Best pre workouts to take

Top 10 Pre Workout Supplements

The definitive top 10 best pre workouts guide curated by experts and athletes.

Let’s face it, you’re addicted to pre workouts. And for good reason – they’re freaking awesome.

Quite frankly no other class of performance supplement can compare:

  • Protein powders? Tasty but basic.
  • BCAAs? A good way to flavor water.
  • Test boosters? Just one big steroid tease.

Pre workout supplements on the other hand offer a real sensation.

Energy, focus, stamina and rage!

It’s like the first time you had Red Bull as a kid, and became the fucking juggernaut.

We love pre workouts for how they make us feel. Yet this same emotional gravitation is often used against us by shady supplement brands who only focus on the ‘mental feels’.

That is the reason why the staff at BWSB has been tracking the 10 best pre workout supplements over the last 6 years. Not to simply filter out the good from the bad, but to bring forward the great from the ‘good enough!’

What we look for:

  • Real clinical dosages.
  • Ethical and effective caffeine use.
  • Good value and servings count.
  • Accurate claims from brand to label.

What we don’t support:

  • Hyped, over-promoted products.
  • Illegal ingredients or pseudo-stimulants.
  • Filler-packed proprietary blends.

Our qualifications:

For the last 6 years, the staff at BWSB have been one of the most respected ‘underground’ references for ranking the best pre workouts.

Why? Because we’re not a store or fitness magazine.

All those other rankings you see are simply “best sellers lists” based on which company spent the most money on advertising. Not an indication of quality at all!

We on the other hand actually try the pre workouts, research the ingredients, and read emails and comments from users like you who submit their experiences to us.

You can share your experiences in the comments below, or email us through our contact us page.

So if you want the best pre workout experience, then this is the essential starting point. At the very least you’ll learn about what’s in your pre workout.

Top 10 Pre Workouts [2019 Update]

#10 Evlution Nutrition ENGN Shred: notable addition

Best for: Value seekers who want a fat burning pre workout for boosting energy.

Evlution Nutrition ENGN

ENGN Shred by Evlution nutrition is a top selling pre workout that has been getting a lot of attention in major supplement stores. This is specifically the weight loss version of the original ENGN pre workout, and has a very attractive price tag of about $35.

This pre workout appears to be performing well due to its extreme promotion. Evlution Nutrition is constantly doing promotions with this product, and placing it on ideal sales.

ENGN Shred versus all: While many supplement stores rank ENGN Shred very high, we consider its only consumer-centric advantage to be its low price tag. For that reason, we rank it only #10 while many other places place it higher strictly due to sales volume.

Positives for ENGN Shred:

  • Extremely inexpensive
  • Always on sale or promotion
  • Relatively clean energy experience

Potential Negatives:

  • Proprietary mind-muscle-matrix blend
  • Under-dosed beta-alanine
  • Artificial flavors, sucralose, dyes

Get ENGN Shred

Our view: “ENGN Shred was an add-on to our last supplement haul, and we were surprised to see it ranking so high on other sites. This pre workout does have notable fat burners in it, though the cumulative formula is dosed low and not quality-competitive.”

Read full review

#9 Muscletech Neurocore: cheapest pre workout

Best for: Athletes wanting an easy to take most bang for your buck energy pre workout.

New Neurocore beastmode pre workout

Neurocore doesn’t introduce any new novel ingredients, provide PR breaking dosages, or really anything exceptionally ‘fancy’. Instead, Neurocore covers the basics for an extremely cheap price.

With Neurocore, you’ll get a clean energy experience on the cheap. We’re talking less than $20 per 30 servings cheap! Though, if you would like this pre workout to pack a stronger punch, they recommend 2 scoops which cuts total servings in half.

Neurocore versus all: It all comes down to the price tag and good taste. That is the unique advantage for this pre workout.

Positives for Neurocore

  • Most inexpensive pre workout
  • Decently reliable energy
  • Contains creatine HCL
  • Tastes half decent

Potential Negatives:

  • Contains Yohimbe (pro/con)
  • Not Ideal for those looking to upgrade
  • Artificial colors, flavors, and dyes

Get Neurocore

Our view: “This supplement is a great option if you are new to pre workout supplements and want a moderate energy boost but nothing too crazy or extreme. This isn’t a pump, strength, or endurance formulated pre workout, just an inexpensive energy supplement”

Read full review

#8 Betancourt B-NOX Androrush: previously Bullnox

Best for: hardcore bodybuilders who want a maca root containing testosterone boosting pre workout.



Quite a few years ago, B-NOX was rated best pre workout on this list. Back then, it was called Bullnox, and the formula was much more potent.

B-NOX’s unique advantage was that it contained testosterone boosting ingredients. This effectively made it the only test boosting pre workout available. However nowadays, a bad reformulation of B-NOX alongside rising competition has lowered it in the ranks.

B-NOX versus all: B-NOX is a historically awesome pre workout that still touts its use of maca and other testosterone promoting ingredients. However, from a performance and quality standpoint it isn’t as competitive as it used to be.

