Pre-workout supplements do not come in a one size fits all formula.
There’s something for everybody, from heavy stims to stim-free, and everything in between.
A good pre-workout doesn’t focus on one or two areas of workout performance.It should be exceptionally well-dosed using effective ingredients that attack all workout performance pathways.
For many users, basic pre-workouts won’t get the job done. They need the strongest pre-workout supplements they can find.
In this article, let’s take a look at the strongest pre-workout supplements on the market. Ready?
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
Quick Answer – The Strongest Pre-Workouts
- Apollon Nutrition Assassin Pre-Workout – Best Overall
- Apollon Nutrition Hooligan Pre-Workout – Strongest Focus Pre-Workout
- Freedom Formulations Stim Junky 2.0 – Strongest Euphoric Pre-Workout
- Alpha Lion Superhuman Supreme – Strongest Endurance Pre-Workout
- Kaged Pre-Kaged – Strongest BCAA Pre-Workout
- Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite – Strongest Pump Pre-Workout
- Cutler Nutrition Prevail – Strongest Pre-Workout For Women
- Rich Piana 5% Nutrition 5150 – Strongest Caffeine Complex
- MuscleTech Vapor One Pre-Workout Powder – Strongest Beginners Pre-Workout
- Legion Pulse Pre-Workout – Strongest No-Frills Pre-Workout
- Transparent Labs Bulk Pre – Strongest For Bulking
- Imperial Nutrition Excelsior Pre-Workout – Strongest Blend
Reviews – The Strongest Pre-Workouts
1. Apollon Nutrition Assassin Pre-Workout – Best Overall
This is as hardcore as it gets. Apollon Nutrition Assassin Pre-Workout is one of the strongest pre-workout supplements ever made, and it’s our pick for best overall.
It’s a very high stim pre-workout. This pre-workout supplement is not for inexperienced users. I can’t emphasize that enough.
The label is fully disclosed and features half a scoop serving and a full scoop serving. Unless you’ve used Assassin before, start with a half serving. Even at this dosage, there’s 300mg of caffeine.
A full 1-scoop serving supplies 600mg of caffeine. There is theacrine to help smooth out the intense effects of all that caffeine. Also, one of the two forms of caffeine is combined with malate, which also provides a smoother energy experience.
Assassin contains other hardcore ingredients such as eria jarensis, juglans regia, and noopept. Plus, it provides well-dosed ingredients for muscle pumps, performance, and endurance. These include pure citrulline, betaine, and beta-alanine.
If you’re after the ultimate hardcore pre-workout, give Assassin a try. You won’t be disappointed.
- 600mg Caffeine Per Serving – One Scoop
- High Stim/Focus Pre-Workout
- Good Pump/Endurance Dosages With Full Serving
- 1 Scoop May Be Too Much For Many Users
- The ½ Scoop Size May Be Too Low In Pump/Endurance Ingredients For Some Users
2. Apollon Nutrition Hooligan Pre-Workout – Strongest Focus Pre-Workout
As we have seen, Apollon Nutrition is no stranger to hardcore pre-workout supplements. Their Hooligan Pre-workout is one of the strongest pre-workouts in this guide. That’s especially true when it comes to focus ingredients. It’s our pick for the strongest focus pre-workout.
Like Assassin, Hooligan has two serving sizes: half a scoop, and a full scoop. At a full 1 scoop serving, there is 2g of tyrosine, 1g of lion’s mane, and 600mg of alpha-gpc. That’s just for starters.
This is very high caffeine with a total of 650mg from two sources. With that much, there’s theobromine to smooth caffeine’s effects.
Also, there’s beta-alanine for muscular endurance. It’s overdosed at 3.5g. Finally, there’s betaine and a huge 7g of pure citrulline. This ingredient improves blood flow for great pumps.
Hooligan is a powerful pre-workout that improves physical and mental performance.
