A ton of people are searching the web for things like “What is the best pre workout supplement”. What you’ll find are nothing but biased reviews, personal opinions from people who don’t know you, and marketers who are pushing products that offer them enormous commissions at your expense.
The problem is that everyone is different. Some people want stimulants, some don’t. Some people want carbs, others don’t.. etc.
So what we’re going to do here is ask you a series of questions in a flow chart, and break it down for you until we get to the best nitric oxide supplements for you. After each question, we’ll explain what we mean and the differences between the choices for you beginners.
As an FYI, this page uses price comparisons to send you to the cheapest store for each product, often saving you over 40% off local retail!
So What’s the Best Nitric Oxide Supplement …. FOR YOU?
Show time! Have fun and leave comments at the bottom. We think we nailed it though.
A pretty straightforward question. Most NO supplements contain caffeine and other stimulants, which help give you energy, focus, and a bit of extra “last-minute” strength during your workouts.
We wouldn’t have made this site if we didn’t love stimulants, but you DO need to cycle off of them every now and then to reset your adrenals. We recommend 2-4 weeks off for every 2-3 months on stimulants, but other recommendations vary.
But just because you occasionally stop using stimulants doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the awesome pumps from your nitric oxide supplements! That’s why we have the Stimulant Free Pre-Workout Supplementsfor you to choose from below. Note that most of them come in pill form, but that’s not always the case.
An Extra Note About the Stimulants for beginners…
As always, make sure you follow the label’s instructions and don’t mix stimulant-based products together – not even coffee if you’re new to these! Start with a low dosage and assess before moving up.
…and Caffeine Safety Concerns
On that topic, caffeine research studies show that caffeine is generally safe at 6mg per kg of bodyweight (ie 6mg per 2.2lbs == 500mg caffeine max spread throughout an entire day for a healthy 185lb male). Even that seems a bit extreme though and recommend sticking under 400mg. See this Caffeine Side Effectspage for more info on that.
Unfortunately, many products on this site have proprietary formulas and won’t tell you exactly how much caffeine is in a serving. If this concerns you, go with a product that states the stimulant dosage (Scivation and Cellucor are good about this). We’re happy to see that innovative companies are slowly doing away with the proprietary formulas for some of this stuff.
Question 2: Do you want 1,3 dimethylamylamine? (see below if you’re not sure what this is – it’s a long write-up but necessary to read)
About 1,3 Dimethylamylamine
This question is more hotly-debated than you’d think. To begin with, 1,3 dimethylamylamine, also known as DMAA, Geranamine, Methylhexaneamine, or just Geranium Stem, is a natural stimulant that is derived from the oil of the geranium flower’s stem. It behaves like a cross between a weak version of caffeine and a VERY VERY mild amphetamine (think Adderall divided by 1000 and legal). There are two sides to the issue, so lets weigh the benefits and drawbacks and come to a conclusion.
1,3 Dimethylamylamine Benefits
The good news is that if you like this stuff, it’s GREAT. It gets you in the zone with total focus – whether you’re in the gym, studying, or even doing menial tasks. In general, the supplements that contain 1,3 dimeth do better and rate higher than those that don’t. That doesn’t mean we think you should take it though.
If you’re looking for your first-ever pre-workout supplement (this is discussed in the conclusion lower down), you might not want to take it. But chances are you’re going to love it if you know your caffeine limits and want to take some “next-level” stuff.
For those of us who enjoy DMAA, it is “weaker” than caffeine in that it won’t make you jittery, and should give you a nice, even buzz and mood enhancement. However, it lasts longerthan caffeine, which means that it helps prevent the caffeine crash because you’ll still be going when the caffeine stops working.
This geranamine is also a bronchiodilator – not only can it be used to help asthma patients, but if you’re a swimmer / runner / triathlete / etc… this stuff will BLOW up your lungs. It’s like you don’t even need to breathe. There is no doubt that we are far superior endurance athletes when using a pre-workout supplement with 1,3 dimeth. It’s not placebo – we simply don’t get out of breath. It’s quite unbelievable.
Finally, 1,3 is an appetite suppressant. If you’re going after weight-loss, this stuff is legit and definitely worth including in your pre-workout. Many people have shed tons of bodyfat because of the way it makes them workout harder but also helps them forget about snacking on garbage. Some people need to FORCE themselves to get up and go have their protein shakes. There’s a reason why fat burners with 1,3 are doing so well right now – it simply works for most, and the zero-carb pre-workout supplements with 1,3will basically have the same effect.