Positives for B-NOX:

  • Contains maca root for testosterone
  • Reasonable tasting pre workout
  • Epic lineage / history
  • Medium energy level

Potential Negatives:

  • Reformulated for the worst
  • Contains a ton of sugar
  • Generally under-dosed ingredients

Get Betancourt B-NOX

Our view: “Bullnox Androrush used to be a much higher quality product before it was reformulated. Today, while it has been marginalized, some of its character still shines through. We’ll always love B-NOX despite the competition rising and over-taking it.

Read full review

#7 Prosupps Jekyll and Hyde Stack: super stim wildcard

Best for: Athletes that want to make their own concoction and enjoy a super stimulant pre workout.

Jekyll and Hyde stack

You would be surprised by how many people enjoy pushing pre workouts to the limit and doing something crazy. The ever infamous Jekyll and Hyde stack is just that.

Combining Jekyll and Hyde increases stimulants to a blistering level, while also adding noticeable pump to the equation. This combo isn’t for everyone, only the semi-insane.

Jekyll and Hyde versus all: By combining both Prosupps pre workouts into one product, you manage to make your own ‘hardcore’ pre workout while still getting a good pump complex and accessory stimulant aids. This makes the combo a more meaningful experience than typical ‘hardcore’ options not included on this list, though more expensive.

Positives for the stack:

  • Very high caffeine with co-stimulants
  • A unique experience

Potential Negatives:

  • Not intended for most (high caffeine)
  • A quite costly combination
  • Strictly high energy and pump

Get Mr. Hyde

Our view: “On their own, Jekyll provides quite good pump while Hyde is the real stimulant power. Though, when you combine these two, powers unite and you get a mix of both worlds with a huge caffeine rush being the feature most noted. This certainly isn’t for everyone, but is quite notable considering how popular high caffeine products have become”

Read full review

#6 Cellucor C4 Original: Best pre workout at Costco

Best for: athletes looking for a quick and easy energy boost that tastes good and is available worldwide.

Cellucor C4

If you didn’t know already, Cellucor C4 is the most popular and widely sold pre workout on the market. But does that make it the best? Well, its likely best for availability.

Cellucor’s unique edge with C4 is its massive availability at nearly every health store, paired with 10 specialized variants. For our top 10 pre workouts, our data and experience leads us to recommend the original C4 extreme as #6 on this list.

C4 versus all: compared to most pre workouts, C4 isn’t necessarily special. However Cellucor is very good at making C4 the first pre workout most people try. So, C4 is a pretty good pre workout but doesn’t have a unique quality advantage over other supplements.

Positives for Cellucor C4:

  • Cost-effective energy pre workout
  • Available worldwide in most major retailers
  • 10 specialized variants for fine-tuning
  • Several great tasting flavors to chose from

Potential negatives:

  • Not a clinically dosed pre workout
  • Uses artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners
  • Generally an over-hyped supplement

Our view: “Each C4 model is good for the purpose of energy creation. However, pump and endurance just isn’t there. This really doesn’t faze us though, because we’ve always loved C4 for its convenience and cheap price tag! Now however, the price has gone up and the formula got less effective with special versions.”

Read full review

#5 PES Prolific: multi-scoop pre workout

Best for: Bodybuilders wanting a quality pre workout without beta-alanine.

PES before workout supplement

PES (Physique Enhancing Science) has been making reliable workout supplements for ages. Their pre workout Prolific does a good job representing their commitment to safe supplements.

Prolific manages to deliver great tasting flavors in a 1 and 2 scoop serving size depending on how pumped up you’d like to get. While ‘multiple scoops’ used to be common in pre workouts, lately it has phased out with extreme caffeine levels making it not possible. Prolific brings it back.

Prolific versus all: at two scoops, prolific delivers a great tasting 6 grams of l-citrulline paired with 320 mg caffeine. This greatly out performs other small-dose pre workout supplements.

Positives for PES Prolific:

  • Solid 6 grams of pure l-citrulline
  • Contains 3:2 caffeine-to-l-theanine
  • Good accessory stimulants
  • Fantastic tasting pre workout

Potential Negatives:

  • Expensive at recommend 2 scoop serving size
  • Doesn’t contain beta-alanine
  • Contains artificial flavors

Get PES Prolific

Our view: “Prolific is a good small-scoop pre workout made by the long-lasting and respectable PES nutrition. The energy was clean and works quite well as a quick pick-me-up for increasing energy before the gym.

Read full review

#4 Kaged Nutrition Pre-Kaged: hybrid pre workout

Best for: Athletes who want a large-formula but also demand that their pre workout tastes good.

Kaged Nutrition Pre-Kaged

Kaged Nutrition is still a new brand, led by popular bodybuilder and trainer Kris Gethin. His pre workout, Pre-Kaged contains several similarities to our top 3 as well as a few distinct divergences.

What sets Pre-Kaged apart from other leading pre workouts is that it tastes really good, while being naturally flavored and strongly dosed. This makes Pre-Kaged the preferred pick for flavor chasers.

