If you’re after a run-of-the-mill pre-workout then click out of this page now. What I’m about to reveal is the most hardcore legal stimulants you can find on the market bar none. So, if you’re looking to get psyched in order to get super jacked, then read on.
As a gym owner, personal trainer and bodybuilder, I’ve been taking and testing pre-workouts for 35 years, going way back to the very beginning when all you could get were Joe Weider Signature series supplements. Nowadays the market is saturated, each one making more outrageous claims than the last. In order to help you through the confusion, I’ve sorted through the quagmire to separate the best from the rest when it comes to hardcore pre-workouts.
Are High Stim Pre-Workout Safe?
Strong pre-workouts are inevitably going to be high in stimulants designed to get you psyched. Many of them are loaded with sugar, caffeine and the closest legal compounds to speed that you can find. It’s no wonder that many people consider them to be unsafe!
What it comes down to is the ingredient dosage. That’s why it’s so important to check the product label before you click Buy Now. The main ingredient that will cause problems is going to be caffeine. Anything over 350 milligrams per dose is likely to cause reactions such as the jitters and wired, unnatural feeling, accompanied by a later energy crash.
When it comes to the pre-workouts that I’m about to cover, if you’re a relative newcomer, I recommend starting with a half dose and then assessing how your body tolerates it. If you don’t get that wired, super hyped unnatural feeling, then you can bump it up to the full dosage.
The 6 Strongest Pre-Workouts of 2021
1. MusclePharm Wreckage Pre-Workout
- 5 grams L-Citrulline
- No crash effect
- 300 mg caffeine
- High energy effect
- Well dosed ingredients
- Great pump effect
- Contains sucralose
Why You Should Purchase MusclePharm Wreckage Pre-Workout
Like many pre-workouts, this formula breaks down its ingredients into a number of formulations. First off is the Intense Pump and Nutrient Absorption Blend, which delivers 5 grams of citrulline, along with 300 mg of green tea extract leaf and 50 mg of AstraGin. This combination does a great job of boosting nitric oxide release to vasodilate your blood vessels and deliver an awesome pump effect.
The Energy and Endurance formula features two grams of beta alanine, along with one gram of taurine. Of course, you also get caffeine, which is dosed at 300 mg. This is at the top end of the recommended level to avoid those jittery side effects, but should be good for most guys (though it may be too much for women).
There’s also a Neuro Focus blend in this product which combines 500 mg of tyrosine with 100 mg of GPC and another 100 mg of theanine to provide a potent cognitive enhancer that will sharpen your training focus.
Overall, the combination of ingredients and dosages is pretty well spot on, making Wreckage a very complete, and very strong stimulant pre workout.
What We Didn’t Like About MusclePharm Wreckage Pre-Workout
The only negative we could find was the inclusion of the artificial sweetener sucralose, which may contribute to fat gain.
2. 4-Gauge Pre-Workout
- Great mix of ingredients
- Well dosed
- Clean energy boost
- All natural ingredients
- Clinical doses
- Powerful energy booster
- Low calorie
- Only one flavor
Why You Should Purchase 4-Gauge Pre-Workout
The first thing you’ll notice about 4-Gauge Pre-Workout is the packaging. It’s designed to replicate a 4-Gauge shotgun shell. Even the website features bullet holes! That sets the scene perfectly for a pre-workout that allows you to go to war with the weights.
4-Gauge combines the following 7 ingredients into a potent formula to ramp up your energy and mental focus:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- L-Citrulline, Red Beet Extract
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Acetyl L-Carnitine
- Coconut Water powder
Let’s drill down on some of these ingredients and their dosages . . .
You get 150 mg of caffeine in 4-Gauge. That seems to be an immensely sensible amount that will provide you with an energy kick without pushing you into the hyper zone. Many of the strongest pre-workouts push the barrier on caffeine and it’s the user who pays the price. So, dosing at 150 mg, in combination with the other ingredients is a smart move.
