbow Sherbet, Grape Candy, Cherry Limeade, Orange Mango, Tangerine, Pink Lemonade, Pineapple Strawberry, Black Cherry, Strawberry Kiwi
  • Caffeine: 300mg
  • Special Ingredients: Citrulline Malate, Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Betaine
  • Package Size: 1.65lbs
  • Serving: 25g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$2.10
  • Company Founded: 2013
  • Recommended by AthletesJim StoppaniBreanna CortezIsaiah Miranda

Next on our list, and another great pre-workout for muscle pumps is Pre Jym from Jym supplements. Let’s see how this product is able to compare with the first 4 pre-workouts we’ve covered so far.

Pre Jym has one of the higher caffeine contents on our list so far with a solid 300mg per serving. This will be a solid high dose suitable for most experienced pre-workout users.

For its active ingredients, Pre Jym has a solid 2g of creatine, 2g of beta-alanine, and 1.5g of betaine. Although most of the supplements already covered on our list feature higher doses of these ingredients, these are still completely acceptable doses.

Pre JYM Pre-Workout instagram
Photo by @jimstoppani

For the citrulline content, Pre Jym also has a decent, albeit slightly low dose of 6g of citrulline malate. While this isn’t too low of a dose, it is easily the lowest amount of the ingredient featured on our list so far. If you’re looking to specifically maximize your pumps, you may want to prioritize higher citrulline content.

This is also the first supplement on our list to feature beet root extract, which similar to citrulline, may have vasodilating properties. However, current studies suggest that this ingredient likely won’t make much of a difference in your performance or your pumps.

Also, with 7 different flavors to choose from, Pre Jym has a solid amount of variety, similar to Transparent Labs. While its price point of ~$2.10 is decently high, it’s certainly not the most expensive product on our list. All in all, this is a great pre-workout, but its main downside is having slightly lower doses than the products at the top of our list.

46 EXPERT SCORE

Pre Jym by Jym Supplements provides a solid pre-workout option with notable caffeine content, essential ingredients, decent citrulline dose, variety of flavors, and reasonable price.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Solid caffeine content
  • Good doses of beta-alanine, creatine, and betaine
  • Solid variety in flavors

Could be better:

  • Rather expensive
  • Caffeine dosage is not for beginners
  • Could have a higher citrulline content to maximize pumps
With Pomegranate Extract

6. Pump Serum

Pump Serum Pre-Workout
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Jungle Juice, Cherry Berry, Strawberry Mojito, Island Dream
  • Caffeine: 0mg
  • Special Ingredients: Betaine, L-Citrulline
  • Package Size: 1.37lbs
  • Serving: 15.5g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$1.36
  • Company Founded: 2019
  • Recommended by AthletesMatt GreggoTren TwinsMax Taylor

Next on our list is the first fully decaffeinated pre-workout we’re featuring. Let’s take a closer look at Pump Serum from Huge, which is one of the most popular supplement brands on the market.

As mentioned above, this is the first fully non-stim pre-workout on our list, making this a great low-stim high-pump pre-workout. While Legion and Kaged both offered their products in decaffeinated varieties, Huge’s Pump Serum is their signature non-stim pre-workout formula.

So, if you’re looking for hundreds of milligrams of caffeine in each serving, this isn’t the product for you. However, if you're caffeine sensitive or workout in the evening, it's the right match!

Pump Serum Pre-Workout instagram
Photo by @iamjuto

It’s tough to say that Huge is able to make up for the lack of caffeine with its active ingredients. While it does feature a decent dose of betaine at 1.5g, it doesn’t contain any beta-alanine or creatine.

Its dose of L-Citrulline isn’t especially high either with a dose of only 4g in each serving. For reference, this is roughly equivalent to 6g of citrulline malate, tying this product with Pre Jym for the lowest citrulline dose on our list so far.

One interesting feature to Huge’s product is its pomegranate extract. Pomegranate is a powerful antioxidant, meaning this ingredient will have many of the similar benefits as Kaged’s ORAC blend.

This product does come in a solid variety of 4 flavors. Also, coming at a very affordable price of around $1.36 per serving this is actually the cheapest product on our list. Keep in mind that this product does contain several artificial ingredients, which isn’t a major con, but is something you may want to keep in mind before making a purchase.