Pre-Kaged versus all: Pre-Kaged delivers almost all of the clinical pre workout promises, while still tasting fantastic. This is like a supercharged version of Kinobody Kino Octane.

Positives for Pre-Kaged

  • Tastes good for a large-scoop pre workout
  • Naturally flavored and sweetened
  • Large dose of creatine hydrochloride
  • Available in most retail locations

Potential Negatives

  • L-citrulline instead of l-citrulline malate
  • Significantly under-dosed beta-alanine
  • Stimulant matrix lacks l-theanine

Get Kaged Pre-Kaged

Our view: “If you demand that your pre workout taste really good, but also want to hit key dosages on l-citrulline, caffeine, and creatine HCL; then Pre-Kaged is a fantastic pre workout to consider.”

Read full review

#3 Legion Pulse: most anticipated pre workout

Best for: natural pre workout lovers that want the largest dosage of l-citrulline malate and beta-alanine on the market.

Pulse best pre

Legion Pulse is one of the greatest recognition deserving pre workouts, climbing from bottom-to-top on the best pre workouts list. You can consider it a ‘breakout product’ with very humble yet honorable beginnings.

Pulse’s unique edge is that it has been expertly formulated by fitness guru Mike Mathews. Mike is a best selling author who has dedicated his life to helping the willing and motivated achieve their fitness goals.

Pulse versus all: No other pre workout supplement contains both a 4.8 beta-alanine and 8 gram l-citrulline malate dosage. If you enjoy the raw caffeine energy sensation of Pulse, and demand a product that maxes clinicals, then Pulse wins every time with the 6 ingredients they use.

Positives for Pulse:

  • 8 grams l-citrulline malate for massive pumps
  • Leading 4.8 grams beta-alanine per serving
  • Fastest acting high caffeine energy complex
  • Made by fitness guru Mike Matthews

Potential Negatives

  • Only 21 servings per container
  • Premium price tag

Get Legion Pulse

Our view: “Legion Pulse was a pleasure to take and you really feel in your body the benefits that Mike wanted for you. For being loaded with beta-alanine, the tingles aren’t any worse than other lower dosed products. The most notable sensation is the raw caffeine that hits hard.”

Read full review

#2 JYM Supplements Pre-Jym: The original clinical pre workout

Best for: comprehensive pre workout lovers who also require high caffeine.

Stoppani Pre-JymPre-Jym is the original large-scoop clinically dosed pre workout supplement. Back when it first came out, it was all the rave, with absolutely no competition. Literally no other pre workout was better for years.

Like Pulse, Pre-Jym has the rare advantage of being expert formulated. This time by none other than Jim Stoppani who has a long history in performance research. This is a big plus, considering that the majority of nutritional supplement brands do not disclose who actually formulates their products.

Pre-Jym versus all: The pre workout market has continued to evolve and improve which is why Pre-Jym is no longer rated #1. BULK has inched ahead with a larger formula and well-rounded stimulant matrix, while Legion Pulse and Kaged Pre-Kaged certainly aspire to do the same.

Positives for Pre Jym:

  • High energy with good endurance
  • Fully disclosed active ingredients list
  • Developed by Jim Stoppani (reputable)
  • Best pre workout you’ll find at GNC stores

Potential Negatives:

  • 20 Servings per container
  • High in caffeine
  • Beta-alanine is under-dosed

Our view: “While reviewing Jym Pre-Jym, we were heavily impressed with how this pre workout energizes not just the mind, but the body as well. The citrulline malate works fantastic to promote high levels of performance that can dominate any workout routine.”

Read full review

#1 Transparent Labs BULK: highest rated

Best for: Athletes and bodybuilders seeking the best pre workout for overall energy, performance and recovery without exception.

Top rated pre workout

It goes without saying that we’ve tried a lot of pre workouts, but nothing ever compares to the experience we get with PreSeries BULK. It’s clean, powerful, and compared to other products actually helps you build muscle.

The reason why BULK is the best is because of its all-encompassing formula. Simply put, its all there, and in the right dosages.

PreSeries BULK versus all: Bulk contains nearly all of the benefits of the top 2-4 pre workouts and combines them into one product. Each ingredient is clinically maximized to work alongside each other, producing the highest powered workout experience without compromise.

Benefits for BULK:

  • Most clinically-backed pre workout
  • Full 30 servings per container
  • Clean energy experience without crash
  • Natural flavors, sweeteners, and no dyes

Potential Negatives:

  • Premium price (quality + 30 servings)
  • Not available on Amazon or Bodybuilding

Get PreSeries BULK

Our view: “The first time we took BULK was an incredible experience, the workout potential seemed endless. However what really caught our attention was how this first experience continued on, workout after workout. Like with pulse and pre-jym, we’re confident in the ingredients found in BULK. However on a performance comparison level, BULK is top rated.”

Read full review

What exactly makes a great pre workout so great?