1,3 Dimethylamylamine Side Effects / Drawbacks
There are, however, a few problems with DMAA. First, it is a banned substance by many governing bodies such as WADA and the NCAA(but note that the NCAA bans ALL stimulants including caffeine…) If you are being drug tested for it and you’re taking a pre-workout with 1,3, you’re going to fail.
Second, 1,3 is a vasoconstrictor – it actually tightens the veins a bit, reducing bloodflow a little, which goes against why we take nitric oxide supplements in the first place. A very small percentage of men have problems getting erections when on 1,3 dimethylamylamine – this is nicknamed “stim-dick” and applies to many stimulants. I’ve never had this in my life, but I’m also healthy and eat my green veggies.
Next, some people simply get too “stimmed out” and wired with 1,3, and have bad crashes or get sick to their stomachs. Again, this doesn’t apply to me, but is something to be aware of. Taking too much will make you sick to yourself.
Finally, and most importantly to the veterans… some of us are just plain sick of 1,3. After cycling pre-workout supplements with 1,3 Dimethylamylamine on and off for a year or so… it kind of gets old. It lasts too long, you can’t take it too late in the day (anytime after 6pm and I’m not going to bed at a reasonable hour), and you just get over it.
1,3 got very hot, and it’s starting to cool down. Rumors circle that the FDA may ban it, and that it’s messing with drug tests that test for meth. This has never been proven but there are a lot of people who argue this point. Perhaps cheap or poorly-done drug tests have an issue with 1,3. Scientifically and chemically, it is impossiblefor the stuff to tranfer into an amphetamine metabolite that these drug tests look for. Either way, ALWAYS ask your manager / drug-testing sponsor if you can use it, and inform them of exactly what you are eating and supplementing!
So What Should I Pick? 1,3 or Not???
Obviously it’s up to you. If you are not a stimulant lover and are brand new to pre-workout supplements, we’d recommend starting on the Pre-Workout Supplements without 1,3 Dimethylamylamine.
But if you’re an endurance athlete, can handle your stims, or have taken boring old-school products like NaNO Vapor or the Original NO-Xplode and want to get the next edge, you seriously should at least try one tub of a Pre-Workout Supplements with 1,3in it. You can always go back to non-1,3 products, but chances are, you’ll love the feeling. The products that lead down this path all have a 9.0+ rating for a reason.
OK, you made it here. This is probably where the bulk of our readers should end up.
Question 3: Would you say you are more into “cutting” or “bulking” right now?
The Pre-Workout Carb Breakdown
Basically, we’re asking if you want to go low-carb / low-calorie, or if you want some calories / carbs in here.
We are huge fans of working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach with low carbs / low calories. I am personally not a huge guy and that’s the way I like it – I am more of a fitness athlete, sprinter, volleyball player type. So I like to stay relatively lean and this fasted AM workout keeps you in a fat-burning state.*
The higher-carb option is if you want some extra energy and are more worried about keeping your muscles full after a nice insulin spike, which will help provide nutrient delivery to them. But while you’re working off the carbs, you won’t be burning (as much) fat just yet – which may be fine if you wanna get big.
The one thing to note is that these products typically ALWAYS contain maltodextrin, which is not technically a sugar, but is still a nasty, high-glycemic processed carb that is simply not healthy in high doses and is all over the supplement world. As a natural food eater, I try not to touch maltodextrin (or any processed corn derivatives) ever. Sometimes this stuff is called “glucose polymers”. It’s the same BS, but hey, if you’re bulking, it works.
Anyway, a few grams of maltodextrin here or there? Even if you’re cutting or on a paleo diet, it’s no big deal. But 7g x 3 scoops? No thanks.
* As a sidenote on working out on an empty stomach, to make sure your muscles don’t eat themselves to death (this muscle-breakdown is called catabolism), we add BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids to the pre-workout, and also sip on them throughout. The new Scivation Xtendis our preference here.
Not only do we like low-carb, fasted workouts, but we also like the innovative, smaller companies, but choose your own destiny:
Excellent, you made it here – this is our favorite place to be.
Question 4 (final question):
Do you want more of a pump or more energy / focus?
You really can’t go wrong here. We just had to break the products down a bit further, and some of them are slanted towards more pump aminos, while others are more geared towards energy production. Honestly, pick any product below and you’ll love it regardless.
