Best Pre-Workout Supplements For Strength, Cardio, Pump And More

Lift more, run faster, and boost focus with these stand-out pre-workout supplements.

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Of all the workout products you can buy, pre-workout supplements may have the widest variety of ingredients, dosages, and effects — which is why it can be hard to find the best pre-workout supplement for your individual needs. Also, isn’t proper sleep, nutrition, and hydration all you need for an excellent workout? It’s undoubtedly true that these three lifestyle choices can radically improve your performance (as well as mood, muscle growth, and immunity). But for those who want a little something extra, the right pre-workout supplement can improve performance.

Choosing the right pre-workout, however, is challenging. Besides caffeine, scores of other ingredients appear in these products, including amino acids, plant extracts, and other powders meant to improve endurance, power output, focus, fat loss, and blood flow. That’s why we’ve tried dozens of pre-workouts, from the biggest brands to the newest up-and-comers, to find the absolute best pre-workout supplements for any training goal.

The Best Pre-Workout Supplements

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. 

Best Pre-Workout Supplements Video Review

Though we still want you to read our thoroughly researched, thoughtful pre-workout review, sometimes a video is just easier to digest. We’ve got you covered on both. Check out our equally thoughtful and scrupulously researched video review below. 

Best Pre-Workout Overall

When looking for an excellent pre-workout supplement, we value research-backed ingredients in clearly disclosed dosages. Transparent Labs is a company that heavily prioritizes both of those elements in their BULK pre-workout

Transparent Labs BULK 

Transparent Labs BULK might just be the best pre-workout supplement around. There aren’t any blends, it’s gluten-free, and contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. At 180 milligrams per scoop, BULK’s caffeine content is more manageable than some others on the market (which can get up to nearly 300mg per serving). BULK also features big hits of Vitamin D and zinc. It also contains boron, which has some pretty positive links to testosterone production in the body. (1)

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Transparent Labs BULK
Transparent Labs BULK
Transparent Labs BULK

Transparent Labs BULK provides lots of beta-alanine for improved endurance, as well as a slew of ingredients to aid in focus — two key traits for lifters and endurance athletes alike. Use code BARBEND10 to save 10%.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs BULK

  • People who want a clearly labeled, research-backed, and well-dosed supplement.
  • Those who are at risk of running low on Vitamin D and zinc, and need an extra boost in their pre-workout.
  • Anyone who wants to avoid artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.
  • Folks who like an emphasis on focus — this pick contains theanine, taurine, and tyrosine here, all of which may help with focus.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs BULK

  • Penny pinchers — this is about $1.60 per serving.
  • Because it’s all-natural, the flavoring is quite sour, which might be a con for those that prefer something sweeter.
  • People who are not interested in ingredients that may improve testosterone production.

It’s on the pricier side, but that’s because it’s crafted with care. We’re big fans of Transparent Labs BULK, its transparent label, and added hits of Vitamin D and Zinc. 

Want the full scoop on pre-workouts? See our complete guide to pre-workout supplements here

Best Pre-Workout for Women

Though it’s marketed toward women, a solid pre-workout isn’t necessarily gender-specific. The priorities remain the same: quality ingredients, effective dosing, and delicious flavors (so you enjoy drinking it).

Cira Pre-Game

The first thing that jumps out is the straightforward label. Cira’s pre-workout formula contains eight primary ingredients: l-citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, l-tyrosine, 200mg of caffeine anhydrous, l-theanine, theobromine, and AstraGin, a proprietary blend of roots and herbs that promotes optimal absorption. This well-rounded formula will facilitate any activity from lifting weights to running to sprints on the fan bike. Pre-Game comes in three flavors — Peach Bellini, Pink Candy, and Glow-Jito.

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Cira Pre-Game
Cira Pre-Game
Cira Pre-Game

Cira’s pre-workout formula contains eight primary ingredients: l-citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, l-tyrosine, 200mg of caffeine anhydrous, l-theanine, theobromine, and AstraGin, a proprietary blend of roots and herbs that promotes optimal absorption.

Who Should Buy Cira Pre-Game

  • Women who want a top-shelf pre-workout formula with proven pre-workout ingredients. 
  • Anyone who likes caffeinated pre-workouts. Pre-Game contains 200 milligrams of caffeine. 
  • People who appreciate and seek out unique flavors, like this product’s Peach Bellini, for example.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Cira Pre-Game

  • Men who want a pre-workout that’s marketed more toward them. 
  • People who desire a stim-free or caffeine-free pre-workout. 
  • This formula is missing creatine, which some athletes may prefer for its performance benefits. 