The quality of a pre workout supplement will always come down to its formula. Some can get ahead by focusing on one well-dosed ingredient, while the best blend several well-dosed ingredients together flawlessly to improve body and mind.

Here is a brief informational buyers guide covering what you should be looking for in a quality pre workout:

High energy pre workouts focus on stimulants.

If you enjoy pre workouts that your friends can only half-scoop, then you’re all about the stimulants. Lucky for you, high stimulant pre workouts are more common than not, and typically cost less.

Here are the ingredients to know in high energy pre workouts:


Caffeine is the pillar of all energy supplements and is responsible for the rush you get from coffee and tea (11). In terms of dosing: 0-100 mg is considered low, 100-225 mg is considered moderate, and 225+ is heavy.

Nearly every pre workout that isn’t stimulant free will contain caffeine to a varying degree, and its dosage can gauge the overall ‘energy strength’ of the product.

Theacrine (TeaCrine®)

Theacrine increases energy like caffeine, but the timing and strength is different (12). For one, theacrine kicks in about an hour into your workout, right as caffeine may be weakening. Second, theacrine requires a much smaller dosage. And third, it is believed that we do not build a tolerance to theacrine the same way as caffeine. Despite its bad taste, Theacrine is a powerful pre workout stimulant (13).


ThermoDiamine™ also known as Evodiamine is considered to be both an energy ingredient and a fat burning ingredient (14). From an energy perspective in pre workouts, ThermoDiamine™ is commonly referred to as a fast-acting Theacrine.


Yohimbe isn’t directly considered a stimulant, but when paired with caffeine it certainly potentiates like one. In low and moderately caffeinated pre workouts, Yohimbe can increase the thermogenic and total energy potential. However, in highly caffeinated pre workouts, we consider it to be more harm than good due to its effects on blood pressure, heart rate and other rare but occurring side effects (15).

Endurance pre workouts focus on circulation, pH control, nutrients and stable stimulants.

Many endurance pre workouts contain stimulants like the ones listed above, however they also contain many endurance-specific ingredients to take workouts farther.

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Branch chain amino acids are known for their anabolic effects. However when paired with l-citrulline malate pre workout, BCAAs can reduce mental fatigue and improve endurance (10). BCAAs can improve endurance and mental power at dosages as low as 3 grams, but for recovery and muscle growth 7+ grams are required.

Beta-alanine (carnosine®)

At 3.2 grams and up, beta-alanine increases endurance and performance by delaying muscle acid build-up (6) (7). Smaller dosages will only give you ‘tingles’. For maximum effect, you’ll want to take beta-alanine consistently every day.

L-Citrulline Malate

Found to increase pumps, endurance, performance, and strength (1)(2)(3)(4) – l-citrulline malate is superior to straight l-citrulline pre workouts (5). The clinical dosage for L-citrulline malate starts at 6 grams, make sure you are getting it.

Strength pre workouts focus on ATP and CNS power.

The placebo effect and a good night of sleep will always be the worlds best strength enhancer. However, nutritional ingredients can help too. While all of the ingredients we’ve listed participate to a degree, these two are most pronounced.


Creatine is the defacto number one strength enhancer of the sports industry. When in your pre workout, you can anticipate it as creatine monohydrate or the faster acting creatine HCL. Though, when combined with other pre workout ingredients creatine may lose its ability to uptake properly.

Sometimes Heavy Stimulants

A large part of strength has to do with how strong nerve impulses fire from your brain to your muscle. You can non-glamorously compare this to crackhead/meth super-strength, but the principle is the same. The only caveat is that it isn’t going to make you stronger forever, as your body will quickly burn out if your regularly super-dosing stimulants.

Weight loss pre workouts focus on thermogenesis.

Anything that makes you workout harder or longer is going to increase the amount of calories you burn. But which do it best in a pre workout?


All of the stimulants that we’ve mentioned above act as fat burners in your pre workout, too. This is because the energy you feel comes from somewhere, it requires power – that power is from burnt calories.


Forskolin is extremely popular in fat burners, though you may also find it in some specialty pre workouts. Unlike many other weight loss ingredients, Forskolin isn’t a stimulant which gives it an edge for daily use.


L-carnitine is a popular fat-burner add-on because well, its cheap. The benefit to taking l-carnitine is that it can improve metabolism in your mitochondria, something that may be hard to amplify when you first start exercising.

Green Tea Extract

Lots of natural pre workouts like to tout the addition of green tea to their blends. It makes sense too, considering green tea can increase weight loss, provide caffeine for energy and is rich in antioxidants (16). What they aren’t telling you, is that is a pretty cheap add-on for them.

Muscle growth pre workouts focus on volume hypertrophy, nutrient delivery and recovery.

Lifting heavy weights is the most clear-cut way to build more muscle. But, there are specific pre workout ingredients that can increase the results produced by lifting.


Improves exercise performance and body composition in both male and female athletes (8)(9).

Strength and endurance ingredients:

Several studies have observed BCAAs, l-citrulline malate, beta-alanine and creatine increase muscle growth in addition to their other performance benefits.