This is where the real fun is at, without the 1,3 dimeth. Anyone searching for a great supplement to get you going but has no 1,3 needs to be here. This section is basically the entire reason why we created this document… so let’s have at it. This section is stacked and is a tough call after #1.
- Driven Sports CRAZE (Click here to see the lowest price on Craze)
So you’re the kind of guy who needs a TON of energy and focus from your preworkout? You’re overseas and looking for a replacement to Jack3d (since DMAA is now banned)?
Introducing DRIVEN SPORTS CRAZE, the pre workout that will give you complete tunnel-vision and mind-blowing focus and energy. This stuff is ridiculous, and is becoming more and more popular by the day.
The winner of BB.com’s 2012 Breakout Supplement of the Year, CRAZE packs a touch of pumping punch with citrulline malate, and brings muscle-growing power with some creatine monohydrate, but let’s be real: This stuff is for insane energy.
And that energy is NOT from a ton of caffeine. On the contrary, there’s probably only about 80mg of caffeine per scoop. Instead, the latest and greatest plant extract is from the dendrobium flower, and this is going to parallel what geranium brought to Jack3d in the form of DMAA.
Beyond dendrobium and caffeine, there are agents from these extracts that bring NMT, or N-Methyl-Tyramine, which is just another “notch-lifter”. Popularized by the ErgoShred fat burner, you won’t really feel NMT totally on its own… but with other stimulants, it just brings things up ONE more point on the scale.
Meanwhile, there’s definitely some dopamine-boosting PEA forms that we love for mood, energy, and motivation enhancement. If you take CRAZE and do not want to go obliterate the gym, you really should see a doctor or cycle off of ALL stimulants for 4 straight weeks. Because this stuff is insane for nearly everyone.
Need to know more? CRAZE has its own website – click the link to read more!
- Athletic Xtreme SuperSize (Click here to see the lowest price on SuperSize)
SuperSize from Athletic Xtreme is brand new on the market, and it’s getting hot for a reason – it is a perfectblend of energy, focus, pumps, taste, and lack of nonsense.
I’ve been using SuperSize for a while, and despite the name, I want to highlight its energy and focus components first. This is the go-to supplement when you’re tired of all of the other stim products, because it has something far different. I couldn’t tell you how much caffeine is in here, but it’s enough. This works for both cardio sessions and lifting.
If you read through this document, you’ll see that we’re huge fans of N Acetyl L-Tyrosine for focus. While this is better than L-Tyrosine for bioavailability, I have to say, AX is on to something BIG with their version — Neuropeptide Alpha [Peptide Bonded Tyrosine and PEA (Tyrosine-Phenethylamine Peptide)].
Basically, Athletic Xtreme is very good at bonding and coating compounds so that your stomach can’t destroy them before they reach your bloodstream (and brain). And with this, your brain gets an amazing dosage of tyrosine and PEA, and your brain will be “wired” without getting stim-zapped.
Disodium ATP is in this, which isn’t common elsewhere on the page. Basically, ATP = Energy. It is the currency of energy transfer in your body, and supplementing this form of it helps your cells get the power they need to perform your explosive movements. Again, AX finds a way to package it so that you can actually supplement it without losing bioavailability.
But that’s not enough to reach the #1 spot – The reason this is also here is because the pumps are STILL insane. We love our nitrates on this site — when taken properly, that is. Well, SuperSize contains Leucine-Nitrate, which is a combination of the most important branched-chain amino acid, L-Leucine, and Nitrate. Once you break these down, you’ll get the anabolic (muscle-building), endurance, and anti-catabolic effects of leucine, PLUS the pumps from the nitrate!
Of course, we also have creatine in here, but not some crap creatine from China. This is the real deal – HPLC Pure German Creatine Monohydrate. Only the best stuff that won’t bloat you.
So yes, there are products below that have more stims (read: caffeine). But if you’re looking for the ultimate combination of energy, focus, AND pumps, it’s gotta be AX SuperSize.
If you’re interested in reading further, there’s a new SuperSize Pre Workout site to check out!
- The New White Flood (Click here to see the lowest price on White Flood)
White Flood from Controlled Labs – It’s always been very popular, especially since there’s no creatine, leaving more room for energy.
The new formulation has been wildly popular – both in taste and in the energy department. The beet root extract used is pretty damned wild and a great new innovation – it’s been used before, but never in this amount, and it works.
Rather than using arginine for pumps, cirturlline has been substituted in. Most people are happy with the results though, because you come into using this supplement knowing that you’re going after energy and focus.
