Best Pre-Workout for Bodybuilders to Get the Ultimate Pump

Best Pre-Workout for Pump – Bodybuilders #1

If you do not feel sore and pumped after working out, you are not building muscle as fast as possible.

It is easy to underestimate the importance of pumps when you set big muscle goals. You are eating a high-protein diet and implementing a tough training program, but for top bodybuilders, there is more to it than that.

Unless you maximize your pumps, you won’t create enough strain on your muscles to reach your optimum body composition. The most effective way to do this is to supplement with a pre-workout that contains high-quality ingredients to boost your endurance, performance, and of course, your PUMPS.

A good pre-workout will provide nitric oxide boosters and ingredients to increase blood flow, giving you strength and power. If you workout without supplementing, then you are not pushing your body as hard as you can.

But with an overcrowded nutrition market, you might be lost as to what ingredients you need and which product to opt for. Here, we are going to discuss the best pre-workout ingredients.

Why Most Pre-Workout Supplements Are Terrible

You may have tried pre-workout supplements and felt the little effect or found that the negative side effects outweighed the good ones. There are many reasons why a lot of pre-workout supplements fail. They include:

  • Ineffective ingredients
  • Under-dosed ingredients
  • Not enough stimulants
  • Too many stimulants
  • Terrible flavor
  • Clumpy powder
  • Overpriced
  • Proprietary blends

See where National Bodybuilding Co. Stage Ready landed on our list of the Best Pre-Workouts!

Ingredients The Best Pre-Workout Supplements Must Contain

It is important to make sure that any pre-workout supplement you are taking has been well researched. The best Pre-workout supplements should contain optimum dosages of active ingredients that will provide you the results you want, without any nasty side effects. Here are some of the most effective pre-workout supplement ingredients for the ultimate pump.

L-Citrulline DL Malate

Citrulline is a nonessential amino acid. Your body can produce it on its own, although you can increase levels with certain foods or by taking a supplement.

Unlike some other amino acids, it is not used to build proteins. (1) But that does not mean that it won’t have an impact on your gym performance.

Citrulline helps rid your body of any harmful chemicals. It also works to widen your blood vessels and plays a role in building muscle. (2)

Citrulline also converts to arginine in the body, which converts to nitric oxide, relaxing the muscles that constrict blood vessels, leading to vasodilation. By increasing vasodilation (the widening of the arteries and veins), it increases blood flow. (3) This allows for bigger pumps.

Because of how the body processes and absorbs these compounds, consuming Citrulline is more effective than consuming arginine for increased blood flow. (4)

Although Citrulline is not used to build protein, studies show that it increases protein synthesis by stimulating an essential signaling pathway involved in muscle building. (1)

It also reduces the liver’s absorption of other amino acids and prevents their breakdown. (4)

Protein synthesis and the prevention of the breakdown of other amino acids contribute to increased muscle mass. That plus increased vasodilation for bigger pumps makes this one of the most effective pre-workout ingredients on the market.

Even better, you should look for pre-workouts containing L-Citrulline Malate. The combination is great for energy production. There have been several studies on Citrulline Malate and weight training. In one study when participants took a supplement within 60 minutes before exercise, they performed 53% more repetitions. They were also less sore in the days following training. (5)

When reviewing trusted brands on the market, this ingredient is found in popular pre-workout supplements such as National Bodybuilding Co. Many others contain either L-Citrulline on its own or arginine. While these may have some effect on your workout, for maximum results, look out for a pre-workout supplement containing L-Citrulline DL- Malete.


Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that fights muscle fatigue. When you workout intensely, acid starts to build up in your body, leading to pain and stiffness. Beta-alanine helps combat the acid, leading to improved athletic performance and faster recovery (6, 7).

In one study, cyclists found that they could exercise for 13-14% longer before exhaustion after taking beta-alanine.  (8)

There is also evidence that it can benefit body composition and improve lean body mass. This works by increasing training ability and promoting muscle growth. (9)

Brands such as National Bodybuilding Co. and Performance Lab feature beta-alanine in their pre-workout.


An amazing pre-workout ingredient acts as a stimulant similar to caffeine, but without the unwanted side effects. Pre-workouts that have too much caffeine leave many people feeling jittery, and once the caffeine wears off, they crash and are left feeling rubbish.

Instead, look for pre-workouts that contain less caffeine, and add alternatives such as Theacrine.

Theacrine has been used in traditional Chinese tea known as Kucha for a long time and is hailed to boost energy and performance and decrease fatigue.