Nootropic pre workouts focus on co-stimulants and neuro-enhancing compounds.

Several low and medium caffeinated pre workouts can produce an absolutely euphoric and clean energy experience thanks to nootropic style ingredients.


L-theanine is naturally occurring in tea and compliments caffeine by reducing the jitters associated with caffeine intake (17). The ideal dosage of l-theanine is in reference to caffeine at 1 to 2 mg l-theanine per 1 mg caffeine.

Higenamine and Hordenine

We’ve grouped the pre workout ingredients higenamine and hordenine together because they are rarely separated. These two ingredients increase energy alongside caffeine similarly to synephrine.


Choline is a highly effective pseudo-b-vitamin that can have a noticeable impact on mood, focus and performance as a whole (18, 19). Containing both l-theanine and choline is an indication that the pre workout you’re taking is a good one.

Huperzine A

Huperzine A functions in the body to upregulate choline, and thus its benefits can be attributed to the benefits of choline (20).

The best pre workout supplements deliver more than just one of these.

The overall best pre workouts hybridize many of these characteristics, to not only give you one specific goal, but ensure you can keep coming back day after day to make serious progress.

For instance, our top 3 best pre workouts contain clinical dosages across several categories above.

Pre workout supplements vs pre workout meals

This is for the rookies. Eating before exercise and taking a pre workout before exercise are completely different things.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Pre workout supplements do not hit your food macros.
  • You shouldn’t eat a pre workout meal at the same time as drinking your pre workout powder.
  • No, a pre workout meal will not produce the same results as a pre workout supplement.

Here’s what you should do:

  • You can still enjoy both, just eat your pre workout meal at least 45 minutes before you drink your pre workout shake. If you’re pre workout is hardcore, add some more time to that.
  • Pick one or the other. If you’re already amped with energy, just get your macros in via food and skip the powder.

Best Pre Workouts Ranking Update Log

Curious about how pre workout supplements have changed over time? Here is our historical log for ranking updates. We make small tweaks all the time, but here we have documentation on any actual ranking change for a pre workout.

Pre Workout Supplements taken into consideration

There was a great deal of competition for the top 10 pre workouts list. Here are a few of the powders that didn’t make it this time but still offer a great lift: Juggernaut HP, 1stphorm megawatt, MRI Black Powder, Hemo-Rage, BPI 1MR, Muscletech Nano Vapor, Muscletech Shatter SX-7, Muscle Meds NO Bull, EXT GO, BSN NO Explode, and more.

To see what other popular pre workouts that we have been working with, check out our reviews using the top navigation.

Glance into the future: the next best pre workouts

With 2018 at a close, we didn’t get the kind of excitement we would’ve wanted. Really, we lost some epic pre workouts due to ingredients like DMAA being completely banned.

For 2019, we feel that our pre workout ranking is spot on. Looking forward the only thing that is going to shake up the industry is if a new novel pre workout ingredient is created. Most notably a new stimulant.

Regardless, we’ll be here covering it all so that you can focus on your gains.

If you discuss our rankings, cite it!

This list is updated monthly, follow us on Facebook to stay up to date.

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Last Updated:

  1. Dang! I work at GNC and lately we’ve had a lot of guys asking for BULK. I’m going to have to balls up and order it soon. Last week a customer returned Cellucor C4 Ultimate cause it couldn’t compare to this BULK pwo.

  2. I had no idea that Bullnox’s formula changed. Last tub was weak! With the ban on DMAA active again, I’m interested in a pre workout like pre-jym, just with less jitters and more clean energy. Suggestions?

    1. Dan,
      BULK is the more popular option currently, due to the better(cleaner) energy complex compared to pre-jym. If you’re still coming down from DMAA and feel like you need super-stim then consider Koala Freak.
      Let us know how it goes!

  3. Anyone here usded Nano Vapor before? I’m about to buy a PWO but I need one that has no vitamin B, which leaves C4 out of the game for me unfortunately, been trying to decide between Nano Vapor and Pump HD, I mainly look to get more energy and strength during workouts and get bigger and shredded as fuark!!!

  4. I’ve always been a huge assault pwo fan, but the idea of a strong pump matrix is enticing. In pure comparison, what are the main during workout differences between Muscle Meds N.O Bull and BPI Pump HD? I’m really torn between them. Also, whats the consensus on every other day swapping stimulant pre workouts for stimulant free options? I have a friend taking opus as he restores his adrenals and am interested in proactive measures.

  5. Hey, I’m new to pre workout supplements, could you recommend one for me that I could use on a daily basis. Thanks in advance

    1. For many guys, Cellucor C4 is a great option for every day supplementation before the gym. We would recommend taking a further look into C4 as your potential option!

  6. Hard gainer here. Ive been lifting for a few years with little bulk to show for it (okay strength gains though). I always thought PWOs were a load of bull and mostly just caffeine. Recently ive become enlightened as to how valuable PWOs can be and im wondering which would give me the biggest and most reliable long term mass gains? Thanks a lot guys, i appreciate what you’re doing here.