The coolest ingredients here are definitely the beet root, caffeine, and vinpocetine for focus. But something new that’s not in many others is the sugar cane, extracted for octacosanol, which is scientifically proven to increase endurance. Most people have never heard of it, but it definitely works in elevating your V02 max for endurance sports and long lifts.
The reviews have been through the roof on this one. While we always loved the old White Flood lemonade taste, not many people did, to our surprise. Controlled Labs has fixed that one beyond question – We’ve never seen a supplement where NOBODY dislikes the taste – even with something as “risky” as watermelon.
Having no creatine is good because a lot of people like to get their creatine in at times different than pre-workout (such as first thing in the morning or post-workout), and most pre-workout supps don’t tell you how much creatine isactually in there.
- Animal Rage (Click here to see the lowest price on Animal Rage)
It kills us to put such an awesome product so low on the list, but that’s where they ended up… mostly due to taste and a bit too much caffeine (rumor has it’s a whopping 300mg, so you might like that)
But this also has everything we like, including Rhodiola and N-Acetyl Tyrosine… unfortunately in lesser amounts than the less-effective L-Tyrosine.
This is a kitchen sink of brain supplements – from the rhodiola and caffeine and tyrosines to ginseng, evodiamine, and vinpocetine, to choline and schizandra. If you have ADHD, you won’t after taking Animal Rage.
We just wish the caffeine content was toned down, the flavor was better (orange is by far the worst of all the supplements on this part of the list – and this is confirmed by the reviewers), and it was slightly “less proprietary”. Some new flavors have been released since we first wrote this, so we moved it up.
But at the same time… reviewers STILL love it and deal with the flavor because orange is worth the trouble and simply works. If you need lots of stims and get distracted easily, this is the one for you.
Anyway, Universal was due to replace Shock Therapy, and it looks like it was a nice success. Rage on.
- Driven Sports CRAZE (Click here to see the lowest price on Craze)
Finally, you’re here!
If you don’t know about Cellucor, then it’s time for you to wake up and check out this hot company. These guys are attacking it hard (as you can tell – they have about 4 products spread throughout this doucment), but it’s C4 Extreme that we’re most thrilled about.
Update: There is a C4 Extreme Free Trial Coming Soon, with multiple sample packs given! If you want us to e-mail you when it’s ready, fill out the form on our C4 Extreme page. We promise this is just a one-time reminder e-mail and won’t sign you up for any annoying newsletters.
C4 has all of our favorite stimulants and focus components – N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, a pretty high level of caffeine (135mg per scoop – Thank you Cellucor for telling us the dosage!), and Synephrine HCl, which is in many fat burners and is very synergistic with the caffeine.
But what’s coolest about C4 Extreme is that it also has Mucuna Pruriens – velvet bean. This contains L-Dopa and converts to dopamine in the brain. This supports growth hormone secretion, and you’ll be feeling good and less sore because of it. Fat burning will increase.
When you take this stuff, get ready to be put into the “C4 Mood” – calm, cool, collective, and CONFIDENT(our saying, not theirs).
The pump ingredients aren’t going to blow you out of the water – 1g of creatine nitrate will fill you up, and 1g of AAKG might give you a dash of a nitric oxide burst, and that’s why we keep this as a more “energy-focused” product and not on the Pump side.
Of course, you can take 2 scoops… just make sure you know how 270mg of caffeine is going to hit you. At that point, you probably won’t be “calm cool collective” anymore, but you’ll sure as shit be confident. Better suggestion if you’re really hitting it hard? Stack with NO3 Chrome.
Love this stuff, love Cellucor, end of story.
This one is not much of a contest for us. If you don’t want 1,3 or too many carbs, do want some energy (but not ridiculous amounts), and want to get a sick pump, SuperPump MAX is by far and away the product for you.
SuperPump MAX is the successor to SuperPump 250, which was hugely popular. But technology changed and the world started to move on, and the gurus at Gaspari found a way to top an incredibly hard-to-beat supplement.
There is no arginine in this – it is glycerin-based – and the pumps are probably better. It’s a great change-up from anything arginine based, and you can always add more AAKG if you really want, but it’s completely unnecessary with the sweetness of these pumps.
High amounts of taurine and some BCAAs, such as leucine, are in here, making it an all-around incredible product.
No doubt, there’s caffeine in here, but there’s definitely not a truckload of it to make you sick and crash. It’s just enough to get you going – and then the pumps do the rest of the work.
The flavoring is strong, so be ready – but the reviews are great.