45.5 EXPERT SCORE

Pump Serum by Huge offers a caffeine-free pre-workout option with a focus on pumps, featuring betaine, L-Citrulline, and pomegranate extract, at a budget-friendly price point and a variety of flavors.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Cheapest product on our list
  • Pomegranate may provide some valuable health benefits
  • Some people may be seeking out a non-stim formula

Could be better:

  • Fairly low doses of all its active ingredients
  • Zero-stim formula won’t appeal to everybody
Budget Pick

7. Myprotein the Pre-Workout

Myprotein the Pre-Workout
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Lemonade, Peach Ring, Rocket Pop
  • Caffeine: 150mg
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, Betaine, Creatine
  • Package Size: 1.03lb
  • Serving: 15.6g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$1.50
  • Company Founded: 2004
  • Recommended by AthletesRob KearneyTom TrotterIsrael Adesanya

Next up on our list of high-pump pre-workouts is THE Pre-Workout from MyProtein. Although MyProtein is very well known for their wide range of protein powders, how does their pre-workout supplement compare with the other products on our list?

In terms of caffeine, this has the lowest dose out of all the caffeinated pre-workouts on our list. At only 150mg per serving, this will be good for pre-workout beginners, but more seasoned users may want a stronger formula.

The Pre-Workout does have solid doses of its active ingredients, with 2.5g of betaine, 2g of creatine, and 2g of beta-alanine. This gives it a good all around profile, which should give its users a solid boost in the gym.

Myprotein the Pre-Workout instagram
Photo by @hopesgroo

However, this product does have some of the lowest l-citrulline content on our list with only 4g in each serving. This is the same amount as Huge’s pump serum, and Pre Jym, placing it on the lower end of our list.

While you may expect this product to have a wide range of flavors based on how many choices you get with Myprotein’s protein supplements, there are only 3 options to choose from.

This is also one of the cheaper products on our list at only around $1.50 per serving. It’s also worth noting that the formula for MyProteins pre-workout is made with several artificial ingredients.

45 EXPERT SCORE

THE Pre-Workout from MyProtein offers a balanced formula with solid doses of key ingredients like betaine, creatine, and beta-alanine, albeit with lower citrulline content, at an affordable price point and a limited flavor selection.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Solid doses of beta-alanine, betaine, and creatine
  • Decent mild dose of caffeine will be perfect for beginners
  • Good value for money for a budget pick

Could be better:

  • Low dose of l-citrulline is not ideal for pumps
  • Low caffeine dose won’t be great for seasoned pre-workout users

8. PUMP by Transparent Labs

Transparent Labs PUMP
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Blue Raspberry, Strawberry Lemonade
  • Caffeine: 0mg
  • Special Ingredients: Citrulline Malate, Betaine
  • Package Size: 1.31lbs
  • Serving: 19.8g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$1.67
  • Company Founded: 2012
  • Recommended by AthletesHafthor BjornssonPaul SklarSean Harris

Next on our list we have the second product we’re featuring from Transparent Labs, this time it’s their zero-stim Pump pre-workout formula. With pump in the name, this product has to deliver great pumps right? Let’s find out!

First off, as we mentioned, this is a zero-stim pre-workout, so you’ll need to choose another product if you’re looking for a big hit of caffeine. However, this does make Pump suitable for pre-workout beginners, as well as caffeine sensitive individuals.

Pump’s formula is fairly similar to Bulk, although they’ve decided to omit beta-alanine for whatever reason. However, this product does have the same solid amount of betaine at 2.5g per serving.

Its citrulline malate content is also the same as Bulk with a solid 8g per serving. So, if you’re mainly looking for a citrulline supplement to boost your pumps, this will be a similar choice to Bulk minus the caffeine.

For whatever reason, Pump has significantly fewer flavors than Transparent Labs’ Bulk formula with only 2 to choose from. In terms of price, it is the exact same at around $1.67 per serving. Also, like Bulk, this is made with 100% natural ingredients.

44.5 EXPERT SCORE

Transparent Labs Pump is a stimulant-free pre-workout designed to enhance pumps, featuring betaine and ample citrulline malate, with an all-natural formula, similar pricing to their caffeinated Bulk pre-workout, but fewer flavor choices.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • High citrulline malate content
  • Non-stim option for beginners and caffeine-sensitive people
  • Made from all natural ingredients

Could be better:

  • No beta-alanine or creatine
  • No caffeine won’t appeal to everyone
Best Non-Stim

9. NO3 Ultimate

NO3 Ultimate instagram
  • Form: Powder
  • Best for: Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch
  • Caffeine: 0mg
  • Special Ingredients: L-Citrulline
  • Package Size: 210g
  • Serving: 10.7g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$2.00
  • Company Founded: 2002
  • Recommended by AthletesBrittany AnnScott MathisonDemi Bagby

Finally, closing off our list we have NO3 Ultimate from Cellucor, the makers of C4. Although Cellucor is much better known for their caffeinated pre-workout formula, let’s see how their non-stim variant stacks up.

