Reviews

PES High Volume Review

High Volume is the most recent innovation from Physique Enhancing Science (PES). It is an entirely pump-focused pre-workout formula with a few pretty interesting ingredients…

PES High Volume

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L-Citrulline

Citrulline is a precursor to the amino acid Arginine, which is a precursor to Nitric Oxide (NO). As demonstrated in a 2007 study, supplemental Citrulline is significantly more effective at raising plasma Arginine than supplemental Arginine itself, and while results with Arginine are mixed, Citrulline has demonstrated clear efficacy as a performance enhancer.

A 2002 study, published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that Citrulline Malate supplementation (6g/day for 15 days) significantly increased ATP production during exercise in healthy adult males.

A 2009 study, published in the “Journal of Free Radical Research”, found that 6 grams of Citrulline Malate given to male cyclists before a race increased “plasma Arginine availability for NO synthesis and PMNs priming for oxidative burst without oxidative damage”.

A 2010 study from “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning” found that 8g of Citrulline Malate was able to progressively increase the amount of reps performed later in the workout (by as much as 52%) and significantly reduced muscle soreness.

A 2011 study, the subjects of which were rats, found that supplemental Citrulline increased muscular contraction efficiency (less ATP was required for the same amount of power), in-line with the findings of the above-mentioned human study.

Most recently, a 2014 study from the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” found that subjects who received 8g Citrulline prior to resistance training were able to perform more reps later in the workout, thus replicating the results of the prior 2010 study. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this study was that the subjects were all advanced weight-lifters, meaning the benefits of Citrulline apply to everyone, not just beginners.

High Volume contains 4g of Citrulline per serving. Most studies involving investigating performance enhancement have used 6g of Citrulline Malate (1:1), meaning 3g L-Citrulline and 3g Malic Acid. So, technically speaking, 4g L-Citrulline is a clinical dose, although Malic Acid may have inherent performance enhancing effects as well so it wouldn’t necessarily be accurate to say 4g of L-Citrulline is equivalent to 6g Citrulline Malate.

Arginine Nitrate

Arginine Nitrate is simply L-Arginine bonded with Nitrate (Nitric Acid). PES claims Arginine Nitrate is a superior form of Nitrate because Arginine (by itself) may prevent Nitrate tolerance.

A 2002 study from the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” found that Arginine was able to prevent the development of Nitrate tolerance during continuous transdermal nitroglycerin treatment in patients with chest pain, possibly indicative of early coronary artery disease. While these findings certainly demonstrate that Arginine is useful for preventing Nitrate tolerance in subjects with heart-related health conditions, it tells us nothing about athletes.

Arginine Nitrate is a speculative ingredient with regards to the claims that it is superior to other forms of Nitrate, but regardless of whether it is or not, it should at the very least provide the benefits associated with Nitrate supplementation. PES contains 2000mg of Arginine Nitrate, and though we don’t know how much of each component make that up, there is certainly enough room for an effective 300-600mg dose of Nitrates.

Agmatine Sulfate

In the past few years, Agmatine has gone from a rare ingredient to pre-workout staple, though it remains seriously under-researched relative to other popular pre-workout ingredients. Agmatine has been demonstrated to up-regulate Endothelial Nitric Oxide (eNOS), sometimes referred to as the “good” NOS, while inhibiting the other NOS enzymes (the “bad” NOS) in vitro, but human studies are non-existent.

The standard for Agmatine has become about 500mg, but High Volume contains double that (1000mg). Although clinical trials are limited, anecdotal reports indicate that 1000mg will do the trick.

Taurine

Taurine isn’t necessarily a “pump” ingredient, but can enhance performance through a different mechanism.

In a 2011 study from “Cell Biochemistry and Function” Taurine was shown to significantly reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress in skeletal muscle. These findings were consistent with those of an earlier (2004) study, published in “Amino Acids” which showed that Taurine may decrease exercise induced DNA damage, as well as “enhance the capacity of exercise due to its cellular protective properties”.

A recent 2013 study, also from “Amino Acids” noted a 1.7% improvement in 3k-time trial of runners after supplementing with Taurine, and these findings were further corroborated in a later 2013 study from “Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism “ in which Taurine supplementation was able to increase strength as well as decrease oxidative muscle damage.

PES does not disclose the exact amount of Taurine in the High Volume formula, but given a 3750mg proprietary blend, 1000-1500mg would make sense.

Glycerol

Glycerol has become pretty popular over last couple years as a pump-inducing ingredient in pre-workout supplements. It’s mechanism of action is simple: Glycerol draws water into cells which can directly enhance what we all know as “The Pump”. Beyond that, Glycerol has been alleged to have actual performance enhancement implications as well.

A 1996 study, published in the “International Journal of Sports Medicine”, found that Glycerol supplementation prior to exercise increased endurance in cyclists. These findings were replicated in a 1999 study from the “European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology” in which pre-exercise Glycerol supplementation enhanced time performance (also in cyclists).

A 2003 study, published in the “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise”, found that, while post-exercise Glycerol supplementation prevented exercise-induced dehydration, this had no impact on performance measures (compared to placebo).

The research as a whole indicates that Glycerol can be an effective pump agent (due to water retention), but may only noticeably enhance performance (endurance not strength) during long-duration exercise when dehydration becomes a contributing factor to fatigue.

Like Taurine, PES doesn’t disclose the amount of Glycerol in High Volume but there are no obvious red flags based on the label. Plenty of room for 1000-1500mg.

Amentoflavone

Amentoflavone is a compound found in such plants as Gingko and St. John’s Wort which has recently earned some recognition in the supplement community as a vasodilator and potential ergogenic.

Indeed, Amentoflavone has been shown, in vitro, to be a relatively potent vasodilator, with one study demonstrating that it can reduce noradrenaline-induced vasoconstriction by 35%.

Aside from being a potentially effective vasodilator, Amentoflavone has also been shown, in one study, to be 20 times more potent with Caffeine at causing Ca2+ (Calcium ion) release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of rabbit skeletal muscle. The SR releases Calcium ions during muscle contraction, then absorbs them during muscle relaxation. Ultimately, quicker release of Ca2+ means quicker muscle contraction, a mechanism well-established with Caffeine at this point.

Currently, however, Amentoflavone remains under-researched in humans and until more research is conducted, it’s difficult to estimate the magnitude of these effects. PES is the third brand we’ve seen recently incorporate this seemingly effective ingredient into their products, and the initial consumer reaction does corroborate some of the claims being made. In the end, every brand is entitled to speculative in order to innovate, and Amentoflavone helps round out the High Volume formula.

Rutaecarpine

Rutaecarpine is a primary bioactive found in Evodia rutaecarpa. In vitro, Rutaecarpine has been shown to elevate Nitric Oxide levels and induce vaso-relaxation, but it has never been studied in humans, let alone with regards to performance enhancement. For that reason, no optimal dosage has been established so even if PES disclosed the amount of Rutaecarpine, it would be difficult to interpret.

The Bottom Line

The High Volume formula is pretty impressive, though not overly complex. PES has made use of some fully-backed, clinically effective ingredients (at effective doses), as well as some more speculative, but potentially powerful ingredients like Amentoflavone and Rutaecarpine. The result: One seriously effective pump-based pre-workout. At about $1 per serving, PES isn’t over-charging on this one, despite using effective levels of key ingredients. If you’re searching for a stim-free pump-centric PWO, we’d recommend giving High Volume a shot.

Still not sure which non-stimulant pre-workout is best for you? Check out our Best Non-Stimulant (Pump) Pre-Workout Supplements List!

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