Although we railed against maltodextrin above, this does have some – but not so much that it will make you sick. Definitely a tolerable amount.
M5 Extreme is different for a few reasons. First, it contains nitrates in the form of creatine nitrate for some great pumps. It’s main two pump ingredients, however, are arginine AKG (AAKG) and citrulline malate, both well-loved by nearly everyone.
But second is that this is a new “split cannister” that separates the stimulants from the muscle growth components. So you can build your own pre-workout supplement and customize the stims to suit your needs. If you’re caffeine sensitive and sick of using half a scoop of products because you’re not getting pumps – M5 has your name on it.
What we also love is that Cellucor has nothing to hide here. No proprietary formulas. You know almost exactlywhat you’re getting – 100mg of caffeine per scoop – which you can adjust. We love N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine for focus, and adding mucuna pruriens for growth hormone / recovery and rauwoliscine for fat-burn is a great change-up.
At 2 standard scoops, you’ll have 200mg caffeine, 6g of Leucine, 4g beta alanine, 4g of AAKG, and 4g of creatine nitrate. That’s a damned near perfectly balancedpre-workout supplement.
Every time we look, Cellucor is innovating, and that’s why half o their products are mentioned somewhere on this page. M5 Extreme has got to be one of their most underrated producst in the line-up though.
Note: If you don’t want the stims, send them over to us!
This one isn’t much of a question, in our humble opinions. There are practically infinity products in this category, and only 3 really seem to stand out to us.
- Muscle Pharm Assault (Click here to see the lowest price on Assault)
We’re always on the lookout for aggressive companies that are innovating and taking things to the next level. In this category, Muscle Pharm is the one and only.
There’s over 1000 reviews at BB.com, and they’re still over a 9.0 rating. That’s head-turning right there. But why?
First, the “Muscle Explosion NO Matrix” has a cocktail of arginines – basically everyone will respond. Adding Citrulline Malate and Glycine finish the job.
Next, we’re big believers in Creatine HCl, and there’s some of that in here. There’s more Creapure creatine monohydrate, but you don’t need much Creatine HCl to get the same effects.
Plenty of B Vitamins and electrolytes help a lot, and Taurine brings cell hydration. Combine that with the crazy 9g of glucose polymers in half a scoop(yes, this is maltodextrin), and you’re going to have some swollen muscles.
Unfortunately, the Assault Proprietary Blend is 20g of all of this, so who knows how much of anything there is. But… it works great.
- Infinite Labs Juggernaut (Click here to see the lowest price on Juggernaut)
Full Disclosure: We’ve only tried this once… stole a scoop from another friend. It was good, but nothing like Assault or SuperPump 250 in this category.
Want a dash of protein in your pre-workout supplement? This might be the only one on this entire sheet that has it (another one that does is NO Shotgun). It’s high quality whey protein isolate (more info at WheyProteinIsolateLabs.com) too, and we appreciate that.
The main reason this is here is because it’s been around for years and is still over 9.0 on the rating scale at BB.com. Mixing ChromeMate and Cinnamon extract with the carbs is a great idea. The electrolytes are also welcomed, as is Vinpocetine in the “Fatigue Arrest Complex”.
We have an idea that the main reason this is doing so well is because glycerol is in there too. An underrated compound that isn’t for everyone, and isn’t really in many other products here.
And the taste is very good. An overall well-rounded product if you’re not sure what you really want.
- NO Xplode 2.0 (Click here to see the lowest price on NOXplode 2)
Love em or hate em, BSN is the company that pretty much started this whole phenomenon with NO-Xplode. But time went on, technology changed, and flavor systems improved.
So BSN recently launched NO-Xplode 2.0, which is doing allright for itself. A lot of the previous side effects are gone, and the flavor is FAR better.
We really hoped that there’d be more innovation here though. Lots of the ingredients mentioned up in the “low carb energy” section are not in here, and we don’t understand why. There are several ways this product could have been better. This is a kitchen sink formula that forgot half of the sink.
But at the same time, a lot of people are loving it. So it’s here until you have better suggestions.
- Muscle Pharm Assault (Click here to see the lowest price on Assault)
You asked for it, and here it is. Don’t be surprised to see what’s on top…:
- Jack3d (Click here to see the lowest price on Jack3d)
This shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who knows the business. When USPLabs launched Jack3d, they completely revolutionized the pre-workout supplement industry. They brought 1,3 dimeth to the forefront, and the formula has been copied at least 100 times and NEVER duplicated.