    1. Hey Jacob,
      How do you feel about the energy associated with pre workouts? If you do not like stimulants, then the pre workouts on our stimulant free pre workouts page is a good place to start. If you do like stimulants, all the pre workouts on this page have been effective for a large group of people; for you I would recommend considering Assault or Bullnox! There are two mass building benefits to pre workouts: 1.) the extra energy and power that allows you to do more work in the gym; 2.) BCAA components. If you feel that you have #1 covered entirely on your own, then a good intra workout amino acid supplement high in Leucine would be a reasonable alternative. Hope this helps, keep lifting HEAVY!

      1. Thanks for replying so quickly! I don’t mind caffeine, it’s just that I used to think that’s ALL PWO’s were and the rest was just some things they added to make people buy their product. Stupid of me, I know. Thanks again guys, I think I’ll give the Bullnox a try!

      2. Also, sorry one last thing! Do you guys have any idea how much caffeine and creatine is in here? I supplement with creatine separately so I’d like to keep my dosage pretty consistent

        1. Bullnox doesn’t disclose their exact amounts, though I would estimate between 100 and 200 milligrams of caffeine (roughly 1-2 cups of coffee). As for the creatine content, Bullnox contains 3 different forms of creatine. You may not feel the need to add additional creatine to your diet while taking this pre workout, that is something you will need to ‘feel out’. Let us know how it goes!

  7. I’ve never taken pwo and I want to start. I workout at home, mostly calisthenic routines. What would you recommend for more power/endurance?

  8. Hi guys i used to take Creature when i was lifting, now i have gone onto the Insanity workout program, i continue to use Creature as a post workout, however i am near to the end of the supplement. What would be a good post workout that does not have many calories and is caffeine free that would suit my program.



    1. Hey Javed,
      Taking Creatine (creature) post workout has been linked to muscle gains. However, with your type of exercise you would benefit even more by taking either protein or amino acid supplements post workout. If you are not eating a post workout meal after insanity, whey isolate is the best low carb protein supplement. However, if you are eating a post workout meal which includes protein, then including an amino acid supplement high in Leucine such as Beast Nutrition’s Aminolytes can really ramp up your results! In addition, if being sore is holding you back or making you miss days, then consider adding in an inexpensive glutamine supplement to improve recovery and reduce muscle soreness.
      Best of Luck!

  9. I have been using the stuff called super pump max but I think it is giving me acne.(I am getting acne on chest ever since and I started using it and I’ve never had acne there before and also my face is even more broken out) Are you familiar with the product? Do you know what might be causing the acne? What do you recommend instead? I am a skinny guy trying to put on weight but track is starting so I need something to take after my run right before I lift.

    1. Hey Joe, Super Pump Max has been a great pre workout for countless years. In my opinion, I would attribute the acne more to your increase in athletic activity than Super Pump Itself. Since you are working out more, you are producing more testosterone which often triggers the acne. You can always stop taking super pump, or take less of it for some trial and error. If your under 18, pre workouts are not really recommended. But, if you are over 18, and you need something to take after your exhausted from running- consider a pre workout like assault as you can see above, or OPUS which is caffeine free but still gives you a boost and energy (you can view opus on the caffeine free pre workout list on the right column). I choose these two because they offer energy, but more importantly muscle building amino acids which you deplete after running.

      As for the acne, I have seen many guys improve their complexion by drinking a lot more water and reducing sugary drinks. Remember to do your best due diligence when making decisions and we wish you the best!!

  10. Hi,
    I want a supplement to be used daily for power/energy/strength/endurance,
    but at the same time it should not have bad side-effects on long term use.
    Please give me suggestions.

    1. Cellucor C4 is one of the best pre workouts for long term daily use in our experience. Be sure to read the directions and follow your own due diligence!

      1. Craze if you can get it is hands down the best pre workout money can buy i have tried various others but craze wins hands down

  11. I am taking Bullnox. I normally take it, wait 20-30 minutes and run 2 miles then lift. Is that ok that I do that or does that make the Bullnox less effective for my lifting? If it does make it less effective for my lifting then can I run after I lift?

    1. Running before your lift is better than running afterwards from a building muscle perspective. Most people in your situation lean towards either taking their pre workout directly before lifting, or directly before running so that you finish your run just as Bullnox starts to take effect. With your current timing, be aware of your heart rate. Excessive cardio with a pre workout can really make your chest pound.
      I’m sure part of your question is due to you getting fatigued during your workout after running. Modifying the timing of your pre workout can help with that, but running less or reserving running for off-days can be just as effective for saving more energy for the weights.

  12. I’m not understanding the super-love for Bullnox. I’ve been using it for a month now, and I just don’t get a great pump from it. The one thing i’ll say is it Laaaaassssts. Incredibly long. It would be an awesome pwo if I wanted to lift for like, 6 hours. …I wish they would put Craze back on the market.

  13. Hi,
    I am glad I found this blog.
    I am new to the pre-workout supplements.
    I want a supplement to be used daily for power/energy/strength/endurance, but at the same time it should not have bad side-effects on long term use.
    Please give my suggestions.