This women-centric formula is a complete pre-workout that anyone can take for more energy, focus — and if it’s your thing — muscle pumps. 

Best Pre-Workout for Men

It’s safe to assume many men are after more muscle and strength — and so it’s crucial to select a pre-workout with specific formulations to aid muscle- and strength-building while providing the focus needed for productive workouts.

Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel

Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel can help with strength training by reducing fatigue and enhancing exercise capacity. The l-citrulline malate 2:1 can help boost nitric oxide production, which can widen your blood vessels and increase blood flow to improve workouts, and beta-alanine can help decrease muscle fatigue so you can workout for longer. Aside from these two ingredients, Plantrise also includes l-tyrosine and l-theanine for a potential boost in cognitive performance, and caffeine, which can provide that jolt of energy people often look for right before a workout. However, this blend does not include creatine, which is an ingredient some people may look for in their pre-workout.

Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel
Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel
Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel

This simple formula facilitates health and hydration with minerals and nutrients such as calcium, sodium, iron, and potassium. Plus, it contains just five pre-workout-specific ingredients: citrulline malate, beta-alanine, caffeine, and l-theanine and l-tyrosine.

Who Should Buy Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel

  • Men who focus on strength training and want a specific formula that may help fight fatigue and allow them to train longer in the gym.
  • People who want a pre-workout with ingredients, like caffeine, meant to provide a jolt of energy. 
  • Anyone who wants a comprehensive list of ingredients geared toward focus in their pre-workout.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel

  • Anyone who wants a longer list of ingredients in their pre-workout.
  • Athletes who want more caffeine in their pre-workout, as this product only contains 150mg. 
  • Those who are looking for a dose of creatine included in their pre-workout. 

If you’re looking for a pre-workout that may help you ward off fatigue, increase blood flow for stronger pumps, and allow you to exercise for longer while at the gym, this pick has all the ingredients you need. 

Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss

The key to weight loss is consuming fewer calories than you burn, but is there a pre-workout that might offer a little extra help? Again, Transparent Labs is stepping up to the plate.

Disclaimer: Please note that none of these products describe themselves as weight loss supplements and should not be taken as such. Please consult with a medical professional before beginning any weight loss protocol.

Transparent Labs LEAN 

Transparent Labs LEAN has a lot of ingredients that you’ll also find in fat burners. A big one is synephrine, which a couple of studies found may increase the number of calories burned in a given day — an effect that may be enhanced by the hordenine that’s also present in this product. Some of the ingredients may also support thyroid health. Plus, it’s well-dosed with many other mainstay pre-workout ingredients like citrulline, beta-alanine, and theanine to help reduce the jitters from the caffeine.

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Transparent Labs Lean
Transparent Labs Lean
Transparent Labs Lean

Third-party tested and clearly dosed, Transparent Labs LEAN has a huge variety of ingredients for endurance, power, alertness, and focus. Use code BARBEND10 for 10% off.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs LEAN

  • Those who would like to potentially burn more calories from just ingesting a pre-workout alone.
  • People who avoid artificial ingredients — this product is free of artificial sweeteners and colors.
  • Folks who want four multiple flavors to choose from — this product comes in Green Apple, Sour Grape, Strawberry Lemonade, and Blue Raspberry. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs LEAN

  • For those who prefer big hits of caffeine; 180mg is a little over what you get in a small coffee.

While it’s a bit low in BCAAs, this is still a stand-out pre-workout that’s all-natural and might increase thermogenesis (aka the number of calories you’re burning).

Best Natural Pre-Workout

Don’t want artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors? Here’s one of our favorite options, which also takes a calculated approach to caffeine as well.

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport

While artificial sweeteners aren’t technically harmful, some folks do prefer steering clear. The good news is, pre-workouts such as Pre-Kaged Sports provide naturally flavored supplements without compromising the ingredient label. In addition to packing vitamins B6, B12, magnesium, and sodium (for hydration), Pre-Kaged also boasts tried-and-true ingredients such as beta-alanine, caffeine, and l-citrulline (for pumps). While some pre-workouts offer up to 300mg of caffeine or three and a half cups of coffee, Kaged Muscle takes a more calculated approach with their 188mg dose. 