This was the first company to ditch all the nonsense maltodextrin and magnesium and stick to what works: creatine, beta alanine, AAKG, caffeine, 1,3 dimethylamylamine, and Schizandrol A (which also gets your brain focused along with the caffeine and 1,3).
It’s not rocket science, but USPLabs got there first and has stayed on top. This is BY FAR the #1 selling pre-workout supplement and we don’t see that changing too soon. Products don’t get over 9.0 ratings after thousands of reviews for no reason.
If you’re on the 1,3 side of the fence, this is the one to start with. Bored with NO-Xplode or NaNO Vapor and need a new edge? Jack3d is where you need to be.
- APS Mesomorph (Click here to see the lowest price on Mesomorph)
APS simply isn’t messing around. This stuff not only has the standard stuff, but they put icariin in here too! This is extracted from the plant “Horny Goat Weed”, which you may have heard of. Basically, when it was discovered how viagra works, it was realized that it works on many of the same mechanisms that this stuff operates on – a truly natural libido booster that some people THRIVE on.
What icariin does is inhibit an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5, which restricts bloodflow. More bloodflow = more pumps! Similarly, it’s successfully used to treat erectile dysfunction disorder.
Further more, the icariin may restore low testosterone levels – this has been shown in studies.
The citrulline malate + beta alanine + AAKG finish you up with a nice pump, and then there’s your creatine and taurine for cell hydration and volumization.
This product is no joke… and we didn’t even get around to talking about the other stimulants (3 7-dihydro-3 7-dimethyl-1h-purine-2 6-dione = theobromine = mild stimulant + vasodilator!).
I’ll state it like a broken record – this and should NOT be your first-ever pre-workout supplement.
- Jack3d (Click here to see the lowest price on Jack3d)
The pills bring convenience, the powders often bring taste and lower costs-per serving. For whatever reason, most stimulant-free products are on the pill side, so this is where you’ll have the best options.
Arginine vs. Agmatine
We should all know the effects of L-Arginine-based supplements by now. Essentially, some form of arginine is the main ingredient in nearly every product on this entire page.
In case you’re new, here’s what basically happens: After you ingest L-arginine, it gets converted into L-citrulline by some enzymes known as Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS). This then boosts your nitric oxide production, improving your bloodflow and sending you a great pump with better nutrient delivery to your muscles. It’s popular because it works.
The latest in the world of arginine-based supplements is arginine nitrate, which enhances NOS production through some new metabolic pathways. This stuff is for real and as you’ll see below, arginine nitrate pills rank higher for us.
Agmatine, on the other hand, is something brand new that is getting rave reviews because it provides incredible pumps, fights pain, and creates an insulin response. It works on NOS in different ways… sometimes inhibiting some functions while enhancing others.
Because it’s new to the supplement world, agmatine’s effects are not completeyl understood, and it’s still expensive. But everyone who tries it is wildly impressed.
Conclusion: If you’re new to this stuff, don’t like taking risks, or are on a budget – take the arginine route. If you’ve already tried arginine-based supps, got the cash, and want to see what else is out there – check out agmatine.
Here’s your top three. Note that the first two actually contain arginine nitrate.
Of the two supplements with Arginine Nitrate inside, Cellucor NO3 Chrome easily won the battle – and that’s not to dis Yok3d, because it’s an incredible product. But NO3 Chrome simply has more arginine nitrateand a far better supporting cast!
You really need to try this stuff to believe it. Get ready – Cellucor is going to hype it hard – but we have no problem with that because it’s legit. This is no creatine ethyl ester hyped up kind of scam other companies did years ago. This is a MONSTER pump from a very small number of pills!
The thing we love about NO3 Chrome is that this is the first NO supplement to have pycnogenolto it.
What in the hell is that, you ask? We didn’t know either, until we started developing this site.
So here’s the story: One of the pages we wrote was Nitric Oxide Erections, since a lot of people search for that term. It makes sense – the improved bloodflow you get to your muscles when working out with these supplements also works for your unit downstairs in the bedroom – the science is all there. Vasodilation rocks.
But when researching if there’s really qualified research behind this, we found a little-known study showing that, yes, taking arginine may help people with ED get it hard… But when you add pycnogenol to the mix, over 80% of patients defeated their ED issues!! Amazing AND natural stuff – and it’s even an effective painkiller!
Now, we’re not using NO3 Chrome to get hard, and it won’t make you pop wood during your bench press… so don’t worry about that. But the moral of the story is that pycnogenol is a true nitric oxide amplifier. Mix it with arginine nitrate, the most awesome form of arginine, and it is game over.