- Fully Open-Label – No Proprietary Blend
- Potent Combination Of Focus Ingredients
- Overdosed Pump & Endurance Ingredients
- May Be Too Much Caffeine For Some Users
3. Freedom Formulations Stim Junky 2.0 – Strongest Euphoric Pre-Workout
DMHA is an ingredient that targets euphoric feelings, focus, and workout intensity. Freedom Formulations Stim Junky 2.0 provides 200 mg per serving.
Plus, there’s 200mg eria jarensis for insane focus and euphoria. There’s also DMAE for mood elevation.
It’s true that many pre-workouts target one area of performance at the expense of other areas. Stim Junky 2.0 is a high stim pre-workout supplement. It also has a good combination of ingredients for muscle pumps, endurance, and performance.
To round out the Stim Junky 2.0 formula, there’s 350mg caffeine per serving. There’s also theanine to help provide smooth energy.
Finally, Stim Junky 2.0 has natural flavors but also contains artificial ingredients.
- Powerful Combo Of Eria Jarensis and DMHA
- Good Balance Of Pre-Workout Ingredients
- Fully Disclosed Label – No Proprietary Blend
- This Has One Of The Lower Caffeine Totals In This Guide
4. Alpha Lion Superhuman Supreme – Strongest Endurance Pre-Workout
Alpha Lion Superhuman Supreme is one of the hardest-hitting pre-workouts in this guide.
It begins with a fully disclosed label, and 5 complexes, each targeting a different pre-workout pathway. First, there’s 375mg of caffeine per serving from two sources.
There’s also tyramine, and n, n-dimethylphenethylamine, or eria jarensis for energy and focus. Both of these are well-dosed.
Finally, the stim complex includes juniper berry to increase stimulant absorption.
For pumps, there’s 7g citrulline malate, 1g taurine, and the patented S7.
With all of these well-dose ingredients, what makes this a good endurance pre-workout? For starters, there’s 3.5g beta-alanine, one of the best dosages in this guide. That’s also much higher than the average pre-workout.
There’s also 2.5g betaine, which helps pumps but is included here with the endurance complex.
Finally, there’s AstraGin® and Bioperine® Black Pepper for improved absorption.
- Fully Disclosed Label
- Balanced Formula
- Generously Dosed
- Contains Artificial Ingredients
5. Kaged Pre-Kaged – Strongest BCAA Pre-Workout
Formerly Kaged Muscle, now Kaged, Pre-Kaged is one of the most balanced, well-engineered pre-workouts on the market. There’s a huge 6.5g pure citrulline for nitric oxide pumps, plus creatine and betaine for water-based pumps.
This is one of the few pre-workouts that include Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), and there’s extra leucine for protein synthesis stimulation. That’s 4750mg total leucine, which makes this the strongest BCAA pre-workouts available.
Additionally, this is one of the few pre-workouts in this guide that targets pumps, power, and strength with creatine.
There are also focus ingredients, endurance ingredients, and a special ORAC antioxidant blend.
The downsides to this product are there’s only 1.6g of beta-alanine and 274mg of caffeine. It’s not a stim heavy pre-workout. The beta-alanine is dosed low because some users don’t want the temporary tingling effect caused by the full dose.
Still, it’s fully disclosed and targets anabolism, power, strength, and focus as well as pumps.
- Over 4g Leucine
- Promotes Both Nitric Oxide & Water-Based Pumps
- Exclusive Antioxidant Complex
- No Energy Complex – Only 274mg Caffeine
6. Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite – Strongest Pump Pre-Workout
If Pre-Kaged is a little light on caffeine, Pre-Kaged Elite bumps it up to 388mg per serving. What really sets Pre-Kaged Elite apart is the mammoth 10g dose of citrulline. That’s more than enough for nitric oxide pumps. There are also two types of creatine, plus taurine and betaine for water-based pumps. That makes this the strongest pre-workout for muscle pumps.
There are also focus ingredients, with a much larger dose of tyrosine than most pre-workouts typically have.
Also, Elite features 9 patented ingredients, more than any other pre-workout in this guide.