You get 200 mg of L-Theanine, which acts in concert with the caffeine to boost energy and sharpen mental focus. There’s also 500 mg of Acetyl L-Carnitine, which increases athletic performance by speeding the transport of glucose into the muscle cell, boosts the release of adrenaline and assists in post and intra workout recovery. Coconut water powder is also used to provide an extra energy kick.
What We Didn’t Like About 4-Gauge Pre-Workout
4-Gauge is only available in a single flavor, that being ‘Fruit Blast’. The taste is quite pleasant but it does leave you with a slightly metallic feeling in your mouth.
4-Gauge is an expensive pre-workout, with a 20 serving container costing $45.00. That works out to $2.25 per day, with the average for a pre-workout being $1.50. It is also only available from the manufacturer’s official website.
3. Transparent Labs BULK Pre-Workout
- Designed for a bulking phase
- Well dosed
- 6 tasty flavors
- Caffeine + Taurine
- Bulking pre-workout
- Beta Alanine dosage may cause problems
Why You Should Purchase Transparent Labs BULK Pre-Workout
Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-workout has been specifically designed to be taken while you’re on a bulking phase to gain muscular body weight. Uniquely among pre-workouts, it contains BCAAs, as well as 180 mg of caffeine anhydrous to boost energy. You also get 1.3 grams of taurine to provide you with an awesome pump. The combination of caffeine and taurine will also ensure that you don’t experience the energy drop off that is common with caffeine supplementation.
This pre-workout gives you plenty of ingredients to enhance your focus. These include theanine, taurine and tyrosine. You also get 70 mg of mucuna pruriens which will helps you to stay relaxed and tuned in to your workout.
Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-workout boosts your energy through the addition of 4 grams of beta-alanine. Bioperine has also been added at 5mg to improve the absorption and digestion of the other ingredients.
At a price of $49 for a one month supply, you will be paying around $1.50 per day, which is pretty much on par with the market average. You can choose between six pretty cool favors, including Tropical Punch and Blue Raspberry.
What We Didn’t Like About Transparent Labs BULK Pre-Workout
While most of the ingredients should be well tolerated, the 4 grams of beta alanine may be a problem for some people, causing stomach pain and indigestion.
4. ProSupps® Mr. Hyde® Xtreme (Mr. Hyde NitroX) Pre-Workout
- High Energy
- Well priced
- 3 matrices
- High caffeine
- Some ingredients underdosed
Why You Should Purchase ProSupps Mr. Hyde Xtreme Pre-Workout
Pro Supps Mr Hyde NitroX Pre-Workout is designed to boost your energy, focus, strength, endurance and pump going into your workout. The ingredient label is broken down into 3 matrices:
Here’s the ingredient profile of each Matrix:
- 2.5g – Beta-alanine
- 1g – Creatine HCL
- 500mg – Arginine
- 500mg – L-Citrulline Aspartate
- 300mg – Anhydrous
- 70mg – Di-Caffeine
- 50mg – Caffeine Citric Acid
- 500mg – Choline
- 50mg – Theanine
- 50mg – N-Acetyl Tyrosine
- 25mg – Theacrine
- 25mg – GABA
- 3mg – Yohimbe Bark Extract
Even though we see a lot of the proven pre-workout ingredients here, some of them are underdosed. An example is creatine, which is dosed here at 1 gram, where the clinical recommendation is 3-5 grams. The exception is caffeine, with the matrix providing a total of 420 mg. That is extremely high, being about the same as 4 cups of coffee. If you’re after an energy boost, NitroX will give you a huge kick. But, because it is underdosed in some areas, it will not deliver a great deal of focus.
What We Didn’t Like About ProSupps Mr. Hyde NitroX Pre-Workout
NitroX is dosed too low on some ingredients, limiting their effectiveness. It is also very high in caffeine, which can lead to jittery effects and a post exercise crash.
