For many people, a pre workout supplement is the difference between going through the motions and absolutely crushing their workouts. New pre workout supplements come out daily and every supplement company claims they have the strongest pre workout around.
A nice, strong pre workout supplement can make a profound difference in terms of:
Strength and Endurance
Energy and Focus
Physical and Mental Fatigue
Drive And Motivation
But let’s face it…
Most of them are weak. The average pre workout is no more powerful than an energy drink. For some people, that may be fine, but others need something stronger.
Over the years the pre workout category has evolved and split into subcategories, with many brands releasing stimulant-based pre workouts and pump-based as separate products.
Since the term “pre workout” is now more of an umbrella term, we decided to compile a separate list for for those individuals who are primarily interested in the stimulant-aspect of pre workouts. In other words, if you’re searching for the absolute strongest pre workout, this list is for you…
Our Criteria For The Strongest Pre Workouts
The supplements on this list are far more than just a blend of stimulants. Sure, the stimulants are where the energy and focus come from, but there are more important factors to consider as well when choosing the right pre workout supplement…
Heavy On The Stimulants
Many pre workouts rely on Caffeine alone to accomplish these things, but Caffeine alone just doesn’t do the trick for many people.
If you’re reading this list, you’re probably one of them. Don’t worry, when we set out to create the ultimate list of the strongest pre workout supplements, we disregarded any product where the only stimulant is Caffeine.
If you’re looking for a less stimulant heavy, Caffeine-based pre workout that will still offer a smooth rush of energy, check out this list. If you prefer the type of pre workout supplement that gives you insane energy and has you sweating before you even get to the gym, read on…
The pre workouts on this list aren’t just stim-bombs though. A truly effective pre workout needs more than just stimulants. It also needs clinically effective doses of key non-stimulant ingredients to support strength, endurance, and cognitive function.
Which brings us to the next item on our list of criteria…
Clinically Dosed Ingredients
When it comes to stimulants, there is no such thing as clinical dosing usually. For example, some people may feel the effects of 50mg of Caffeine while others need like 400mg to even get out of bed. This is in contrast to ingredients like Beta-Alanine, Citrulline, Creatine, etc. for which a clinically effective dose (or range) have been established.
Those ingredients have been studied enough for us to know that they each have a clinically effective dose. If they aren’t clinically dosed, you really don’t know for sure if you’re getting the benefits.
Many high-stimulant pre workouts don’t include any non-stimulant ingredients, especially at clinical doses. This is simply because these ingredients tend to be costly and many companies feel that they can get away with just selling you a massive dose of stimulants and you’ll be happy.
Well, it’s time we abandoned the notion that “pre workout” means “stim-bomb”. It doesn’t have to. There are plenty of pre workout supplements that deliver in terms of both energy and physical performance.
That’s why when we compiled this list of the strongest pre workouts, we steered clear of pre workouts that only contain stimulants with no other supporting non-stimulant ingredients.
If you just want stimulants, buy them separately and just mix up you’re own. You shouldn’t pay a premium for under-dosed ingredients sprinkled with stimulants.
Transparently Labeled (No Proprietary Blends)
Unfortunately, the pre workout category has been extremely resistant to ditching Proprietary Blends and using transparent labeling practices. The reason for this is simple…
Since using clinical doses of ingredients can get expensive, many supplement companies choose to just group them all together in a proprietary blend and hope that customers don’t notice.
There’s been a trend toward more transparency in recent years, but you’ll still find tons of pre workouts that list all the ingredients in a proprietary blend.
This is a problem for 2 reasons:
- You don’t know if the ingredients are clinically dosed
- You don’t know how much Caffeine or other stimulants you’re getting
So, not only could you be getting ripped off, but you could be taking something that’s downright dangerous. The fact that some companies won’t disclose the amount of Caffeine in their formulas shows that they really don’t care about the safety or health of their customers.
Do you really want to take a pre workout supplement that might contain 100mg of Caffeine but could just as easily contain 500mg of Caffeine? NO! You want to know what you’re putting in you’re body and how much of it you’re putting in your body.
That’s why we disregarded every pre workout supplement with a non-transparent label when making this list. How can a supplement company claim their pre workout is “the strongest pre workout ever” if they don’t even tell us the Caffeine content? In our view, they can’t…
It’s up to you if you want to trust companies that use non-transparent labels, but we strongly urge all of our readers not to buy these products. As consumers, we vote with our dollars. If we all refuse to buy products which are not transparent, they will cease to exist. Simple as that…
What Are The Ingredients That Power “High-Stim” Pre-Workouts?
