What’s the Best Pre-Workout Supplement Powder on the Market: Top 5 Reviews & Buying Guide

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Welcome to the Vital Repz Pre Workout Supplement roundup.

About seven years ago I tried my first pre workout supplement. The buzz was so intense that I stayed in the gym for almost 3 hours. I was training back that day.

When I got home, I ordered another tub. But this time I bought a more explosive supplement — one that would make my workouts even more unbelievable.

Fast forward 7 years to 2019 and I've still never drunk a cup of coffee...but I sure do know a thing or two about what makes the best pre workout supplement.

The Best Pre Workout Reviews And Recommendations

Here it is. The top pre-workouts reviewed, scrutinized, and ranked. You'll find out where each product excels — and where it falls short — before I pick an overall winner.

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Supplement

Best of the Best

#1 Old School Labs Vintage Blast

A two-stage energy blend which may reduce crashes. Uses ingredients to boost strength, pump & endurance.


The Budget Choice

#2 Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion

Caters for both energy and strength. A good choice for beginners or those with lower caffeine needs.


The Strongest Pre Workout

#3 legion Athletics Pulse

Intense creatine-free formula with 350 mg of caffeine. Includes 8g of citrulline to promote muscle pumps & recovery.


Best For Pumps

#4 Kaged Muscle Pre Kaged

Uses pure l-citrulline powder for better intra-set pumps. Also includes coconut water for hydration.


Strong Formula but has proprietary blend

#5 BSN N.O Xplode

Contains 275 mg of caffeine for more intra-workout intensity. Also has creatine which isn't to everyone's liking.

Supplement Details

#1 Vintage Blast

Best Overall

Our Rating

Why We Picked It

  • Two-stage pre-workout for longer lasting energy
  • 5g of citrulline malate for better muscle pumps
  • Third-party tested

#2 Six Star Explosion

Best Value

Our Rating

Why We Picked It

  • Caters to pumps and strength
  • A sensible choice for beginners
  • 10 more servings than Vintage Blast

#3 Legion Pulse

The Strongest Pre-Workout

Our Rating

Why We Picked It

  • 350 mg of caffeine for intense energy
  • Uses l-theanine which may reduce crashes
  • 8g of citrulline malate for intra-workout pumps

#4 Pre Kaged

Best For Pumps

Our Rating

Why We Picked It

  • Uses pure l-citrulline to amp up muscle pumps
  • Certified by Informed Choice
  • Naturally Flavored

#5 NO Xplode

Strong formula but we preferred Legion

Our Rating

Why We Picked It

  • 60 servings
  • Uses creatine for increasing strength

#1 Vintage Blast — Best Overall Supplement

Vintage blast two-stage pre workout is one of the most popular and based on our testing, one of the best pre-workout supplements currently available.

Being the world's first two-stage pre-workout, Vintage Blast utilizes two types of caffeine — anhydrous and micro encapsulated caffeine — to provide a more intense energy boost than usual while concurrently fighting off the crash..

With a 250 mg caffeine total, it is fit for both beginners and advanced supplement users who want to experience more consistent energy levels during their training sessions.

Containing citrulline and d-aspartic acid, Vintage Blast will make you feel powerful in the gym while also speeding up recovery afterward.

L-arginine, another main ingredient, enhances the supplements ability to create a better pump in your muscles, making them look more vascular and fluffed.

If our Experience with Vintage Blast is anything to go by, then you can also enjoy noticeable improvements in focus, recovery, and intra-workout energy. What's more, it is formulated in California and made in the USA, while also being third-party tested for quality.


#2 Six Star Explosion Pre Workout — The Budget Choice

Ranking highly among the top products, Six Star Explosion has a fantastic entry level formula that packs strength, pump, and energy into one supplement.

The combination of creatine, caffeine, and arginine help Six Star Explosion to outperform many competitors who offer a more limited range of ingredients.

Thanks to having an inexpensive price point, compared to other supplements we have tried, it is a great pre-workout supplement for beginners seeking an energy boost that won't tip you over the edge.

Based on our testing, we feel that Six Star Pre Workout Explosion offers the best value for money out of the top 5.


#3 Legion Pulse — The Best High Caffeine

With five mouth-watering flavors to choose from, Legion Pulse shines in more ways than one. Let's start with the ingredient list.

You can see that it's stocked full of goodies including 350 mg of caffeine, 4.8g of beta-alanine, and a staggering 8g of l-citrulline.

This is a high-stimulant pre-workout, so if you're sensitive to caffeine, you should choose something with a lower stimulant content.

That said, some users noted how they didn't feel as much energy as expected, while others described it as overstimulating — I guess it's hard to please everyone when it comes pre-workouts.

As for value, each tub has 21 servings — seems a little low, doesn't it? However, Legion Pulse contains practically double the dosages of many competitors that we reviewed. This is great if you don't like too many stims — you could use half a scoop and get 42 servings!

Click on the link for our full review of Legion Pulse if you'd like more information.


#4 Pre-Kaged — Pump And Vascularity

The easy-mixing Pre-KAGED pre-workout from Kaged Muscle caters to pump, focus, and vascularity with 6.5g of l-citrulline and 274 mg of caffeine from green coffee beans.

Adding to the arsenal of ingredients is 3.5g of BCAAs and 3g of Leucine. This is as many amino acids as regular BCAA supplements, meaning there's no need for you to take intra-workout bcaas while you're using Pre-Kaged.

As for taste, there are four flavors to choose from — Krisp Apple, Fruit Punch, Berry Blast, and Orange Krush. Although many users enjoyed the taste, for some, it was just too sweet.