Anyway, IT WORKS. NO3 Chrome, followed by Yok3d, are the two coolest arginine supplements to hit the market lately.
But Let’s not forget that Citrulline Malate and L-Norvaline are also in here. These two are both proven to be amazing nitric oxide precursors as well.
Once again, no questionable ingredients from Cellucor. Just real deal stuff backed by science (and happy housewives).
- Yok3d (Click here to see the lowest price on Yok3d)
Yok3d also defeats all other normal L-arginine-based supplements because it has arginine nitrate too. The bad news is that there’s less nitrate per serving, and the supporting cast doesn’t have as great of a track record.
The good news is that it is cheaper.
Stacking Yok3d with Jack3d is a home run, if you’re looking for stimulants. Jack3d brings more energy than pumps, and Yok3d clearly brings more pumps than energy. Together, though, you won’t find much of a better supplement.
Not too many companies are currently licensed to use arginine ntirate – so if you want to buy it, you need to go with these two products. There’s also a dash in one of the powdered stim-free pre-workouts, ThermoLife PUMP-BOL, but not enough to turn heads like the above two products.
- Nitrix (Click here to see the lowest price on Nitrix)
We couldn’t write in this section without talking about BSN’s Nitrix! This is one of the original pump pills that has been near the top and has stayed there for over a decade! Talk about staying power!
There are a zillion pre-workout pills that are arginine-based. They come and go. You can try any that you please, but Nitrix stays here because it oworks and we fully trust it.
Ingredient-wise, it’s a mix of 2 forms of arginine, L-citrulline, and a bit of creatine and beta alanine. There’s also some electrolytes… this product can probably be used to lower blood pressure inexpensively.
You can take this all day long relatively cheap, and stay pumped all day long too.
There are an infinite number of products behind these three. If you’re interested in some of the other leaders, see these nitric oxide pill price comparisons, broken down by “servings per dollar” for your convenience.
The Best Agmatine-Based Nitric Oxide Pills
There’s only a couple here, since this is so new. This is a tough one. Hemavol is going to work better – no question – since it’s got more ingredients to work. But you’re going to have to swallow 10 freakin’ capsules, making it almost $2 per workout!
On the other hand, you can take only $1 worth of raw agmatine to get the same amount of agmatine that’s in Hemavol.
Since we don’t feel like spending $2 per workout or swallowing 10 pills… here you go:
- SNS Agmatine (Click here to see the lowest price on SNS Agmatine)
If you haven’t heard of SNS, take note, they’re coming. Their Focus XT product is mentioned above, and they currently sell some stuff like piracetam that we’re huge fans of.
This is a straight-up agmatine product, is a good deal, and is #1 on the list. There’s not much else to say – you know what you’re getting.
- Hemavol Capsules (Click here to see the lowest price on Hemavol Caps)
Note: the above links go straight to the store because we don’t have a write-up on these anywhere.
Anyway, these Hemavol caps (all 10 of them) WILL give you a better workout pump than the agmatine alone. There is also a great dosage of citrulline malate and glycerol monostearate, proven to give massive pumps. We’re not going to argue that. It’s just twice as expensive per workout.
Basically, if you have the money and don’t care about 10 capsules, go for it. Otherwise start with agmatine alone and then move up if you need even more intensity.
Or… just take half a dose – at which point it’ll be a similar deal to the agmatine, only less agmatine and more extra stuff.
- SNS Agmatine (Click here to see the lowest price on SNS Agmatine)
There are basically four products below worth mentioning, so you might as well look at all of them, but we have one last step to break it down, since they are really three different kinds:
Each branch is completely different here, and you could actually take one of each if you wanted to spend a ton of money. It depends on what you’re really looking for.
And yeah, NO-Xplode and Cytosport Fast Twitch have caffeine-free versions, but those are nothingcompared to what we’re about to show you. Those two don’t really deserve to be mentioned with these.
- Ultra Reps (Click here to see the lowest price on Ultra Reps)
I have recently become a huge fan of Athletic Xtreme. After I was introduced to SuperSize, I had to check out the rest of their arsenal. It stands up to the test.
Athletic Xtreme (formerly known as Anabolic Xtreme) is becoming well-known for new chemical formulations that enable your body to absorb more, while breaking down less. Ultra Reps has one such example:
Nearly half of the products on this page contain beta alanine. This cool amino acid helps you produce more carnosine, which in turn helps your sore and tired muscles buffer lactic acid and get nasty ammonia out of them so that you can last longer. Supplementing beta alanine isproven to work in this manner.