When you start comparing supplement facts panels of different pre-workout supplements, you’ll notice several ingredients in common. It’s always a good idea to gain at least a preliminary understanding of what these stimulants do and how they may impact your workouts.
Caffeine is the single most common ingredient in all pre-workout supplements. High-stim pre-workout supplements tend to carry higher doses of Caffeine in the 300-400mg range.
By triggering the release of neurotransmitters like Noradrenaline and Dopamine which increase energy, focus, and motivation, Caffeine is one of the most effective workout supplement ingredients there is.
By itself, it doesn’t necessarily constitute “high-stim” levels, but it’s usually combined with other stimulants for an amplified effect.
Higenamine is a beta-receptor agonist which also functions as a Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant. In addition to it’s established fat-burning properties, Higenamine also increases energy and focus.
Most pre-workouts which are considered “high-stim” make use of Higenamine and it’s one of the primary ingredients responsible for the “tunnel-vision” feeling of focus and determination that many high-stim pre-workout users are after.
As an alpha-receptor antagonist, Rauwolscine has potent fat-burning properties, but also increases feelings of energy and focus.
It also has mood-boosting properties so it’s often included in high-stimulant pre-workout supplements for that reason as well.
2-Aminoisoheptane, also known as DMHA, is a synthetic stimulant which is essentially the runner up to now banned AMP Citrate which was itself a runner up for DMAA. The truth is, these new stimulants are nothing like DMAA so don’t get your hopes up.
Still, when combined with the right blend of other stimulants, DMHA may definitely provide something in the way of energy, focus, and motivation to train.
Ah, the holy grail of pre-workout stimulants…
First it was banned, then it came back, then it went away…And now it’s back again! Thanks the Jared at Hi-Tech, DMAA is starting to make it’s way back into the supplement market and it’s actually the reason why Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme made the top of our list…
This is a very powerful CNS stimulant. Combined with other stimulants, it provides intense focus and energy.
The Absolute Strongest Pre Workout Supplements
The following supplements are what we consider the strongest pre workout supplements, based on the criteria we discussed above. The order isn’t particularly important, but you’ll find the stronger pre workouts towards the top of the list.
If you love stimulants, you’ll probably love just about every pre workout on this list. Just be careful with the dosing. Some of these products are so strong they recommend starting with half a scoop your first time around.
BLACKSTONE LABS DUST EXTREMEFIND IT HERE
Dust Extreme is without a doubt one of the most stimulant-packed pre workouts of all time, but it makes the top of the strongest pre workouts list for one reason and one reason only…
It contains DMAA!
That’s right, it seems the folks over at Blackstone Labs aren’t willing to throw in the towel with the rest of the supplement community and give up on DMAA. In fact, Blackstone isn’t even pretending like it’s some sort of Geranium Extract or something like some other companies have done in the past.
It’s listed on the label as 1,3 DMMA (Dimethylamylamine), clear as day.
Dust Extreme also contains a host of other stimulants at some pretty high doses. In fact, even without DMAA, Dust Extreme would still be one of the best high-stimulant pre workouts. With DMAA though…nothing else compares.
What makes Dust Extreme far superior to just about every other high-stim pre workout is the fact that it contains clinical doses of two proven (non-stimulant) performance enhancing ingredients:
- Citrulline Malate
- Betaine Anhydrous
Between the two of them, you’re looking at increased strength, better pumps, more endurance, and all-around better recovery. Very few high-stim pre workouts actually contain clinical doses of non-stimulant ingredients like this.
Way to go Blackstone!
CHAOS AND PAIN CANNIBAL FEROX
While you won’t find any DMAA in Chaos And Pain’s Cannibal Ferox, you will find just about every other stimulant imaginable at some pretty powerful doses. When you take a look at the formula as a whole, it’s easy to see that this is DEFINITELY one of the strongest pre workout supplements known to man.
