The Best Pre Workouts for Pump and Vascularity of 2021

Best Pre Workouts for Pump and Vascularity

Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger famously claimed that getting a pump was better than having sex in 1977’s Pumping Iron, gymgoers the world over have been chasing that blood-gorging sensation through their workouts.

Arnold may have been slightly overstating matters, but there is no doubt that a great pump feels fantastic. And the vein popping vascularity that comes with it looks awesome. So it’s no wonder that people want a pre-workout that will get you pumped and vascular as it boosts your energy levels.

A Quick Overview of The Top 3

The 3 best pre-workouts to get an awesome pump and bring out your vascularity are:

Dr Jekyll Nitro X

  • Low stimulant levels
  • Ideal for women
  • 1500 mg citrulline
  • 2500 mg beta-alanine

4 Gauge Pre-Workout

  • 6g L-Citrulline
  • Great pump effect
  • No crash

Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout

  • High in Citrulline
  • Pump inducing
  • 10 favors

The 11 Best Pre-Workouts for Pump and Vascularity:

Below we bring you the 10 best pre-workouts for promoting pump and vascularity.

Pros:

  • Low stimulant levels
  • Ideal for women
  • 1500 mg citrulline
  • 2500 mg beta-alanine

Cons:

  • Doesn’t mix well

Dr Jekyll Nitro X is a good option for female trainers who are after a great pump and vascularity effect from their workouts. That is because it provides lower levels of its key ingredients than the best pump boosters for men. You get 1500 mg of citrulline per dose, along with 2500 mg of beta-alanine, and 1000 mg of creatine hydrochloride. It is not heavy in stimulants, which is another plus for women. 

Dr Jekyll comes in the following flavors:

  • Blue Razz Popsicle
  • Pixie Dust
  • Lollipop Punch
  • What-O-Melon.

Mixability with Dr Jekyll Nitro X is not as good as it could be, so you’ll want to use a blender bottle or blender to get a smooth consistency.

Pros:

  • 6 g L-Citrulline
  • Great pump effect
  • No crash

Cons:

  • Expensive

4 Gauge is a relatively new pre-workout that sets itself apart from all of the other pre-workouts on the market. The packaging for this product looks like a shotgun cartridge, with the product being in tablet form. This image is enhanced with the official website where, every time you click on a link, a bullet hole appears! 

4 Gauge provides you with the following key ingredients:

  • Caffeine
  • L-Theanine
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • L-Citrulline
  • Red Beet Extract
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • Coconut Water powder

In terms of boosting your pump effect and bringing out your vascularity, the key thing to note here is that you get 6 grams of L-Citrulline. This is double the daily recommended amount, which makes 4 Gauge the most effective thing you can take to get pumped.

A 20 tablet of 4 Gauge will cost you $45 from the official website. However, if you buy 3 capsules for $135, you will get an extra 20 tablets for free.

Pros:

  • High in Citrulline
  • Pump inducing
  • 10 favors

Cons:

  • 2 scoops are required for maximum dosage

Gorilla Mode Pre Workout is a new entry into the supplement market from the guys behind the popular More Plates more Dates website. This product contains a dozen key ingredients. A single scoop measures 15.2 grams, with a 2 scoop serving giving you 30.4 grams. There are 40 single servings in each tub.

Gorilla Mode gives you 4.5 grams of Citrulline. This is the major pump-promoting ingredient in the product. Other ingredients and dosages include:

  • Creatine Monohydrate – 2.5 grams
  • GlycerPump (glycerol powder) – 1500 mg
  • Malic Acid – 1500 mg
  • Betaine Anhydrous – 1250 mg
  • Caffeine Anhydrous – 175 mg

Gorilla Mode comes in 10 flavors. A 40 serving tub costs $49 from the official website.

Pros:

  • Powerful pump effect
  • Energy boost
  • High in electrolytes

Cons:

  • Expensive

Legion Pulse is a high dosage pre-workout that is designed to seriously enhance your training energy and promote a strong pump effect. Each serving is 2 scoops of the powder, giving your 8 grams of citrulline malate, 4.8 grams of beta-alanine, and 2 grams of taurine. You also get 6% of the daily recommended allowance for the electrolytes sodium and potassium. 