It works by stopping dopamine from being reabsorbed after it is released in the brain, raising the overall dopamine levels, increasing energy levels, and improving mood and mental focus. It also blocks adenosine, which can be responsible for feelings of fatigue. (10)

When combined with small amounts of caffeine, it can provide an even greater boost. This allows pre-workouts with less caffeine to give the same wonderful benefits, without the jitters, shakiness, and crash. Combined with caffeine, it improves the feeling of alertness, attentiveness, and focus. (11)

It’s a wonder more pre-workouts don’t contain Theacrine. Perhaps this is because most people are looking for a high-dose of caffeine. However, caffeine becomes less effective over time, and high amounts in your pre-workout may reduce your focus for the rest of the day and hinder your sleep.

Instead, look out for a pre-workout that contains less caffeine and Theacrine, such as National Bodybuilding Co.


Anything that boosts Nitric Oxide is beneficial to big PUMPS. It was a once common belief that l-arginine was the best product for this. We have since discovered that arginine’s bioavailability is lacking, and therefore, it will do very little to improve your performance.

This is where researchers discovered L-citrulline, which survives transportation through the stomach, significantly increasing arginine levels and boosting nitric oxide. For many years it has been the king of pumps.

But recently, a new ingredient has emerged, VASO6, which is extracted from green tea.

VASO6 increases the production of NO and promotes vasorelaxation, which reduces how hard your cardiovascular system has to work and increases the blood flow to your muscles. (12)

Increasing blood flow leads to more energy and endurance and bigger pumps during workouts. It also allows metabolic waste to be cleared more efficiently.

Your blood is more than 50% of water. As you exercise, blood is moved to the muscles, as more water is pulled into the muscles, they begin to swell, resulting in a seriously savage pump.

The discovery of this kick-ass compound is relatively new, and so it can be difficult to find. However, some brands are ahead of the research: National Bodybuilding Co. and Performance Labs include VASO6 in their high-quality pre-workout.

The Solution

Taking a pre-workout is the best way to increase pumps and increase muscle mass. However, there is an overcrowded market with sub-par products. For the best pre-workouts, lookout for the ingredients listed above.

Featured Pre-Workout

National Bodybuilding Co. Stage Ready Pre-Workout


One natural pre-workout powder contained all the best ingredients: National Bodybuilding Co. Pre-Workout. It won the best pre-workout supplement award at Generation Iron supplements awards 2020, and for a good reason. It has been specifically formulated to improve strength and endurance, raise Nitric Oxide levels to provide fuller pumps and support muscle building, optimize cellular ATP production and enhance neurotransmitter synthesis to keep you focused and in a good mood.

National Bodybuilding Co. Stage Ready

This powerful pre-workout contains all of the ingredients listed above at clinically optimized dosages. It also includes several neotropics for increased energy and focus during your workout and beyond. The ingredient list is transparent, with no proprietary blend. This pre-workout is a great choice for all of your focus, energy, and muscle pump needs.


Click here for the best price

National Bodybuilding Co. Stage Ready Pre-Workout won Best Pre-Workout in the GI Supplement Awards. Check it out the Supplement award winners, as well as our individual review!


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  2. Figueroa A, Wong A, Jaime SJ, Gonzales JU. Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017 Jan;20(1):92-98. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000340. PMID: 27749691.
  3. Chopra S, Baby C, Jacob JJ. Neuro-endocrine regulation of blood pressure. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Oct;15 Suppl 4(Suppl4):S281-8. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.86860. PMID: 22145130; PMCID: PMC3230096.
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  6. Derave W, Ozdemir MS, Harris RC, Pottier A, Reyngoudt H, Koppo K, Wise JA, Achten E. beta-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Nov;103(5):1736-43. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00397.2007. Epub 2007 Aug 9. PMID: 17690198.
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  8. Hobson RM, Harris RC, Martin D, Smith P, Macklin B, Gualano B, Sale C. Effect of beta-alanine, with and without sodium bicarbonate, on 2000-m rowing performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2013 Oct;23(5):480-7. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.23.5.480. Epub 2013 Mar 26. PMID: 23535873.
  9. Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-5. PMID: 19210788; PMCID: PMC2649036.
  10. Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-5. PMID: 19210788; PMCID: PMC2649036.
  11. Daniel J. Kuhman,Keanan J. Joyner and Richard J. Bloomer, Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women, Nutrients 2015, 7(11), 9618-9632;
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Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.