What separates Cannibal Ferox from the majority of other high-stim pre workouts though, is it’s solid foundation of clinically dosed performance enhancing ingredients:
- Citrulline Malate
If we had to come up with a list of the 3 most effective non-stimulant performance enhancing ingredients, it would probably end up being those 3. Study after study after study has proven that Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, and Creatine can (collectively)
- Increase Strength
- Boost Endurance
- Provide Sick Pumps
We applaud Chaos And Pain for realizing that no stimulant can replace the physical performance benefits of these ingredients. What’s more, they’re actually dosed appropriately!
All in all, if you’re looking for a strong pre workout supplement, Cannibal Ferox is worth considering.
REDCON 1 TOTAL WAR
No list of the strongest pre workout supplements would be complete without Total War by RedCon 1. This is a brand that has seen tremendous success in a relatively short period of time due to some seriously effective, no BS supplements.
Total War is the perfect embodiment of what RedCon 1 is all about: providing RESULTS!
The formula starts off strong with clinical doses of
- Citrulline Malate (6g)
- Beta-Alanine (3.2g)
- Agmatine (1g)
- Taurine (1g)
So even without the stimulants and cognitive enhancement ingredients, you’d still be looking at an awesome performance enhancing pre workout. Luckily for us, there are quite a few stimulants in Total War which cumulatively pack a VERY powerful punch in terms of energy, focus, and motivation to train.
Total War is the type of pre workout that has you in the gym for way longer than you intended. Just make sure you’re not late for work!
PERFORMAX LABS HYPERMAX XTFIND IT HERE
Over the years, Performax Labs has reformulated HyperMax at least a few times but one thing has always remained constant…The balance between energy/focus and physical performance enhancement. So, it’s not much of a surprise that it landed itself on this list of the strongest pre workout supplements.
We’re pleased to see that this perfect balance is alive and well with HyperMax XT, the latest pre workout from Performax.
The formula starts off VERY strong with give powerful non-stimulant performance enhancing ingredients:
Now, if Performax decided to cut the formula right there, it would probably still land on our Best Non-Stimulant Pre-Workout Supplements list. It’s that well-rounded!
Luckily for all of us stimulant-lovers, the formula is complete with several powerful stimulants. Performax does us a huge solid by listing the exact dose of Caffeine in HyperMax XT at 325mg.
That’s actually a pretty powerful dose of Caffeine on it’s own, but given the other stimulants in the formula, it merely serves as a foundation for one SERIOUSLY strong pre workout supplement. You will NOT be disappointed with HyperMax XT.
Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White CutFIND IT HERE
DVST8 White Cut is possibly the most well-rounded pre workout supplement on this list. Yes, it contains high doses of stimulants which will provide A LOT in the way of energy and focus, but at 2 scoops, you’re also getting clinical doses of ingredients like
- Citrulline Malate
all of which can boost strength, endurance, and provide some pretty awesome pumps!
On top of that, the stimulant profile is actually pretty unique. Rather than just throw in bunch of Caffeine and hope for the best, Inspired Nutraceuticals has opted to use stimulants like:
- N-Phenylethyl Dimethylamine Citrate
As well as 3 types of Caffeine! If you love stims but also value physical performance enhancement, you’ll absolutely LOVE DVST8 White Cut. One of the strongest pre workout supplements ever? Yes!
Active Alliance Nutrition Pre-Workout Extreme
AAN’s Pre-Workout Extreme is definitely what you might consider a “high-stim” pre-workout, but it is by no means dependent on stimulants for efficacy. In fact, the Performance and Endurance Matrix contains clinically effective doses of:
And even a little bit of Creatine.
The stimulant aspect of the formula is of course the most exciting though. With 385mg of Caffeine in total, plus the addition of
This is clearly one of the most stim-heavy, energy-packed pre-workout supplements around. I scoop not only provides strength and endurance, but the energy alone will have you going and going for hours on end.
Sparta Nutrition Kraken
If you take a good look at the ingredient profile for Sparta Nutrition’s Krakan, it’s easy to see why it deserves a spot on the strongest pre workout supplements list.
Not only does it contain clinically effective doses of ingredients like:
But the stimulant profile is quite thorough as well. Some of the more unique additions include 2-Aminoisoheptane and Eria Jarensis Extract. Combined with a solid (2o0mg) dose of Caffeine, these powerful stimulants unite to increase mental energy, alertness, and focus.
Kraken is easily one of the most well-rounded, strongest pre workout supplements on this list, even if it’s not “the strongest” per se.