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Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport

Hate the taste of chalky artificial sweeteners? Don't worry, this formula is specifically free of them. Use code BARBEND10 for 10% off your purchase. 

Who Should Buy Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport

  • People who don’t want artificial flavors in their pre-workout will appreciate that this product does not contain any. 
  • Those who want caffeine in their pre-workout but don’t want an extra three and a half cups worth of it (the average cup of joe contains around 100mg and this product only contains 188mg per dose). 
  • Athletes who value an added boost of B Vitamins, magnesium, and sodium in their pre-workout.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport

  • Individuals who don’t care about artificial flavors. That’s not to say this is an inferior product, because it’s quite the opposite. However, if you don’t mind artificial flavors, you have more options to choose from.

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport is, we think, the best pre-workout for all natural ingredients. For those who value a natural approach to flavored supplements, this should be an appealing pre-workout. 

Best Pre-Workout for Beginners

Pre-workout newbies may not necessarily want to inundate their system with a kitchen sink full of ingredients. This formula is basic and effective, making it beginner-friendly. 

Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel 

Plantrise’s formula has nine ingredients and only five pre-workout-specific additions. This formula facilitates health and hydration with minerals and nutrients such as calcium, sodium, iron, and potassium. The performance-focused inclusions are citrulline malate, which may help with blood flow; beta-alanine, which may help with endurance, caffeine, which may help with energy, and l-theanine and l-tyrosine, which may help with focus. Each ingredient is science-backed and proven, so anyone who’s just dipping their toes into “jolt juice” may feel less intimidated about taking a new supplement. 

Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel
Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel
Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel

This simple formula facilitates health and hydration with minerals and nutrients such as calcium, sodium, iron, and potassium. Plus, it contains just five pre-workout-specific ingredients: citrulline malate, beta-alanine, caffeine, and l-theanine and l-tyrosine.

Who Should Buy Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel

  • New pre-workout users who want something basic and effective will appreciate that the ingredients in this supplement are science-backed.
  • Anyone who prefers a pre-workout supplement with fewer primary ingredients. This product only contains nine ingredients total. 
  • People who want additional minerals and nutrients in their pre-workout.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Plantrise Pre-Workout Fuel

  • Anyone who wants a more extensive list of ingredients as this product only contains nine ingredients.
  • People who desire more caffeine — this formula contains 150mg, which, while still significant, is on the lower end of what you’ll find in most caffeinated pre-workouts. 
  • Folks who prefer a pre-workout with creatine — you won’t find any creatine in this pre-workout.

Though this may not be ideal for more super-elite athletes who might opt for more ingredients in their pre-workout, Plantrise has formulated a simple yet effective pre-workout that beginners and supplement minimalists can enjoy. 

Best Pre-Workout for Pumps

Getting a “pump” in your workout means you’re increasing blood flow to a muscle, and some research suggests it might not just be an aesthetic benefit — it might help with hypertrophy and muscle soreness as well. This pick’s ingredients can help facilitate pumps by increasing blood flow to your muscles.

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

Targeting a specific muscle, like your biceps, increases blood flow to that area. Certain ingredients, such as l-citrulline, facilitate blood vessel dilation for more optimal flow — and Kaged Muscle’s “Pro-Pump” matrix, comprising solely of 6.5 grams of l-citrulline (the high-end of the recommended dose) will prime your body for better pumps. Yes, you’ll look more swole, but you’ll also flood a specific body part with nutrient-rich blood to streamline muscle recovery for better overall results. Studies have shown that blood flow to a particular limb does, in fact, help that area recover more efficiently. (2)

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged®
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged®
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged®

This pre-workout supplement comes in a 20-serving tub and provides L-Citrulline, L-Leucine, and L-Valine, to name a few, per 20-calorie scoop. There are seven flavors available including Grape, Fruit Punch, and Krisp Apple.

Who Should Buy Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

  • Athletes who want to prioritize blood flow to a specific muscle during their workout will appreciate the l-citrulline in this supplement.
  • People who like to look pumped. Bodybuilders, for example, may want to look more full and pumped before stepping on stage. 
  • Cardio junkies — the l-citrulline in this product may also facilitate muscular endurance.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

  • Anyone who wants a pre-workout that has more than 20 servings per bottle — you’ll have to re-stock often if you use this product daily.
  • Folks who don’t value this extensive list of ingredients may be able to find a less expensive option out there. 