Finally, Pre-Kaged Elite is naturally flavored. However, it does not list what type of sweetener is used.
- One Of The Highest Doses of Pure Citrulline
- Features Several Cell Volumizing Ingredients
- Fully Transparent Label
- No Obvious Listing Of The Sweetener Used
7. Cutler Nutrition Prevail – Strongest Pre-Workout For Women
Cutler Nutrition Prevail has 1 scoop or 2 scoop servings. This is an increasingly common trend with many pre-workouts.
In this case, a 1 scoop serving might be good for a beginner. The 2-scoop serving would be ideal for women bodybuilders and athletes.
Prevail has two types of caffeine totaling 362mg for the full serving. This formula is primarily a stim/focus pre-workout with only citrulline and taurine to support pumps.
It’s 4g pure citrulline, and while taurine does have cognitive benefits, it’s an osmolyte, it pulls water into the muscle cells.
The downside of Prevail is the lack of performance or endurance ingredients and the limited pump enhancers.
Some companies design their pre-workouts this way, then suggest a two-product stack: the pre-workout and their pump product.
Still, Prevail does provide a strong stim/focus experience and will do the job whether you stack it or not. The 2 scoop serving makes Prevail the strongest pre-workout for women.
- Ideal Strength For Women
- Fully Disclosed Label
- 1-Scoop/2-Scoop Servings
- Stack This With A Pump Booster For Full Effect
8. Rich Piana 5% Nutrition 5150 – Strongest Caffeine Complex
Rich Piana 5% Nutrition offers several pre-workout choices. Of these, the strongest pre-workout is 5150. This is a high stim pre-workout supplement created for extreme energy levels and jitter-free intensity.
The Stim Crazy Caffeine Complex supplies 400mg of caffeine from 8 sources. Some of these are natural caffeine sources.
Additional stims include synephrine and cocoa extract. There are also several mental performance ingredients.
Finally, there are natural flavors but artificial sweeteners.
- One Of The Strongest High Stim Pre-Workout Supplements
- 400mg Caffeine – 8 Different Sources
- Natural Flavors
- Contains Artificial Ingredients
- Stim-Crazy Complex Is A Proprietary Blend
9. MuscleTech Vapor One Pre-Workout Powder – Strongest Beginners Pre-Workout
Vapor One is one of several pre-workouts by MuscleTech, including other Vapor One variations. However, this pre-workout formula is fully disclosed and well-balanced.
This product has a good cell volume and endurance complex that includes a full dose of beta-alanine, as well as creatine, betaine, and taurine.
There’s a well-dosed 4-ingredient pump complex that centers around 4g of pure citrulline.
Finally, there’s a 5-ingredient energy and focus complex based on 350mg of caffeine.
Could this use more caffeine? Sure, and other MuscleTech pre-workouts offer more. Still, a good pre-workout should have strong doses of everything, not just stims.
Vapor One is the best choice for someone new to a higher stim pre-workout, but not yet ready for an exotic stim-based formula.
- Well Balanced Formula
- Full Disclosure Labeling
- 5-Ingredient Stim/Focus Complex
- May Be A Little Low In Caffeine/Stims For Some Users
10. Legion Pulse Pre-Workout – Strongest No-Frills Pre-Workout
Here’s the strongest pre-workout with a simple, no-frills formula. There are 6 main ingredients in Legion Pulse Pre-Workout. These are the expected ingredients: beta-alanine, caffeine, and citrulline (malate), to name a few.
This powerful pre-workout provides 350mg of caffeine per serving. One serving is 2 scoops, providing 21 total servings. Beginners or those that prefer a little less caffeine could use 1 scoop if desired.
There’s 8g of citrulline malate for pumps and endurance. This version combines pure citrulline with malic acid. While many pre-workout supplements use pure citrulline for the muscle pumps, this version supports ATP production.
Finally, there’s a patented form of beta-alanine, CarnoSyn®, overdosed at 3.6g.