5% Nutrition 5150FIND IT HERE
It seems like the overall goal of 5% when formulating 5150 was just to make the strongest pre workout possible. It provides fairly hefty doses of several powerful stimulants, including a whopping 400mg of Caffeine per serving.
In addition, it also provides effective doses of Citrulline and Taurine, making it more than just an ordinary stim-bomb. Make no mistake, however…5150 is a seriously high-stim pre workout!
CHAOS AND PAIN CANNIBAL RIOTFIND IT HERE
If you’re familiar with Chaos And Pain as a brand, then it should come as no surprise that 2 of their products ended up on this list of the absolute strongest pre workout supplements. What can we say? Chaos And Pain puts out some seriously hardcore formulas which have a research-backed aspect to them that is generally lacking with high stimulant pre workout supplements.
Cannibal Riot actually used to be towards the top of this list because it used to contain DMAA, but that version appears to have been discontinued. The new formula isn’t bad, but it’s just not quite as strong as when it had DMAA is all.
You’re still getting clinical doses of key ingredients Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, and Glycerol, as well as a few powerful stimulants. The formula contains a whopping 300mg of Caffeine per serving, definitely placing it in “high-stim” territory.
While we wouldn’t consider Cannibal Riot the strongest pre workout, it’s deserves a mention in any conversation about high-stim pre workouts.
TLM Research Meth Lab
As the name implies, Meth Lab is designed to be the strongest pre-workout ever. With a whopping 400mg of Caffeine per serving, plus 60mg of Higenamine (a pretty high dose), Meth Lab definitely has what it takes to elicit extreme energy and focus.
The non-stimulant ingredients are fairly well-dosed. We’re pleased to see TLM using a true clinical (5g) dose of Creatine. That’s pretty rare these days in pre-workouts as more and more companies have abandoned Creatine in favor of ingredients that don’t take up as much space in the formula.
TLM has done an excellent job of combining some well-known performance enhancers with stimulants to create one ultra-solid pre-workout supplement that is guranteed to:
- Increase Strength
- Boost Energy And Focus
- Provide Some Awesome Pumps
While the name may be somewhat intimidating, there’s nothing meth-related in this pre-workout. Just a VERY high dose of Caffeine along with some other (legal) stimulants. Over all, it’s perfect for anyone who values simplicity but needs a powerful jolt of energy to get going.
Are High-Stim Pre-Workouts Safe?
A primary criticism of high-stimulant pre-workout supplements is that, often times, the ingredients don’t have a very established safety profile. With the exception of Caffeine, Synephrine, and Yohimbine, most supplements just haven’t been studied much in humans.
Does this mean they aren’t safe? No, it just means we’re not really sure.
Ultimately, you’re responsible for what you put in your own body, but when it comes to high-stim pre-workouts such as the products we discussed above, start with a low dose. Then work your way up if you feel like you can handle a full dose.
You definitely DO NOT want to make the mistake of taking too much of any of these products. It might just be your last workout!
No, but seriously…be careful. Don’t try to impress your friends by exceeded the recommended dose.
Should You Cycle On And Off Your Pre-Workout Supplement?
One of the most common questions we get asked here at SuppWithThat is whether or not people should cycle on and off their pre-workout supplements.
Here’s what we tell them…
It’s ALWAYS a good idea to take a break every once in a while. This goes for pretty much all supplements except for those that convey general health benefits (like Fish Oil or something).
Using stimulants every day will generally lead to stimulant tolerance. You’ll need to take more and more to get the same effect and eventually you’ll find yourself exceeding the recommended maximum dose…
That’s when you know it’s bad!
A great way to avoid stimulant tolerance is simply to stop taking your pre-workout for a few weeks every once in a while. Or, if you simply can’t lift without a pre-workout, at least switch to a different pre-workout with different stimulants.
Caffeine isn’t so bad, but there are some stimulants which you don’t want to become dependent on…
The Bottom Line
If you’re the type of person who just wants the strongest pre workout possible, then take your pick! Any of the supplements listed above will provide insane levels of energy, focus, drive, and performance enhancement.
It’s one thing to just throw a bunch of stimulants together and call it a pre-workout, but the products on this list actually bring something additional to the table in the form of clinical doses of effective performance enhancing ingredients.
If you’re looking for a less stimulant-heavy pre-workout that delivers on performance enhancement, check out our Best Pre-Workout Supplements list.