Best Pre Workout Supplements

People use pre-workout supplements to increase their energy and focus and to improve the quality of their workouts. Use our pre-workout supplement rankings to compare products and find out which one is best for you.

Best Pre-Workout Supplements on the Market

Based on our reviews of the top pre workout supplements, the following are the best on the market today. Any of these would give you a great boost for your workouts. Below we provide a closer analysis so that you can choose the pre-workout that's best for your needs and budget.

optimum nutrition gold pre workout supplement cellucor c4 pre workout bsn no xplode supplement gaspari super pump max Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
BowScore™ (?) 9.2 8.6 8.7 8.3 8.1
Quality Rating
Calories 5 5 30 10 0
Primary Ingredients Citrulline, Beta Alanine Beta Alanine Citrulline, Beta Alanine Citrulline Citrulline, Beta Alanine
Caffeine content 175 mg 150 mg ? ? 250 mg
Creatine Monohydrate - 3 g Nitrate - 1 g Creatine blend Monohydrate - 1.3 g Monohydrate - 1.5 g
Servings per container 30 30 30 40 30
Cost per serving * $$ $ $ $ $$
Total Cost * $$ $ $ $$ $$

Finding the Best Pre-Workout Supplements

We searched the vast industry of health supplements to find the top pre-workouts on the market. We based our rankings on brand quality, beneficial supplement effects, and product affordability.

Our pre workout rankings are meant to be a guide for those new to this kind of supplement or for those seeking a new product to try.

But before we get to our top pick, let's talk more about what pre-workout are for, any precautions you should follow before buying or consuming a product, and what you should generally expect after taking it.

What is a Pre-Workout?

A pre-workout is a dietary supplement that people take before working out to enhance their workout performance and muscular and cardiovascular gains.

The primary effects people hope to experience after taking a pre-workout are:

  • Increased energy
  • Increased focus
  • Improved endurance
  • Enhanced recovery

To achieve these effects, most pre-workouts are blends of various ingredients meant, as a whole, to provide the physical and mental benefits necessary to improve the quality of a person's workout.

Common Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients

There are certain ingredients that commonly appear in pre-workout supplements. Most of these common ingredients seem to be able to contribute to improving physical functioning and the mental states that are desirable before working out (as well as during the workout).

The extensiveness of research on these ingredients varies widely, however — with some having significant evidence toward their effectiveness while others have little to none.

The most common ingredients are:

  • Caffeine

    Nearly every pre workout contains the central nervous system stimulant caffeine. The research and evidence supporting caffeine's ability to improve mental and physical functioning is widespread and thoroughly convincing, particularly in helping people to feel less tired and more alert.

    However, the downsides to caffeine consumption include certain negative side effects for those with caffeine sensitivity (often people sensitive to stimulants as a whole, who should avoid pre-workouts entirely), as well as its opposite: tolerance. A tolerance to a certain drug means that, with each repeated use, its effectiveness dwindles. This is why, unfortunately, many coffee drinkers don't experience the positive effects of coffee, and instead drink coffee to feel "normal". Likewise, with other products containing caffeine, the product's effectiveness will be diminished for those who have developed a tolerance to caffeine.

  • Creatine Monohydrate

    Most pre-workouts have some form of creatine in them, usually creatine monohydrate. The usage of creatine in the sports and fitness world is well-documented. According to the latest research, creatine is reputed to:

    • Increase muscle size and strength
    • Improve athletic performance
    • Decrease recovery time
    • Improve cognitive function

    While the benefits of creatine are more obvious in short, high-intensity activities — such as weight-lifting, jumping, and sprinting — the benefits may also expand beyond the physical. In one particular study, it was found that "creatine supplementation had a significant positive effect on both working memory (backward digit span) and intelligence, both tasks that require speed of processing." This would seem to suggest that supplementing with creatine would be beneficial to anyone, even those not interested in improving physical performance.

  • Citrulline

    Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid — meaning it is created naturally in the body and therefore not required from your diet — that is converted into arginine and nitric oxide within the body. Essentially, citrulline increases your body's production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide improves blood blow, including to the muscles and to the brain, which for obvious reasons is very beneficial for working out.

  • Beta-Alanine

    Beta-alanine is a naturally-occuring amino acid. Evidence has shown that beta-alanine may increase muscle power and decrease feelings of muscle fatigue. According to Examine, it has been "shown to enhance muscular endurance" and can "also improve moderate- to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise performance, like rowing or sprinting."

  • BCAAs

    Branched-chained amino acids — called BCAAs for short — are believed to enhance muscular development by promoting protein synthesis. However, scientific studies are lacking on this claim, so as of now this belief is unproven.

Pre-Workout Precautions

It's important to understand that pre-workouts are powerful dietary supplements and certainly aren't for everyone. This is especially true for those who naturally have anxiety and are particularly susceptible to stimulants.

But as a general guideline, for your peace of mind and safety, and regardless of your supplement history and stimulant tolerance, we recommend that you speak to your doctor before trying a pre-workout.

Top Pre-Workout Supplement — Our Recommendation

After sorting through an endless supply of supplements, our number one pick for the best pre workout supplement on the market is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard.

optimum nutrition gold pre workout supplement

We picked the pre-workout by Optimum Nutrition for several reasons:

  • Brand Strength

    Optimum Nutrition is one of the best brands in the health supplement industry. They consistently produce high-quality supplements, which is why they have such a large and loyal base of regular customers.

  • Product Quality

    Examining the ingredients list, we can tell that this supplement was formulated with a specific purpose in mind: to enhance and improve a person's workout experience and results. The main ingredients are citrulline and beta-alanine, which as you've learned above, are both extremely effective at increasing energy and focus. In addition to this, the caffeine content is on par with other pre-workouts — at 175 mg; equal to about a 1 1/2 cups of coffee — meaning the supplement doesn't rely on the caffeine for its effects (and causing negative effects in the process).

  • Beneficial effects

    This supplement is sure to give you tons of extra energy and focus for your workouts, as well as increasing your flood flow and maximum muscle exertion levels.

  • Good Taste

    It's rare for an ON product not to taste good, and this product follows that pattern. You can't go wrong with any of the flavors, but our favorite is undoubtedly Blueberry Lemonade.

  • Affordable Pricing

    While not the cheapest pre workout supplement on the market, and ON's product is still priced competitively with other products. You get what you pay for, as they say, and the high-quality of their products more than makes up for the slight price difference.