Getting a huge pump at the gym is one of the most sought-after goals for bodybuilders, weightlifters, and other athletes alike.
Unfortunately, not everyone can get a great pump at every workout. Maybe you’ve even been frustrated lately with this exact problem. Your muscles don’t feel as full, and it’s getting harder and harder to get the blood flowing properly.
And this isn’t just a vanity thing either. Because pumps can lead to better performance too, not just looks!
Fortunately, pump supplements can do wonders for muscle pumps, as long as they’re high-quality!
And in this article, we’re covering the top pre-workout supplements to help get you optimal pumps and workout performance. Let’s dive in!
Best Pre-Workouts for Pumps
There are so many pump pre-workouts out there, many of which are solid. But our overall top four pre-workouts for pumps are:
- Gorilla Mode Nitric
- Chemix King of Pumps
- Godzilla Pre-Workout
- Ghost Pump
Keep reading to learn why each of these supplements earned a top spot.
Gorilla Mode Nitric
Our top pre-workout for pumps based on overall formulation is Gorilla Mode Nitric. Each scoop delivers 5,000mg of citrulline for nitric oxide production and pumps, as well as other pump-boosting compounds such as Betaine, Nitrosigine, and VasoDrive-AP. These are all designed to boost blood flow, muscle cell hydration, and other aspects critical to a solid muscle pump.
Gorilla Mode Nitric is also stim-free and also comes in 15 flavors, such as Strawberry Kiwi, Pina Colada, and Cotton Candy Grape. And it’s made in a cGMP facility.
Chemix King of Pumps
If you’re looking for a pump pre-workout with maxed out doses, Chemix King of Pumps is your go-to. This formula contains 6g of citrulline, 5g of betaine, and 3g of Glycerpump in each scoop.
These compounds, along with others such as VasoDrive-AP, are designed to ramp up nitric oxide and vasodilation, along with muscle hydration, to give you sleeve-splitting pumps.
Chemix King of Pumps is also made in an FDA-registered, cGMP facility and is available for $49.99 (20 servings).
Ryse Godzilla Pre-Workout
Best for Total Workout Performance
Some people want to maximize all-around workout performance, not just pumps. And for these individuals, Ryse Godzilla Pre-Workout is best.
The Godzilla Pre-Workout formula contains a high level of pump ingredients, including 5.5g of citrulline and 2.5g of betaine per scoop. But there are many other ingredients such as caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, and theobromine. These may provide added effects for energy, muscle endurance, strength, and total workout performance.
It’s priced a bit high at $56.99 but you get 40 servings per container (if taking one scoop).
Top-notch pump pre-workouts can sometimes get expensive, but Ghost Pump is the best choice for a mix of quality and value. Each scoop provides 3,000mg of citrulline and 1,500 mg of NO3-T arginine nitrate, which is a great combo for nitric oxide and pump maximization.
This formula also adds a variety of antioxidant compounds such as vitamin C and glutathione that may further support muscle pumps while also enhancing recovery.
You won’t break the bank either since Ghost Pump is $39.99 for 40 servings, with subscription savings available too.
What is a Pump Pre-Workout?
Pump pre-workouts are supplements designed to specifically maximize muscle pumps. They typically include a variety of ingredients that either increase nitric oxide and blood flow, enhance muscle hydration, and/or help shuttle nutrients into the muscles.
Together, these effects are means to increase muscle cell volume and maximize muscular pumps.
Many lifters and bodybuilders tend to take pump pre-workouts in order to achieve more blood flow and pumps when training. This is not only for aesthetics either, as getting more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the muscles may enhance performance and recovery.
There are many different pump supplements available now, either as solely pump-based pre-workouts or as a comprehensive pre-workout for overall performance. Many times these are stim-free, but some contain caffeine and other stimulants.
Pump Pre-Workout Benefits
At first glance, some people may think that wanting to get a pump is just an egotistical, vain desire. However, there are actually quite a few possible benefits of pump pre-workouts, not just for looks.
These potential benefits are:
- Enhanced Blood Flow/NO2 Production
- Improved Workout Performance
- More Strength & Muscle
- Better Recovery
Enhanced Blood Flow/NO2 Production
One of the possible benefits of pump pre-workouts is increased blood flow/nitric oxide (NO2) production.
A lot of pre-workouts include citrulline, arginine, or other related compounds that boost nitric oxide levels. This can cause vasodilation, which is a widening of the blood vessels, which then leads to improved blood flow.
This not only leads to improved blood flow to the muscles but also total body circulation.
Improved Endurance & Workout Performance
Pump pre-workouts can also improve workout performance. By enhancing muscle cell hydration, blood flow, and other aspects, these supplements may assist in bringing vital nutrients and oxygen to the muscles during your workouts.