You also get 350 mg of caffeine anhydrous in Legion Pulse, which is pretty high. In fact, all of the ingredients are on the high side, so there is a likelihood that you will have a reaction to it if you are sensitive. This product is sold in a 21 serving tub, which sells for $40.

Pros:

  • Stimulant free
  • 5 g L-Citrulline
  • Well priced

Cons:

  • Contains artificial sweeteners.

Pump Surge is a completely stimulant-free pre-workout. That means that there is no caffeine in this product. Instead, you get 5 grams of L-Citrulline, 50 mcg of Huperzine A, and 150 mg of Alpha GPC. This is an effective stimulant-free pump and vascularity inducer that is quite well priced. A 20 serving tub will cost you $25. It comes in some tasty flavors and mixes well. 

Pros:

  • 4g Citrulline
  • Stim free
  • Great muscle pumps

Cons:

  • Not a great energy booster

Cellucor NO3 Ultimate is another stimulant-free pre-workout that is high in L-Citrulline to deliver a great pump effect during your workout. You get 4000 mg of citrulline, along with 1.5 of Nitrosigine, one gram of arginine AKG, and 500 mg of arginine nitrate. 

Twenty minutes into your workout you will experience a mind-blowing pump as a result of taking this pre-workout. This product is primarily designed to deliver intense pumps and it does that very well. If you are primarily interested in getting an energy boost from your workouts, then you will want another pre-workout. But, if you’re after an awesome stimulant-free pre-workout, then Cellucor NO3 Ultimate should definitely be on your list. 

Pros:

  • Capsule form
  • Good pump and vascularity effect
  • 5 blends

Cons:

  • Proprietary blends

Animal Pump from Universal Nutrition is a rare example of a pre-workout that comes in capsule form. That means that you don’t have to mess around with mixing up powders. There are 5 different proprietary blends in this product, each one designed to focus on a specific training effect. These include energy-boosting, pump promoting, and focus enhancing. As such, this product tries to cover all of your pre-workout training bases. 

Animal Pump does a good job when it comes to pump promotion, vascularity, and energy enhancement. However, it is a bit weak in terms of mental focus. This product also features proprietary blends so that you don’t know what the exact dosages are on some key ingredients.

Pros:

  • 5g citrulline
  • Slow-release caffeine
  • Powerful ump effect

Cons:

  • Expensive

Vintage Burst by Old School Labs provides you with two stages of ingredients, which they call ‘Start Strong’ and ‘Finish Strong.’ Stage One provides you with 5g of citrulline malate, 1g of beta-alanine, 1g of l-arginine AKG, and 150mg of caffeine. Stage Two gives you 2g of d-aspartic acid, 250mg of n-acetyl l-tyrosine, and 100mg of micro-encapsulated caffeine.

Micro-encapsulated caffeine is not often used in a pre-workout. It provides a slower release of caffeine to produce a longer-lasting energy surge. The 5 grams of citrulline will definitely produce a noticeable pump effect during your workout. 

A 20 serving container of Vintage Burst will cost you $38. That works out to about $1.80 per serve, which is pretty expensive. It is currently available in just Blueberry Lemonade.

Pros:

  • Great pump effect
  • Effective fat burner
  • Mixes well

Cons:

  • Limited flavor range

The first thing that stands out about PreSeries Lean is that Transparent Labs actually live up to their name. By listing everything in their product, along with dosages they offer complete transparency. That is a surprising rarity in this industry.

The ingredient list provides an impressive array of proven fat burners and pump inducers. Just check out the top six:

  • Citrulline Malate 2:1
  • BetaPure Betaine Anhydrous
  • Beta-Alanine
  • Chromium
  • BioPerine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous

Each of these ingredients has research to substantiate its training potential. Simply put, this product really works as a fat-burning pump promoter, with thousands of online testimonials to that effect. It comes in Green Apple and Blue Raspberry, both of which are quite tasty, though they do provide a slightly bitter after taste.