  14. I have been supplementing for about 7 years but am pretty new to Pre-Workouts. I used MP Assault for a couple months and had great increases in strength (went from repping 225lbs 6X to 19X in 3 weeks) but I must be sensitive to the caffeine because I got crazy jittery and my face occasionally itched while using it, so i decided to try something new. I am currently using Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition, and while it seems to give me some energy it definitely doesn’t give me the boost or pump I got with Assault. So basically I am looking for a Pre with the intense boost and pump of Assault, but without the jitters. What are your recommendations good sir? I’ve been trying to research several of the products on your list but nobody seems to have your expertise, so I’d really appreciate your feedback. Thanks so much for your time.

    1. MP Assault is a great pre workout, but the stimulants can be on the strong side sometimes! With the goal of pump and strength in mind while avoiding the stimulants, OPUS and EVP are good options. These fall into the category of stimulant free pre workouts, but deliver good pump and strength (and also tend to have intra-workout characteristics to support muscle growth).
      Something closer to MP Assault would be Juggernaut HP, its a relatively similar formula just with half the caffeine. I hope that these suggestions makes your search easier and more fruitful. In the meantime, taking 1/2 a serving of MP Assault may work well for you.

      And as for that itchy sensation! That’s most likely from the ingredient beta-alanine, which helps to buffer the blood and increase endurance in the gym. By taking your pre workout 30 minutes before exercising you can reduce some of that ‘sensation’, but knowing that its helping you, its also a good little motivator.

  15. Hey guys, nice PWO list. I can definitely see a few of my personal favorites on their like Assault, C4 and Nano Vapor. I’d have to agree with the comment above suggesting C4 to Jenna. C4 isn’t overly strong stimulant wise – and not too much creatine makes it a pretty excellent choice for someone just getting started with pre-workouts. I’ve tried about 5 flavors so far, and their all really good. Assault is certainly a bit more powerful – stimulant wise and also contains a full dose of Creatine with 1 scoop – more for someone who knows what they’re up to. I haven’t touched the new JYM one just yet, what do you guys think of it in terms of effectiveness?

  16. Wow! I am so happy I stumbled across this page after doing hours of PWO research! I’m a female who is looking to lose weight and tone up and it’s been hard to find info that isn’t a)conflicting or b) coming from a sponsored athlete who is obviously going to be biased. From the research i’ve done, I’ve found that I shouldn’t be taking a PWO with creatine in it as a female who’s trying to lose weight. Is this true? And would C4 be my best bet?

    Thanks guys!

    1. Hey Jenna, C4 is a great choice for women! It does contain some creatine, but in the form of creatine N03 which does not promote ‘water-weight’ as apposed to if you were taking 5-10 grams of creatine monohydrate.
      All in all, we have seen many men and women boost their workouts with C4, just be sure to follow the manufacturers directions.

  17. Best pre workout supplement list I’ve seen so far. Like the personalism. There are many new pre workouts coming in 2014, I hope you guys are ready to let us know about the new stuff too. I’ll check back

    1. We do our best to go above and beyond, no matter what it takes. Your very right about the amount of supplements coming out in 2014. Typically there is a huge infusion alongside new years resolution time. We expect to see reformulations, brand new supplement introductions, and immerging brands. It will be a lot of work, but we will sort through them all with our team and fans to find out which pre supplements are worth while!

  18. I have a hard time ranking my favorite pre workouts. It’s always a stalemate between Pump HD VS C4 VS Assault. So, I do a constant rotation. I typically go C4 for leg and arm days, Pump HD for chest day, and assault for back and shoulder days. This routine has worked great, and my results keep improving.

    I like what you guys do, keep it up!

    1. Not the best for the cardio involved with a losing weight exercise routine, but for strictly weight lifting days its phenomenal. Glad you brought this up. C4 would be another great option for you, and on heavy cardio days, take 1/3 of a serving! Let us know if you have any other questions.

  19. A “good” pwo is different for everyone. To me, I’m all about the beta alanine burn n the feeling of a ridiculous pump n nitric oxide. The old jack3d was great, the new one is weak, pump-hd doesn’t cut it for me there’s not enough beta alanine n also doesn’t give me a crazy pump, mp assault is terrible unless u plan on putting it in a gallon jug cuz the scooper is a protein scooper. Horrible. Got nothing out of it. Pwo are heavy marketing n labeling by big $$ companies. My personal favorite is c4. Gets u burning, great pump, great energy, no crash, n just overall a great product with results that show. I want to try no bull but these are each about $40 its too pricey to sample each one. Nothing like a let down on a $40 pwo.