This is a natural pre-workout supplement. Pulse Pre-Workout is clean, like all Legion products. It’s also Labdoor Verified for quality.
- 100% Natural
- No-Frills Formula
- Features CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine
- Some Users Prefer Pure Citrulline
- There Will Be Users That Don’t Like The Beta-Alanine Dosage
11. Transparent Labs Bulk Pre – Strongest For Bulking
Here’s our pick for the strongest pre-workout for bulking. Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout Supplement features extreme label transparency. Like Legion Pulse, Bulk is another natural pre-workout.
Bulk is a complete pre-workout that includes several branded ingredients. There’s a huge 4g beta-alanine per serving. That’s the strongest dose of any pre-workout in this guide.
As a bulking pre-workout, there are BCAAs, plus strong dosages of boron and zinc. These ingredients in these dosages are not typical pre-workout ingredients. The BCAAs support protein synthesis, while boron and zinc promote testosterone production.
Transparent Labs Bulk is a clinically dosed pre-workout supplement and features researched ingredients.
- Very Well-Dosed
- Full Disclosure Labeling
- Features The Strongest Dose Of Beta-Alanine In This Guide
- Some Users Don’t Like The Taste
12. Imperial Nutrition Excelsior Pre-Workout – Strongest Blend
We usually stay away from prop blends. There are two good reasons for this. First, you have no idea what the individual breakdown of each ingredient is. Second, the prop blend is usually underdosed.
That said, Imperial Nutrition Excelsior Pre-Workout is our pick for the strongest blend. That’s because Excelsior pre-workout contains several stimulants you don’t see in too many products.
Despite the high stims, Excelsior won’t cause high blood pressure. Because it contains herbs that support normal blood pressure levels.
There’s also a lot of caffeine. Yet, there’s no individual listing of the dose. Still, it’s one of the strongest pre-workouts to boost energy and stimulate intense workouts. Use it for strength training or bodybuilding.
It also contains ingredients that promote weight loss. Even if you’re training for size, weight loss should be an important part of your goals.
As mentioned, the biggest downside of Excelsior is the prop blend. Judging by the 5.2g dose, users not used to high stimulant pre-workouts may want to start with half a scoop. Experienced users may want to use 2 scoops, once tolerance has been determined.
- One Of The Strongest Pre-Workouts Featuring A Prop Blend
- High Stimulant Pre-Workout – Features Advanced Stimulants
- This Pre-Workout Will Boost Energy And Support Fat Loss
- No Individual Listing Of Caffeine Or Any Ingredients
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Strongest Pre-Workout?
What Is A Pre-Workout Supplement?
A pre-workout supplement increases energy, focus, pumps, performance, and endurance. Many will also increase strength, and a few will promote fat loss. There will be several ingredient complexes that support any or all of these effects, depending on the brand.
What Are Strong Pre-Workout Supplements?
For many users, the strongest pre-workout supplements mean high-stims. Read a pre-workout review on the strongest pre-workouts, and you’ll get the same impression.
Yet you can have a potent pre-workout that’s also a stimulant-free pre-workout. Strong means at least clinical dosing of all effective ingredients, not just stimulants.
Benefits Of Strong Pre-Workouts
Certainly, when most users think of the strongest pre-workouts, they think of energy and focus. Yet an effective pre-workout should be balanced, rather than containing just high doses of various stims.
A balanced pre-workout that’s effectively dosed provides the following benefits:
Increases Energy & Focus
This is one of the primary benefits of any good pre-workout. Depending on how much caffeine and what, if any, other stimulants are in a product, the energy can be extreme.
Also, many energy ingredients enhance focus. The strongest pre-workout supplements provide several focus ingredients to create an “in the zone” type of mindset.
Some pre-workouts go beyond focus and contain ingredients that improve your motivation to train, literally enhancing the fabled mind-muscle connection.
There are a few ingredients that support extended endurance. If you can knock out a few more reps at the end of a set, you can stimulate a little extra growth. That alone makes a pre-workout worth it for many users. One of the best ingredients for this is beta-alanine.