As mentioned, this product is completely caffeine-free, similar to Huge, and Transparent Labs’ Pump. As a result, this will be best suited to caffeine sensitive individuals and pre-workout beginners.

This is the first product on our list to not feature any combination of beta-alanine, betaine, or creatine, making it one of the most barebones formulas on our list so far. If you’re looking for the benefits of these ingredients, you’ll want to try a different product.

Photo by @dndacademy

NO3 Ultimate does contain L-Citrulline, albeit at a fairly low dose of 4g per serving, which is one of the lowest doses on our list. It’s worth mentioning this is one of several supplements on our list to contain arginine.

We haven’t mentioned it for the other supplements because the effectiveness of arginine is debatable. However, it may be partially responsible for the positive results customers mention in their reviews for this product.

This product also only comes in 2 flavors, as well as being relatively expensive at $2.00 per serving. It also contains several artificial ingredients and dyes. While this is a decent pumping pre-workout for its L-Citrulline content, it’s far from the best option available.

42.5 EXPERT SCORE

Cellucor's NO3 Ultimate is a caffeine-free pre-workout featuring L-Citrulline, albeit at a relatively low dose, available in a few flavors, priced at $2.00 per serving, with artificial ingredients and dyes.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Zero-caffeine will appeal to some
  • Reviews do suggest an excellent pump
  • Use of arginine silicate may lead to better pumps alongside L-Citrulline

Could be better:

  • Very expensive for the product
  • No beta-alanine, betaine, or creatine
  • Fairly low L-Citrulline content

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Why Take Pre-Workout for Pumping?

The scientific name for a pump is Hyperemia, and it is many weightlifters favorite part of going to the gym. The satisfying feeling of blood rushing to your muscles makes you look fuller, and can give you an improved mind-muscle connection.

As a result, many lifters look for supplements to give them a better pump, which is where pre-workouts come in.

The key to getting a better pump is improving your blood flow, allowing more blood to rush to your muscles. This is primarily accomplished through the common pre-workout ingredient L-Citrulline, which we focused on in this list.

While other active pre-workout ingredients (beta-alanine, betaine, & creatine) play valuable roles in improving performance, they don’t contribute as much to pumps as L-Citrulline.

It’s worth noting that betaine has a similar (albeit a lower) nitric oxide elevating effect to L-Citrulline which will help your pumps as well, just not as significantly.

Creatine will also help your muscles hold more water, which will lead to a more pumped appearance. While all these ingredients are beneficial for pumps, we recommend prioritizing L-Citrulline if you’re looking to maximize your pumps with a pre-workout supplement.

It’s worth noting that achieving a better pump likely doesn’t have much correlation with overall performance or progress in the gym. With that being said, it’s still an incredibly satisfying feeling, so there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing getting a great pump when you hit the gym.

Just keep in mind that a great pump doesn’t necessarily mean you’re optimally growing muscle or getting any stronger.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy pre-workout

What Key Components Provide and Enhance Pumping Effect?

In this article, we primarily focused on L-Citrulline, as it’s the active ingredient that will provide the most noticeable pumping effect. However, the active ingredients beta-alanine, betaine, and creatine may provide some level of increased pump as well.

1. L-Citrulline

The reason we focused so heavily on L-Citrulline in this article is because it acts as a vasodilator. This essentially means it will increase blood flow, and when you’re working out, this is responsible for better pumps.

While L-Citrulline also appears to enhance performance and reduce soreness, its vasodilating properties are what’s responsible for the increased pump.

2. Beta-Alanine, Betaine, Creatine

These 3 ingredients along with L-Citrulline are the most useful active ingredients in a pre-workout formula for their science-backed results. 

Beta-alanine improves power output and reduces fatigue, but out of the 3 ingredients here has the least effect on pumps. Betaine increases total force production as well as endurance, as well as elevating levels of nitric oxide in the blood, which should create a more significant pumping effect.

Finally, creatine improves overall high intensity exercise performance, as well as helping the muscles hold more water, for a fuller, more pumped appearance.

While none of these ingredients will directly increase the pumping effect at the same level of l-citrulline, they will have some positive effects which will likely help give you a better pump.

ghd machine workout

How to Find the Best Pump Pre-Workout?

There are several factors you’ll want to consider before deciding on which pump pre-workout to purchase. Here they are covered in more detail.

1. L-Citrulline Content

The primary ingredient we focused on in this article is L-Citrulline because of its inherent pump-increasing properties. If you’re specifically looking for the best pump-booster possible, we recommend prioritizing L-Citrulline content when comparing products.