    1. Thanks for the additional input Derek! I agree with you that Cellucor C4 is a quality product. By far, it has the highest quality bio-available Beta-alanine which really helps buffer muscles against rising lactic acid(note- its been proven to be very effective to take 1-2 grams of beta-alanine throughout the day to stay ‘loaded’, but we don’t do that quite yet). I understand your concern with Assault and I’m very impressed that you know the importance of adequate water intake for absorption. For the majority, assault is very effective, but it has such a high caffeine content, that- for some, they may be overloaded which can cause fatigue and bad results.
      EXT GO may be a good option for you, stimulant wise it has a great mind-muscle connection which original formula jack3d lovers are very in touch with.
      Again, thanks for your input.

  20. Very good list. I’ve tried 2 of them before which are C4 and jacked 3d. They are great. Both of them give me good pump to lift heavier. However, I didn’t try #1 PWO, BPI Sports PUMP-HD. What make it stand out?

    1. Pump-HD is an experience. The power and endurance is intense, too intense for some (half serving is advised for starters). The focus is very dominant, similar to the focus of EXT GO, but then there is ridiculous pump that sticks around even hours after the workout.
      Too strong for everyday use, but a great asset to keep in the gym bag for ‘those days’.

  21. I like the list but am a pretty big fan of a few workout drinks not on the list. Cellucor M5 has been a good mass building pre workout, its my top choice when I can afford it, after that is purple wrath. There are alot of underground fitness drinks that are worth checkin out. Would be great to see a list with all the new powders on the market.


  22. Alright, thanks a bunch..:)
    I think i would try the C4 or MPharm Assault first then..:)
    Another thing, what is the key ingredient to look for when it comes to finding a good pre workout supplements?

    1. Beta-alanine, creatine, and a pump matrix is important.

      Be cautious of caffeine content in pre-workouts, some products will push their levels up to 400mg which is not reasonable for long term use. C4 is around 100 mg, and assault is between 200-300mg.

      If you are pure weight training, Assault is recommended. But if you also run and do other forms of cardio, the lower caffeine content in C4 will help you maintain a controlled heart beat.

      As a rule of thumb ingredient wise- we really do not know the quality and bio-availability of pre workout ingredients until we try them and get a good feel. So, you cannot always judge a brand new pre workout by its ingredients label.

  23. Hi, I’m new to all this, so i have no idea what to look for when it comes to choosing a good pre-workout supplement.
    Can anyone enlighten me? Thanks..:)

    1. Hey Leon, here is some easy advice if you are just beginning pre workout supplements.
      1.)begin using half a serving size unless you are very caffeine tolerant.
      2.)Are you trying to lose weight at the same time? Nanovapor, Bullnox, and even C4 stimulate fat burning.
      3.)Feeling tingles from pre workout supplements is normal (its a reaction from beta-alanine which buffers your internal pH levels, its a good thing).
      4.) If you cannot handle caffeine or stimulants, there are many caffeine free options (Dymatize Xpand caffeine free version, N.O Xplode caffeine free version, Opus.

      If you have any additional questions, this page is monitored daily and we will get back to you right away, thanks for visiting.

  24. Good list, I have many more lifts left reserved for musclepharm assault pwo. Nice to know what other supplements are good out there too. It’d be helpful to see what pre workouts came close to making the best pre list.
    Dunno if that is possible. Look forward to visiting back in a couple months when I’m looking for a new pre workout supplement to try. Adios

  25. I’ve had great times at the gym with all of these! Down around the top 5 I see some real muscle building pre-workouts!

    Keep up the awesome flow of information, I’m gettin real tired of always educating the noobs. btw, I have not tried Pump-HD yet but the pre workout reviews I have read are all great.

  26. WHATT?!!? I haven’t heard of half of these! My favorite pre-workout has been musclepharm assault for like the longest time. Nothing else gives me that kind of energy. It’s the basic equivalent of like combining 1MR’s energy, with awesome pump, amino acids, and so much more. Musclepharm assault, hands down best pre supplement ever.

    1. A lot of guys can relate to that Jarrid. ‘EXT GO’ has some very new ingredients that approach energy production from relatively new means. Whenever you take this stuff, your endorphins immediately surge with feel good, get the job done 150% energy. However, we do not recommend this PWO for every day use. Save it for the times of the week when you are working your worst body part or in NEED of a good solid gain. Cheers mate.

  27. There’s a lot of misconception about what makes a pre workout good. However, all of these that I have tried, do seam to fit very well in this lists order. Bullnox has always been on my preworkouts to try list. Normally I stick with good old hemo surge as my pwo of choice. But hey, why isn’t juggernaut on the list? thanks!

    1. Juggernaut pwo is still under our consideration. The problem is, however, that not enough of our bodybuilders and athletes have tried it, therefor, we cannot put together an honest pre review. It would be bad business if we put out our personal review without a great deal of supporting feedback from a variety of body types and ethnic backgrounds. But hey, we like hemo surge too! sometimes the classics are a good change of pace, thanks for stopping by!

  28. I haven’t tried all of these, but it looks like a very solid list going by what I have tried! I norm stick to good old C4 extreme, and then crank things up a little with Bullnox Androrush or assault when I have more time to work in the gym.

    1. Nice Sampson, that’s the tag team combo that a lot of successful bodybuilders go with. Keep up the great work and you will make it!

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