And that’s an indirectroute! Why can’t we just supplement carnosine itself?! The answer is, Carnosine is simply poorly absorbed. Your body quickly metabolizes it into something that’s far less useful, so you’d need to take so much that it’d be downright expensive and wasteful (in all senses of the word).
Plus, it takes 4-8 weeks of slow and steady supplementation before you really start getting a great carnosine build-up.
The solution? Enterically-coated L-Carnosine that is FAR more bioavailable the firsttime you take it, and you need far less. AX has put a protective bio-coating on the compounds, so it gets right into the muscles, and I kid you not – it works. As I’m on a month with no stimulants, this stuff is a Godsend in both weightlifting and cardio sessions.
And the mixed wildberry tastes great! It actually smells just like blueberries. Huge fans of Ultra Reps, and Athletic Xtreme is seriously making names for themselves by making formerly impossible-to-work-with amino acids and compounds.
PS: There’s also HIGH QUALITY creatine in here, and Disodium ATP which works with that for more energy at the cellular level for your muscle fibers.
- Hemavol (Click here to see the lowest price on Hemavol)
Hemavol is changing the game. The pumps you get from these workouts are so ridiculous that you’ll forget you don’t have any stimulants in you. There are some exciting new ingredients here.
First, it contains 1000mg of agmatine, which is discussed above in the pill section. Basically this new compound also works to convert to nitric oxide but at a very very high rate – far higher than equivalent amounts of arginine.
Second, citrulline malate, which is in a bunch of other products here. A natural pre-cursor to arginine, which then helps you product NO as well.
Third, glycerol monostearate, which is a cell hydrator and brings water along with the nutrients into your muscles. This is why the product is called a plasma volumizer.
And then there’s the taste. Remember LEMONHEADS from growing up? This is what it tastes like. Even if you’re not into sour lemony stuff, you’re still going to love it – it’s THAT good. Possibly the best-tasting thing on this entire page.
- PUMP-BOL (Click here to see the lowest price on PUMPBOL)
Like many other glycerin-based pump supplements, PUMP-BOL is hit or miss – with a mostly successful hit rate though. If you’re looking for SuperPump MAX with no stimulants, then you want PUMP-BOL.
This, too, has no proprietary formula, and is an amazing mix of nitrates (not too much though). The nitrates will certainly help with the pumps, but there’s simply not enough to drive the pump like NO3 Chrome or Yok3d have. That’s okay though because this one is all about the GlyceroPhosphates inside.
The new ingredient you see here is Palitinose, which is a sugar replacement. It still counts as carbohydrates and is fully digested, but has a very low glycemic load because it is digested very slowly in the small intestine, causing no blood sugar spike and crash. Honestly, we’re not sure why this is in here, but we’ll take it over maltodextrin any day of the week.
- Omega Sports Ultima (Click here to see the lowest price on Ultima)
There are some huge differences between Ultima and the other two products in this section:
Ultima is more of a “traditional” pre-workout supplement without stimulants. While the other two here are going after pumps, Ultima has some other things in mind – long-term muscle growth with creatine, and BRAIN FOCUS.
It’s basically like a souped-up version of MuscleTech NeuroCore with added key ingredients and 5 grams fo carbs but no crazy stimulants. There’s practically no ingredients in here that we don’t like. Our favorites for cognition are the Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, DMAE, and PEA. For the muscles, the creatine mix and beta alanine will never steer you wrong.
So if you’re looking for stim-free focus, this is the way to go. If you want pump, look at the other two. If you want both, stack this with NO3 Chrome listed above.
This is a bit of a “kitchen sink” supplement, but there’s no proprietary formula. If you’re really interested, you can look at every single ingredient and see how it will help. Propritary formulas are becoming a thing of the past – Thank you Omega Sports!
PS: Citrus Dew – This tastes EXACTLY like Sunny Delight!
That concludes our flow chart. Hopefully you had fun with it and learned a few new things along the way.
Please leave comments below on where we went right, where we went wrong, and your favorite flavors of the products listed above. We can always be contacted on the top of the page too.
Full disclosure: we are affiliated with the stores that we send you to. They pay us very small commissions on the products that are purchased after going there. To compensate for this, we use price comparison technology to send you to the best-priced store for each product – often saving you over 40% vs. retail. Thanks for understanding.