Those looking for a formula containing l-citrulline will be pleased with the high 6.5-gram dose serving in this pick — it’s ideal for bodybuilders, cardio endurance athletes, and strength trainers alike who want to potentially increase blood flow to help with their performance (or even aesthetic appearance) in their sport.

Best Stim-Free Pre-Workouts

You don’t need to be bouncing off the walls to have an effective workout. Plenty of gym-goers prefer a pre-workout free of caffeine and other stimulants that may cause unwanted jitters and a subsequent crash.

Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

On paper, Transparent Labs’ Stim-Free Pre-Workout has most of the ingredients found in pre-workouts with stimulants, minus caffeine. There are BCAAs for muscle maintenance, taurine and l-tyrosine for mental focus, citrulline malate for pumps, and then a few unique additions — BioPerine® that may enhance bioavailability, ElevATP® that may improve ATP production; and Huperzine A that may support brain health. Plus, it comes in five colors — Tropical Punch, Orange, Sour Grape, Blue Raspberry, and Green Apple.

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Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout
Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout
Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

An unusually powerful preworkout that's packed with clinically effective doses of ingredients linked to everything from power to endurance. All of this without the use of caffeine or other stimulants. Save 10% by using code BARBEND10.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

  • Anyone who does not want caffeine or other stimulants in their pre-workout should really appreciate this thoughtful, stim-free formula. 
  • People who want traditional pre-workout ingredients, along with more unique additions like BioPerine® and ElevATP®. 
  • This product’s label is great for those who like transparent dosing — with Transparent Labs, you know how much of each ingredient you’re ingesting without any proprietary blends.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

  • Lifters who prefer stimulants in their pre-workout will want to look for a product with caffeine. 
  • Anyone who wants creatine in their pre-workout. This does contain ElevATP, which facilitates ATP production like creatine, but it’s not apples to apples. 
  • People who want more nutrients and/or minerals in their pre-workout. 

Stimulants aren’t the end-all-be-all for a pre-workout supplement. You can get a fine workout without them, and Transparent Labs’ formula is proof of that.

Best Pre-Workout for Running

Compared to lifting, running requires endurance and stamina. For those reasons, you want a pre-workout that prioritizes ingredients that stimulate long-term energy, focus, and performance. 

Xwerks Ignite

Runners chasing more miles and improved focus will prize Xwerks’ science-backed ingredient list. This formula notably includes calcium and magnesium lactate which, despite broad claims that lactic acid is a hindrance to performance, have been shown to bolster endurance. (3) There’s also DMAE (Dimethylethanolamine), a compound that may improve brain health by increasing the production of the chemical acetylcholine, caffeine that can help stimulate performance, and vitamins B6 and B12 that may help maintain healthy energy levels. 

Xwerks Ignite
Xwerks Ignite
Xwerks Ignite

This pre-workout includes calcium and magnesium lactate, which have been shown to bolster endurance. Plus, it contains vitamins B6 and B12 that may help maintain healthy energy levels. 

Who Should Buy Xwerks Ignite

  • Runners who want to enhance their endurance capabilities and mental focus. 
  • Folks who like ingredients that may help them “focus” during hard runs, as this contains l-tyrosine, DMAE, and the herb rhodiola rosea (which may have neuroprotective properties).
  • People who like products backed by research. Xwerks backs up the inclusion of most ingredients, specifically lactate acid, with citations to notable journals. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Xwerks Ignite

  • People who don’t love the “tingly” feeling from a lot of beta-alanine. This contains 1.5 grams of it.
  • Runners or lifters who don’t want caffeine. Though the 150mg dose is modest, it’s still equivalent to about a cup and a half of coffee.

Xwerks’ thoughtfully designed blend promotes the endurance and energy that runners — both veterans and newbies alike — will appreciate. 

Best Tasting Pre-Workout

With any supplement, it helps greatly if you can stomach the taste? If you’re seeking a palatable pre-workout, then this pick is for you.

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

Kaged offers up both a laundry list of clinically-dosed ingredients that bolster performance and seven tasty flavors — Cherry Bomb, Pink Lemonade, Grape, Fruit Punch, Berry Blast, Krisp Apple, and Orange Krush. Pre-Kaged is free of artificial colors and dyes and flavored naturally. This product is also third-party tested and free of banned substances. However, it only comes with 20 servings per bottle, so those who like to buy their supplements in bulk may need to look elsewhere. 

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged®
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged®
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged®

This pre-workout supplement comes in a 20-serving tub and provides L-Citrulline, L-Leucine, and L-Valine, to name a few, per 20-calorie scoop. There are seven flavors available including Grape, Fruit Punch, and Krisp Apple.