In particular, citrulline and arginine seem to be best for this purpose, but betaine and nitrates are great too.
This may lead to greater energy, muscular endurance, and less fatigue. Another potential benefit, while not as direct, is increased motivation that can result from seeing a greater pump.
You may be motivated to work harder when seeing that your muscles are pumped and primed up.
More Strength & Muscle
Progressive overload with heavy weights over time is the most important factor for muscle growth. However, getting a pump during training may actually support muscle growth and strength adaptations due to the stress placed on the muscles and other systems.
And since pump pre-workouts enhance this process, they may further assist in muscle growth and strength increases.
You may not initially think of pre-workouts as good for recovery. After all, isn’t that where post-workouts come in?
But pump pre-workouts may actually improve recovery via the same blood flow/pump mechanisms mentioned. Specifically, citrulline, arginine, and other ingredients may enhance blood flow and nutrients to the muscles. This can help clear metabolic waste after a workout while also shuttling nutrients more efficiently to the muscles for recovery.
You may notice things such as reduced soreness and less time needed to recover.
How to Choose the Best Pump Pre-Workout
In order to choose the best pump pre-workout for you, there are some important considerations.
First, think about whether you want just strictly a pump supplement, or one that enhances other aspects of workout performance.
If you’re just looking for pumps, a more basic formula with main pump ingredients such as citrulline and arginine is likely enough.
But if you want pumps plus additional workout benefits, you’ll want to get other ingredients such as betaine, creatine, beta-alanine, and caffeine.
The last ingredient there leads to our next point: stimulants. Many people prefer stim-free pump supplements, in which case you need to make sure there isn’t any caffeine or other stimulants.
But we also know many people who DO want caffeine and other stims alongside the pump ingredients, so just be sure to check the label.
Today, there are plenty of both stim and non-stim options.
Another very important thing to consider is the dosage. With pump ingredients, the dose is especially important. That’s why you want to look for supplements with the minimum following amounts:
- Citrulline: 3,000mg
- Citrulline malate: 5,000mg
- Arginine: 1,500mg
- Betaine: 2,000mg
Also, make sure the supplements are made in a cGMP, FDA-registered facility. And consider whether you need to exclude artificial colors, flavors, or other artificial ingredients. Not to mention allergens. It always pays to check the label, and then check it again!
Additional Information (FAQ)
The last part of this article contains additional important information on pump pre-workouts, including if they work, who should use them, safety info, and how to best take them.
Do Pump Pre-Workouts Work?
As with any supplement, the effectiveness depends on the formulation. But if you choose a high-quality pump pre-workout (like the four we’ve listed) they have a high chance of working.
Individual results will always vary, of course. But there is a lot of solid evidence out there now which shows that citrulline, arginine, betaine, and other key ingredients do, in fact, work for boosting blood flow, endurance, exercise performance, and even recovery.
Just keep in mind that the benefits are typically not MASSIVE. The effects are subtler, but still positive. And any small boost can make a difference over time.
Are Pump Pre-Workouts Stim-Free?
Some are, but not all. If a supplement is advertised as only a pump product, then it’s likely stim-free.
But sometimes, pump pre-workouts have additional ingredients, including caffeine and other stimulants, to enhance other aspects of your workout. Be sure to always check the label.
Who Should Take Pump Pre-Workouts?
Any lifter, bodybuilder, or other trainee looking to enhance muscle pumps and performance could take a pump pre-workout.
Just be aware that, if you’re an athlete in a competitive organization, you have to make sure there aren’t any banned ingredients. Pump pre-workouts are generally adherent to the banned substances lists, but not always.
Are There Side Effects?
Pump pre-workouts have possible side effects, just like any supplement. Depending on the exact formulation, these supplements may lead to:
- Upset Stomach
- Water retention
- Changes in blood pressure
Can I Take Pump Pre-Workouts Every Day/Every Workout?
Yes. For most people, pump pre-workouts seem to be fine when taken every day or on every day that you workout. (We don’t recommend taking it on non-workout days “just because”.)
Of course, if you take a pump supplement that also has stimulants, this may lead to tolerance over time. So this is just something to be aware of. In fact, tolerance could potentially develop with any ingredient, although it’s most likely with stimulants.
What Can I Stack With a Pump Pre-Workout?
Pump Pre-Workouts can be stacked with a few different supplements, depending on the exact formulation.
If you have just a pure pump formula, you may be able to stack with stimulant-based pre-workouts and/or comprehensive pre-workout formulas.
Pump Pre-Workouts can also be taken with creatine.