PreSeries Lean mixes well with water. Thirty seconds of shaking will produce a clump-free consistency without any residue.

A 30-scoop tub of PreSeries Lean sells for $49. That works out to $1.63 per serve, which is great value for money considering that you are getting 21 ingredients.

Pros:

  • 3.g beta-alanine
  • L-citrulline
  • Moderate caffeine

Cons:

  • Some ingredients under-dosed

Vapor X5 is touted as a 5 in 1 pre-workout that burns fat as it boosts your energy, delivers muscle pumps, and sharpens you up mentally. It contains 2.5g of Betaine, along with 3.2g of Beta-Alanine, which has been shown to reduce body fat in wrestlers and football players.

Vapor X5 contains no fillers or artificial flavors. The energy blend includes 190 mg of caffeine, along with cocoa extract, l-theanine, and l-citrulline to deliver an enhanced training pump.

Vapor X5 is available in 7 flavors. It does include creatine, but at 3g per serving, it is slightly under-dosed (5g is the recommended dosage). A serving of Vapor X5 is two scoops. 

Pros:

  • Energy booster
  • Intense pump effect
  • Fat Burner
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Does not mix very well 

ENGN Shred is a popular fat-burning pre-workout that is built around the synergistic combination of conjugated linoleic acid and cayenne, which work together to stimulate metabolism. You also get 260 mg of caffeine to act as a thermogenic booster.

The fat loss ingredients in ENGN Shred have all been shown to have a positive effect on fat loss. However, the key fat burner, CLA, is under-dosed at 500mg, with the recommended dosage being around 3g. It also contains tyrosine to improve mental focus along with beta-alanine and l-carnitine for enhanced energy. 

Each container of ENGN contains 30 servings and costs about $27.50. That works out to around 90 cents per serving, which is an exceptional value in this market.

What to Look for in a Pump Inducing Pre-Workout

Citrulline / Citrulline Malate

Citrulline is an essential amino acid that cannot be manufactured by the body. Yet it is a precursor to nitric oxide, which expands blood vessels, allowing for a greater blood flow. This, in turn, leads to an enhanced pump effect. There are many other benefits to boosted nitric oxide levels, including better glucose uptake for muscle energy, improved heart health, and boosted muscular endurance.

Beta-Alanine

The amino acid beta-alanine is an energy booster that offsets lactic acid build-up and promotes workout energy. When you include beta-alanine in your pre-workout, you will be able to offset fatigue and train harder for longer. 

Creatine

Creatine sustains your ATP energy system, which your muscles rely upon for intense short-duration work. This allows you to pump out those extra one or two reps when you would otherwise have been able to do so. Creatine also helps you to more effectively recover from your workout. 

Caffeine

Including caffeine in your pre-workout will allow for an increased level of focus, energy, and alertness. It also boosts your fat-burning potential by promoting a thermogenic response. With caffeine, however, it’s a case of too much is not a good thing. Some pre-workouts load you up with as much as 400 mg per dose. At that level, you’ll end up unnaturally wired and jittery – and you’ll suffer a pretty intense post-workout energy crash. 

Three Ways to Bring Out Your Vascularity

  1. Strip off body fat with a combination of cardio and reduced caloric intake. Drop your calories to 500 below your maintenance levels and do 3 minutes of cardio on an empty stomach 4-5 times per week.
  2. Drink more water. To bring out your veins you must flush out the water under the skin, drinking up to 5 liters per day will allow you to do this.
  3. Eat smart. Feed yourself every 3 hours with a focus on lean proteins and healthy fats. 

Why You Should Buy Your Pre-Workout Online

Walk into a supplement store and you are immediately going to be confronted with an overwhelming array of choices. You’ll see brands of every description, each using slick marketing techniques featuring the most impressive steroid-enhanced bodies to grab your attention. So, within seconds the sensory overload already has you confused as to choice.