Enhances Strength & Power
Some users want to set a new PR when they train. Other users use a progressive overload approach in their training by adding weight to the bar consistently. The strongest pre-workouts can help them do this successfully.
Promotes Good Pumps
For many individuals, the pump is what it’s all about. What can be better than glancing in the mirror and looking bigger than ever? Strong pre-workouts stimulate great pumps. It should be noted that there are two kinds of pumps, nitric oxide and water-based.
Ingredients You Should Look For
Strong pre-workouts go beyond just a lot of stims. It should include such ingredients as BCAAs and creatine. BCAAs are anabolic and will help users stay in an anabolic state while they train. This is huge because the physical act of training is catabolic.
If you’re going to include creatine, a well-thought-out product will understand the cell volumizing effects of creatine and add ingredients that support those effects.
These include glycerol, betaine, and taurine, and are responsible for stimulating water-based pumps.
Beyond that, there are standard ingredients that all pre-workouts should have, such as the following:
It’s safe to say that most people understand what caffeine does. (1) When you’re talking about the strongest pre-workouts, it’s assumed that stims are a big part of it.
While you can find a strong stim-free pre-workout, energy, one of the key areas of workout performance, is not being covered by a stim-free product. A strong pre-workout needs to target every workout pathway and do it effectively.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the types of caffeine typically found in a pre-workout:
Caffeine Anhydrous – This is caffeine with all the moisture removed, making the caffeine more concentrated.
Infinergy Dicaffeine Malate – This is a trademarked complex of 75% caffeine and 25% malic acid. The caffeine is absorbed more slowly, reducing jitters and any “crash” effect.
Green Tea – This is a natural form of caffeine and also the antioxidant EGCG.
Guarana – This form originates in Brazil and is a natural source of caffeine.
N-Phenethyl Dimethylamine Citrate
This ingredient is commonly known as Eria Jarensis. It’s a popular stim that hits you quickly and promotes feelings of energy and euphoria.
This ingredient has a long history of use in traditional African medicine. It’s a natural source of DMHA, a powerful stimulant.
This stimulant has effects that are similar to caffeine. It also increases oxygen use, thereby improving performance.
This stimulant is milder than others on this list. Still, it increases energy, enhances focus, and improves concentration. (2)
Exotic stimulants like DMAA and DMHA are not always easy to find and often, any pre-workout that uses them gets pulled off the market.
This amino acid has an important role in the manufacture of dopamine and norepinephrine. These are two neurotransmitters that improve focus and mood, while also relieving anxiety. (3)
This ingredient is involved in phospholipid synthesis. This supports cell signaling functions and the structural integrity of the cell. Choline is also a precursor of acetylcholine synthesis. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that’s involved in mood and memory.
It also is involved in promoting a mind-muscle connection. This is the mental connection you should have with your working muscles during a training session. It can be the difference between a mediocre workout and a great one.
Choline is an effective cognitive enhancer that promotes cognitive function, including a dramatically improved mind-muscle connection. (4, 5)
This ingredient occurs naturally in the brain and is 40% choline by weight. Alpha GPC is a premium type of choline due to its enhanced absorption.
Additionally, the choline in this compound is used in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The glycerol/phosphate content is used for phospholipid production. (6)
This ingredient improves focus and indirectly increases levels of acetylcholine. It does this by blocking an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme controls acetylcholine breakdown. By inhibiting this enzyme, more acetylcholine is available for focus. (7)
This ingredient stimulates the production of nitric oxide which stimulates the pump. It is an amino acid that converts into arginine once it’s in the body.
The advantage of citrulline over regular arginine is that it’s better absorbed than arginine. This means that citrulline does a better job of acting like arginine than arginine itself does.