At a glance, Pre Kaged doesn't seem like fantastic value with only 20 servings per tub. However, if you only use it on hard workout days, it can last a long time. And, unlike many competitors, you just need to take a single scoop to get the benefits.


#5 BSN NO Xplode

As a brand, BSN has created some of the most known supplements in the industry, with their signature pre workout having been on the shelves since 2004. Now in it's new re-engineered form, it packs more of a punch than ever before.

The greatest thing about bsn no xplode is that it has a potent formula.

Rated as one of the best tasting and one of the most potent supplements during our testing, we enjoyed the explosive energy boost, thanks to the combination of caffeine and creatine. But despite our results, we don't feel like it is as good as the other supplements because it uses a proprietary blend.

However, we found the product to do what it claims, holding its own against the best in the business. And for those that have a high caffeine tolerance, BSN may well have the supplement to heighten your senses.


Other Supplement Reviews

Here is a list of some of our recent reviews of the top rated workout supplements.

The 5 Boxes Your Pre-Workout Must Check

Let's take a look at the what exactly makes a pre-workout supplement excellent or not so excellent. Like a scientist uses data, I use these metrics during the research phase to assess the effectiveness of each product.

Quality Of Ingredients

If there's one place I've seen questionable ingredients, it's on the label of pre-workout supplements. I think this is because supplement users demand stronger, fierier pre-workouts than before, which inevitably leads to more unreliable products.

For me, the best products have simple ingredients. This means that while the ingredient label may not look as extensive as other products; it's perhaps much more comprehensive. How?

Let me explain. A supplement may have 30 ingredients — that's great. But if all of those ingredients are underdosed — and not backed by science — your workout won't get much of a boost (though it may give you a heck of a placebo!).

Like I say, if your pre-workout keeps the ingredients well-dosed and simplistic, you're likely using a useful product. 

Taste

We all have different preferences when it comes to flavors, so nothing is guaranteed when choosing a new one. But generally, you want to base flavor selection on your choices with real food.

Can't stand strawberries?

Then buy orange or pink lemonade instead.

Or, if you're entirely not sure which to buy, you can go with the tried and tested — but not so scientific method that we call “sticking with fruit punch”.

Mixability

From my experience, pre-workouts are one of the best mixing supplements there is. In fact, I've never had a powder that didn't mix.

Even if you have noodle arms, your mixture should still liquify as effortlessly as an empty barbell being squatted up and down. But if a few mere seconds of shaking sounds like too much cardio, then feel free to employ a spoon as the head mixer for a while.  

Value For Money

Assessing value is easy. All you need to do is look at the number of nutrients in an individual serving — easily found on the back of the tub. The higher the dose you can get per serving, the fewer scoops you will have to take — meaning you save money.

Another method you can use is this:

Take the price of the product. Then, divide that by the number of serving. There you have another estimation of value.

Is it Stackable?

Pre-workouts are easy to integrate into your supplement stack. They can be mixed with creatine and taken before bcaas — without any trouble.

But the one thing you should keep an eye on, though, is your caffeine intake. If you're already drinking an energy drink or a heavy coffee drinker, expect a reduced boost from your pre-workout. In this case, your pre workout is less "stackable" because it doesn't integrate with your lifestyle.

The 3 Best Types of Pre Workout You Need To Try

Let's take a look at the types of pre-workouts that are on the market and see what the pros and cons are of each one.

High-Stim

It's my best guess that most seasoned lifters opt for high stimulant pre-workouts.

This usually means a hefty dose of caffeine although newer supplements may include different kinds of stimulants in their formulas. But for what my money's worth, caffeine is by far the most tried and tested stimulant.

Whether a product is really "high stim" or not depends on your personal caffeine tolerance. If you've been using pre workout powders for years without a break because you're addicted you love the feeling, then you may well need to take a stronger supplement even to feel a thing.

On the other hand, if you only use pre workout supplements sparingly, you could get a great buzz from just a moderate 100 mg - 200 mg dose of caffeine.

But for most people though, a 300 mg dose of caffeine in a single sitting is right around the high-stim mark.

Balanced Ingredients

Not everyone enjoys feeling amped up on the strongest pre-workouts available. But that doesn't mean you'll be banished onto BCAAs — you can still enjoy the pleasant energy boost, without feeling overstimulated.

A moderate dose of caffeine up to around 200mg gives you many of the benefits a higher dose brings but with less chance of developing a tolerance. If you gain a strong tolerance, you won't feel any benefits. And besides, there's more to pre-workouts than caffeine.

Caffeine-Free

Zero-stim pre-workouts may not give you the same energy buzz as high-stim supplements. However, that isn't to say they're wrong. By ditching the caffeine, you get to appreciate the ingredients that can supercharge your performance in other ways.

You don't need to feel a particular ingredient for it to work. Citrulline is famed for giving bodybuilders a great pump, but you don't get a sharp focus from it. It's the same story with creatine. You don't feel it, but it can make you feel as strong as an ox.

Conclusion

For me, the best pre-workout supplement that's currently available is Vintage Blast. While it was hard decision to choose an overall winner, we feel that Old School Labs offer a supplement that is not too extreme, but intense enough that you feel its effects, physically and mentally, while you’re training.

The fact that it contains two forms of caffeine, something which none of the other contenders could offer, makes it a good choice for those seeking a slightly less extreme, but more consistent flow of energy.

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Jonathan Abbott
Jonathan Abbott
Jonathan is a long time fitness enthusiast who specializes in helping others reach their goals faster with the most up to date sports science. When he's not working, you'll find him challanging his body with heavy squats and deadlifts.