Who Should Buy Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

  • Folks who want a pre-workout that tastes great and has a variety of flavor options. This product comes in seven different flavors.
  • Athletes and/or strength sports competitors who need to rely on a substance-free and third-party-tested supplement.
  • Anyone who values natural flavorings and products free of dyes will like that this pre-workout is free of both.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

  • Anyone who doesn’t want the taste of a product to be the primary deciding factor in their pre-workout selection. 
  • Penny pinchers. At just 20 servings per bottle, this is one of the more expensive picks per serving. 

Pre-Kaged offers up a bold formula with even bolder flavor choices for anyone who’s tired of the same conveyor belt of flavors on the market. 

Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain

There’s a difference between a pre-workout that energizes you and a pre-workout that contains ingredients proven to boost performance. We found the latter in Pre Lab Pro. 

Pre Lab Pro

What makes this a premium pick for those who like to toss around heavy iron is the added red beetroot powder — a supplement that may help increase blood flow and nitric oxide production in the body. On top of this, Pre Lab Pro boasts caffeine, tyrosine, theanine, B vitamins, vitamin D3, potassium, and iron. Plus, you’ll find a dose of Himalayan pink sea salt for a potential boost in electrolytes for hydration. You can buy this product in a 20-scoop tub of Natural Berry Flavor powder. 

Pre Lab Pro
Pre Lab Pro
Pre Lab Pro

Pre Lab Pro contains red beetroot powder, which may help with blood flow for better pumps. This pre-workout is taken in powder form, and comes in a Natural Berry Flavor. 

Who Should Buy Pre Lab Pro

  • Muscle-bound athletes who want a pre-workout designed to help with blood flow may appreciate the red beetroot powder in this supplement.
  • People who want Himalayan pink sea salt in their pre-workout for a potential boost in electrolytes before their session.
  • Folks who prefer to take a pre-workout in powder form, rather than pill form.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Pre Lab Pro

  • Those who already take a nitric oxide supplement and don’t need more in their supplement stack.
  • People who would prefer to take their pre-workout in pill form.

If you’re looking to gain a lot of muscle, you need to train hard — this specific formula primes you for tough training sessions so you can leave it all in the gym. 

Best Vegan Pre-Workout 

If you’re following a vegan diet, it can be more difficult to find a pre-workout that caters to your dietary restrictions. Plant-based eaters can rest assured that there are pre-workout supps on the market free of any and all animal-based products — this pick is one of the best. 

Xwerks Ignite

It’s common to see animal products in pre-workouts such as gelatin (used for consistency), lanolin, which is often found in Vitamin D3, and bee pollen (usually touted as a “superfood”). Xwerks contains none of these ingredients and instead relies on silica as a gelatin replacement. Aside from that change, Xwerks is a standard pre-workout with a research-backed, full-bodied ingredient list to hone focus, bolster endurance, and provide long-lasting energy sans the crash and jitters. However, this product is a little pricier than some others you may find on this list. 

Xwerks Ignite
Xwerks Ignite
Xwerks Ignite

This pre-workout includes calcium and magnesium lactate, which have been shown to bolster endurance. Plus, it contains vitamins B6 and B12 that may help maintain healthy energy levels. 

Who Should Buy Xwerks Ignite

  • Vegans who want a pre-workout that’s completely free of animal products.
  • Anyone who appreciates transparent dosing and proven ingredients.
  • Folks who prefer fruity flavors will like that this pre is available in Green Apple, Orange, Blue Raspberry, and Watermelon.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Xwerks Ignite

  • Folks who don’t want to be limited by vegan-only products — there are many pre-workouts that aren’t vegan-friendly.
  • People who want creatine in a pre-workout — this product does not contain creatine. 
  • Those who are watching their wallet may find this pre-workout is a little spendy compared to other products on this list. 

You don’t need to forgo pre-workouts if you’re a vegan, you just need to know what brands ditch animal products in their formulas, and Xwerks is one of our top picks. 

Best Thermogenic Pre-Workout 

So you’re in a fat loss phase, and you want everything you eat to support that goal? You really just need to be eating the right number of calories and macros, but if you’re curious about thermogenic ingredients like cayenne pepper for fat loss, consider the following. 

Evlution Nutrition Engn Shred 

Evlution Nutrition Engn Shred was our favorite pr