5. Koala Freak Pre-Workout
- High energy
- Great pumps
- Strength Boost
- Awesome pump effect
- Boost ATP synthesis
- May be too much caffeine for some
- Some ingredients underdosed
Why You Should Purchase Koala Freak Pre-Workout
Koala Freak Pre-Workout is an Australian made product that is making a big splash on the world stage. The guy behind the company is bodybuilder and actor Calum Von Moger (he played Arnold in the movie ’Bigger’). There are three complexes in this product as follows:
- Pump Complex
- Strength Performance Complex
- Energy/Focus Complex
These complexes provide you with all of the proven compounds that you would expect to find in a pre-workout. Highlights include a dosage of 360 mg of caffeine, which is pretty high. However. That is paired with a similar dosage of theanine, which acts to even out the hyper effects of the caffeine. As a result, you get a huge energy boost without the negative side effects.
ElevATP is an ingredient not commonly found in pre-workouts. It is designed to improve ATP synthesis to allow you to pump out more reps when your muscles would have otherwise given out.
There are a lot of ingredients in this product, and some of them seem unnecessary. Others are overdosed. But there are enough of the key ingredients in the right quantities to make this an effective pre-workout.
What We Didn’t Like About Koala Freak Pre-Workout
Koala uses a lot of caffeine, even though it has tried to negate its effects with theanine. Still, there are a lot of people who will not be able to tolerate the dose provided here. Some of the laundry list of ingredients, such as creatine, are also under dosed.
6. Ronnie Coleman Signature Series Yeah Buddy
- Very strong
- Performance boosting
- Well priced
- High in caffeine
- Pump inducing
- Some underdosed ingredients
- Some clumping issues
Why You Should Purchase Ronnie Coleman Signature Series Yeah Buddy
If you know anything about the history of bodybuilding, you are well aware that Ronnie Coleman, 8X Mr Olympia, was, is and always will be a hardcore trainer. You also know that his signature catch phrase was ‘Yeah buddy’. It should come as no surprise, then, that his signature pre-workout is just as hardcore and, yes, named ‘Yeah Buddy’.
Yeah Buddy is packed with 420 mg of caffeine. That is a lot! Even though it is time released so it won’t all hit you at once, it will still be difficult for many people to tolerate that amount without suffering such effects as the jitters, along with a hyped unnatural feeling while training and a possible mid workout energy crash.
Yeah Buddy provides you with an awesome pump and endurance effect by way of its 5 gram stack of beta-alanine, citrulline and agmatine sulfate. There’s also a focus blend consisting of 550 mg of choline, 50 mg of Theacrine that have been shown to improve, memory, brain and nervous system functioning.
On top of these ingredients, there’s a Yeah Buddy bomb, which adds a performance boost with the addition of synephrine, higenamine, phenethylamine and yohimbine.
This is another product that throws together a lot of ingredients. Some of them are great but others not so effective. Overall, though, there’s enough here to give you a pretty impressive performance boost.
Yeah Buddy is very competitively priced coming in at around $19 for a one month serving.
What We Didn’t Like About Ronnie Coleman Signature Series Yeah Buddy
The main concern with Yeah Buddy is that the high caffeine content may give you side effect problems. Other ingredients are underdosed. Some reviewers have also mentioned that the powder tends to clump up when mixed with water.
- Best Pre-Workouts For Mixed Martial Arts Fighters
- 8 Best Fat Burners for Women Ranked
- 10 Best Fat Burners for Men in 2021
You now have a good working knowledge of the half dozen most potent pre workouts on the current market. The key difference between them essentially comes down to their caffeine content. If you are confident that you can tolerate plenty of it and are after the most potent energy boost, pump inducing workout you can get, then you should go for Wreckage by MusclePharm or 4-Gauge Otherwise, choose one of the more conservative options like Transparent Labs BULK Pre-Workout.