The range on our list is around 4-6g of L-Citrulline and 6-8g of Citrulline Malate. Products on the higher end of this range will likely deliver slightly better results in terms of pump.

2. Stimulation

Of course, when deciding on what pre-workout to buy, you should consider what stimulation level you’re looking for.

You may want intense stimulation in the >300mg range, or you may want to stick to the milder stimulation of a <200mg product. You may also prefer a completely stimulant-free option. Whatever you decide is right for you, be sure to double check the caffeine content before making a purchase.

athlete jumping with a rope

3. Other Active Ingredients

While L-Citrulline is the star ingredient for helping get better pumps, don’t forget about the other active ingredients in pre-workout. These primarily include beta-alanine, betaine, and creatine.

They all have their own unique advantages, so you’ll ideally want some of these ingredients present on top of L-CItrulline in whatever formula you’re buying.

4. Value for Money

Of course, another one of the most important factors when making a decision is the value you’re getting for your money. The pre-workouts on our list range from just over $1 per serving to well over $2.

Be sure you understand what ingredients you’re looking for in a pre-workout, and how much their effects are worth to you. Comparing products in this way will help you make an informed choice, letting you get the best possible value for your money.

How to Take Pre-Workout for Pump?

With any pre-workout, we recommend following the instructions on the package. Typically, it’s recommended you take 1 scoop of pre-workout with 1-2 glasses of water or a beverage of your choice.

The time you take it may vary, but to get the most out of L-Citrulline’s pumping effect, we recommend taking the pre-workout around an hour before you hit the gym. This will also give the caffeine plenty of time to enter your system before your workout.

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t take more than the recommended serving size of pre-workout. With many of the products on our list featuring well over 200mg of caffeine, taking double or triple this amount at once poses some serious health risks.

Possible symptoms include restlessness, nervousness, vomiting, rapid heart rate, and tremors.

rowing machine training

How to Increase the Pumping Effect without a Pre-Workout?

To maximize the pumping effect without pre-workout we recommend doing high reps of isolation exercises. The reason for this is that high reps will allow more blood to flow to your muscles throughout the set.

By doing isolation exercises, you’ll also be targeting a smaller area of your body, allowing more blood to concentrate into one specific muscle group. By doing several high rep sets of an isolation movement, you’ll be sure to get a solid pump.

FAQ

Does Pre-Workout Give You a Pump?

While pre-workout itself won’t give you a pump without actually working out, there are certain ingredients – L-Citrulline in particular – that will noticeably increase your ability to get a solid pump in the gym.

How Do You Get a Crazy Pump?

To get the best pump possible, we recommend taking a pre-workout with high L-Citrulline content, and focus on high-rep isolation movements during your workout. This will help you get a solid mind-muscle connection, and get the craziest pump possible.

How Long Do Pumps Last?

A pump will typically last anywhere between 2 hours, but results will vary depending on how much volume you got in during your workout, and what types of exercise you were doing. The pump will be most noticeable during and immediately after your workout, and will slowly lessen over the next few hours.

Conclusion

Overall, pre-workouts – especially those with high doses of L-Citrulline – can be a great way to improve the pumps you get while working out. If you’re looking to get the best pump possible, then one of the pre-workouts on our list may be for you! Our top pick is Legion Pulse Natural, but all of the products on our list have their own advantages.

Let us know if you decide to try any of the products on our list. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  1. Rogers, J. Health, "Human Performance and Recreation Undergraduate Honors Theses" https://scholarworks.uark.edu/hhpruht/75/ (accessed August 13, 2023).
  2. Marjorie S. Miller "To beet or not to beet? Researchers test theories of beet juice benefits" 
  3. MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) "Hyperemia" https://profiles.umassmed.edu /display/113005 (accessed August 13, 2023).
  4. Joaquín Pérez-Guisado "Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness" 2010 May;24(5):1215-22.
  5. Eric T Trexler "International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine" 2015 Jul 15
  6. Jenna Mae Apicella "The Effect of Betaine Supplementation on Performance and Muscle Mechanisms"
  7. Richard B Kreider "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine" 2017 Jun 13
  8. Harvard "Caffeine" https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ nutritionsource/caffeine/  (accessed August 13, 2023)

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All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

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Oleksandr Maksymenko

Author: Oleksandr Maksymenko
Certified Sports Nutritionist,
MSc Sports Dietetics

Experience: 7 years
Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition

Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist certified by the Fitness Professional Association (FPA). He follows the principles of evidence-based dietetics and fosters a healthy relationship with food in his clients, ensuring there are no strict prohibitions on their favorite foods or frequent lapses. His primary goal is not only to achieve results for you but also to sustain them over the long term, all while enjoying tasty and delicious food.

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