Then the store clerk approaches you. For some people, that, in itself, can be intimidating. Often supplement stores are staffed by gargantuan-looking bodybuilders. Now, don’t get me wrong, they’re usually really nice people. But, if you’re a newbie to the whole supplement, fitness thing, having a muscle monster to deal with can be more than a little intimidating.

A bigger problem with store clerks is that they often have an agenda in mind. Every week different companies will be running different sales promos, often with kickbacks for the retailer if they sell a certain amount of their products. What that means for you is that you may not be getting impartial advice. With human nature being what it is, you are more than likely going to be steered toward the product that is going to provide the best bottom line for the retailer.

On top of that is the fact that retailers have a lot of overheads that need to be covered in the cost of the product. There’s the rent of the building, the wages of the staff, the power bill, advertising costs, and a whole host of hidden incidentals. The only way they can recoup those costs, and, therefore, stay in business, is to add it to the price of the product.

A final problem with buying in a bricks-and-mortar store is the limited choice. Even though you’ll be presented with a huge array of options, experience shows that finding a specific brand or product ingredient can be frustratingly difficult. That’s to be expected. After all, you can’t expect a retailer to carry every possible variation of a product category. The reality is, however, that you are likely to walk out of the store either empty-handed or with a product that is not really what you were after.

The Power of Online Shopping

Convenience

The most immediate and obvious benefit of shopping online is convenience. You don’t have to leave the house, and you can order ahead of time so that your new supplements arrive to coincide with your old ones running out, knowing that they’ll arrive on your doorstep like clockwork.

When you’re shopping online you also don’t have to put up with the pressure or intimidation of a salesperson. No hard sell tactics being applied, no feeling like you’ve got to buy something, and none of that body morphic intimidation that we mentioned in the last section. The bottom line is that when you shop online, all of the pressure of selling comes off.

Cost Savings

The second most obvious benefit of shopping online is the cost savings. You are going to find products that are significantly cheaper than in the retail stores. That’s because online retailers don’t have the overheads that bricks-and-mortar retailers have to contend with. It’s not unusual to find products online that are a third cheaper than in the stores.

I find that the savings are especially noticeable when I buy protein bars online. When I buy a carton of low-carb protein bars through my normal online retailer, I can get them for half the price that I’d be paying for that same carton at my local GNC!

Often online retailers will run crazy specials that will allow you to pick up your supplements at even bigger savings. As a result, the cost factor is a major benefit of buying your supplies online.

Peer Reviews

I’ve saved the biggest benefit of buying your pre-workout supplements online for last. It is the power of online reviews. When you walk into a retail store, you are relying on the word of the store assistant. As we’ve already noted, that person has a vested interest in steering you toward a certain product. As a result, their opinion is likely to be biassed and unreliable.

Contrast that to the average customer who has already paid out for the product, used it, and is now providing you with an honest, unfiltered opinion of what it’s like. Then multiply that review many times over. Now you have a huge amount of market research just sitting there waiting for you to take advantage of it. You’ll be able to compare products on the basis of taste, mixability, effectiveness, delivery, and after-sales service, enabling you to be sure that you’re investing your dollars wisely.

One issue that some see as a negative related to online sales is the delivery cost. However, this is usually minimal and is outweighed by the savings you’ll be making on the actual products. Also, many online retailers waive the delivery charge once you spend a certain amount of money. I’ve found that this amount is usually below my monthly supplement spend.

Conclusion

In addition to selecting your pre-workout from our list of the Top 10 pre-workouts for pumps and vascularity, be sure to drink plenty of water, pushing for those last 2 or 3 reps, use a full rep range from a low of 6 to a high of 50, and forcefully contracting your muscles on each rep. Do that and you’ll be amazed at the level of pump and vascularity that you’ll be walking out of the gym with. 

This article was last updated on August 24, 2021 .

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By Steve Theunissen

Steve is a former gym owner, personal trainer, and 20-year veteran of the fitness writing industry. Steve has written for websites such as Hardcore Muscle, Fitness, Carblite, and Men's Health and has been a fitness expert columnist for 2 international magazines.