Citrulline is highly rated and is usually the main pump ingredient in most pre-workouts. Some products use citrulline malate, a complex of citrulline, and malic acid. Since malic acid is involved in ATP production, this complex supports training endurance. (8, 9, 10)
This is another common pump ingredient that supports increased nitric oxide production. It also supports water based-pumps by increasing water retention. (11)
This is a patented blend of arginine and silicon that increases levels of nitric oxide. It’s known for its long-lasting effects and can last in the body for 6 hours. (12)
This ingredient is an osmolyte, which means it helps pull water into the muscle cells.
The ingredients creatine, glycerol, and taurine are also osmolytes. You should look for these compounds if you want a great pump.
Betaine works similarly to creatine. Betaine, like creatine, is also thought to help improve strength and power. It’s thought that these two compounds work extremely well together. (13)
It’s well-known that this is the most researched supplement on the market. It has been tested and proven effective time after time. The best pre-workouts add creatine to promote water-based pumps. It’s also used to improve endurance, power, and strength. (14)
This ingredient indirectly helps you get more reps and sets. It increases levels of carnosine in the body, which buffers lactic acid. This slows muscle fatigue so you can push farther in your sets. It also causes a temporary, harmless tingling effect.
While beta-alanine doesn’t bother most users, there are a lot of individuals that don’t like it. This has caused some supplement manufacturers to lower the dose, sometimes to the point of it being underdosed.
If you want to use strong pre-workouts, your choice should include at least the clinical dosing of this compound. It’s important to remember that a glass of water and a little bit of time relieve the tingling effect. (15)
This herb increases metabolism and supports fat loss.
How To Use The Strongest Pre-Workout
Always read and follow the label directions.
If you’re using one of the pre-workouts in this guide, then you should be an experienced user.
If you are new to the strongest pre-workouts, test your tolerance by using a half serving size. Once tolerance is determined, use a full serving.
Most pre-workouts suggest taking it with water 20-30 minutes before you train. It’s a good idea to drink a lot of water with any pre-workout you use.
You can also stack other ingredients with your pre-workout, such as creatine, BCAAs, or even extra pump ingredients.
What Are The Side Effects Of A Strong Pre-Workout
Any pre-workout is safe when used according to label directions. If you abuse the serving size, you may experience the following:
- High Blood Pressure
To help avoid side effects, always use plenty of water when making your pre-workout. If you have any concerns, talk with your healthcare practitioner.
The pre-workouts in this guide will take your training to new heights of intensity. Most of them are high stim, so you may want to consider cycling them with some lower stim products. By cycling among two or three products, you won’t build up a tolerance.
With a maximum dose of 600mg caffeine, Apollon Nutrition Assassin should definitely be cycled. This is the kind of pre-workout that’s best used for your toughest training sessions.
If you’d rather not take in quite that much caffeine, there’s Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged. It offers excellent balance and is the strongest in terms of its anabolic potential. Not only does it have BCAAs, but it also has extra leucine, the most anabolic of any amino acid.
Still, you might be more interested in a pre-workout that you can use during a bulking cycle. Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout is fully disclosed and uses effective dosing of proven ingredients. That includes ingredients that help build muscle.
What you’ve seen in this guide are the strongest pre-workouts on the market.
Get ready for a great training session!
- Hordenine: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1528/hordenine
- Deijen, J. B., & Orlebeke, J. F. (n.d.). Effect of tyrosine on cognitive function and blood pressure under stress. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8293316
- Choline – PubMed Central (PMC). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2518394/
- Treating senile dementia with traditional Chinese medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684515/
- Figueroa, A., Wong, A., Jaime, S. J., & Gonzales, J. U. (2017, January). Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27749691
- Breuillard, C., Cynober, L., & Moinard, C. (2015, April). Citrulline and nitrogen homeostasis: an overview. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25676932
- Bahri, S., Zerrouk, N., Aussel, C., Moinard, C., Crenn, P., Curis, E., … Sfar, S. (2013, March). Citrulline: from metabolism to therapeutic use. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23022123
- Haulică I, et al. Preliminary research on possible relationship of NO with agmatine at the vascular level. Rom J Physiol. (1999). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11068606