what is the best pre workout

The 10 Best Pre Workouts Of 2020 (THE RUSS LIST!)

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You guys seem to like my reviews.

And I dig it.

They’re honest, they’re brutal, they’re impartial.

That’s quite hard to find nowadays, given that most “reviews” are just poor attempts at sales pitches in disguise. But one question I’ve frequently been asked, and that I’ve never answered before, is whether I can compile my favorite supplements into one big list.

Kinda like a “who’s who?” of the top dogs in the industry.

Yes, I can do that.

And for lack of a better name, I’ll call it The Russ List. Because it is easy to remember, and you know if something makes The Russ List, it is 100% recommended by me. If this catches on and becomes a popular post on the site, it’s something I’ll update every year with a new bunch of the top products at the time.

The pre workout supplements which have been featured down below represent the best of the best… of the best… of the best.

So who are the inaugural champions of The Russ List?

Let’s start the top ten and find out.

After you’re done reading my comprehensive breakdown of the best pre workout supplements, be sure to check out The Russ List 2020: Top 5 Whey Protein Powders.

best pre workout

10. AML DOPA RUSH PRE WORKOUT

best pre workouts 2020
AML Dopa Rush Pre Workout Review

We start the list with an unusual entry…

I’m all for ingenuity, and there’s one company out there who are really on top of their game at the moment – AML.

The original Dopa Rush was released in 2018 by the awesome Advanced Molecular Labs and it was basically their take on an energy drink, with one major difference – there were no bulls**t cheap ingredients.

Dopa Rush worked by maximizing dopamine production (as the name suggests) and making the user feel insanely focused and full of energy. It quickly became a crowd favorite, so much so they actually upgraded the formula to make it into a fully fledged pre workout.

The original Dopa Rush contained 2g l-tyrosine (clinical dose) alongside 200mg caffeine, the fantastic addition of 125mg TeaCrine (I believe this ingredient will become caffeine’s eventual successor, as it provides all of its benefits without any of its drawbacks), and 100mg garcinia indica extract to maximize dopamine production.

The Dopa Rush Pre Workout formula simply builds upon this by adding 6 grams of l-citrulline, some beetroot extract and potassium.

While this is not your typical “bodybuilding pump formula” (I’ll get to those later on), Dopa Rush Pre Workout is a fantastically unique product that I highly recommend. Especially if you perform HIIT. You’ll never want another pre workout. These guys are raising the bar with everything they do.

Product Highlights:

> 6g l-Citrulline.
> 200mg Caffeine.
> 125mg TeaCrine.
> 2g l-Tyrosine.
> 100mg Garcinia Indica Extract.
> Excludes taurine, BCAAs & niacin.


You can buy this product HERE.


9. REDCON1 TOTAL WAR

best pre workouts 2020
REDCON1 TOTAL WAR REVIEW

RedCon1 are the supplement industry’s “next big thing”.

Trust me.

With their air force themed packaging and product names, this US-based company have successfully taken a look at what Grenade previously did, and beat them at their own game.

I understand that some of you may be put off out of loyalty towards another company on the list (Iron Addicts Brand), and that’s understandable, given they’ve got previous and the product bears a striking resemblance to CT Fletcher’s Sidewalk Kraka.

But there’s no denying that Total War is a quality pre workout, and it’s being marketed in a genius way that will undoubtedly make RedCon1 a very well known brand in the next few years.

While the product is fully dosed in citrulline malate and beta-alanine, there are a few ingredients that don’t make the cut. You’ll find them in RedCon1’s intra-workout (Big Noise), with the idea being you grab both for the maximum experience.

This would drive the price up, of course, and there are better options available as you’ll see below, but on its own Total War is a decent choice.

Product Highlights:

> 6g Citrulline malate
> 350mg Caffeine
> 3.2g Beta-alanine

You can buy this product HERE.


8. MUSCLE RAGE LIMITLESS

best pre workouts 2020
the Russ list 2020

Musle Rage are one of the UK’s up and coming supplement manufacturers, and Limitless is their flagship preworkout.

They’ve done well here to surpass several major brands to claim a spot in the top ten.

(Looking at you; Optimum Nutrition, MyProtein, Gaspari, Reflex…)

Limitless provides full clinical doses of citrulline malate and beta-alanine alongside a big dose of caffeine – and it’s one of the few remaining products to still include the controversial stimulant DMHA.

There are too many absentees for it to challenge the top three spots on the list, but it’s a solid product nonetheless.

Product Highlights:

> 6g Citrulline malate
> 3.2g Beta-alanine
> 350mg Caffeine
> 225mg Stimulant blend (a good thing or a bad thing, depending if you compete in a sport)
> Excludes taurine, BCAAs & niacin

You can buy this product HERE.


7. ISATORI MORPH XTREME

best pre workouts 2020
isatori morph xtreme review

God damn, I love iSatori. I really do…

Because whatever they do, they’re always at the cutting edge of something.

Their first product, Meta-CEL, and it’s accompanying training program was KILLER… Then they introduced creatine ethyl ester to the market… Then they created the world’s first pre workout built around beta-alanine (H-Blocker)… Then they developed their best-seller, the very interesting Bio-Gro

MORPH was originally released way back in 2008.

“I am MORPH. I am like no other.”

I can still remember the hype for it. And after disappearing for a few years (apart from a very brief reappearance as Morph MegaDrive), it made it’s true comeback in 2018 under the name Morph Xtreme.

It didn’t disappoint, either.

In fact, Morph Xtreme ticks most of the boxes you’d expect from a pre workout that features in my Top 10 list, and I’d expect nothing less from iSatori.

Morph Xtreme is fully dosed in citrulline malate, beta-alanine, caffeine, choline, and creatine. However, it makes the mistake of including taurine (which we don’t want), as well as unnecessary BCAAs. Consider these merely slight blips on an otherwise top of the line pre workout.

Product Highlights:

> 7g Citrulline malate
> 3.2g Beta-alanine
> 2.5g Creatine Magnesium Chelate
> 1.5g Betaine
> 350mg Caffeine


You can buy this product HERE.


6. TRUEFIERCE NUTRITION PREFIERCE

what is the best pre workout 2020
prefierce pre workout review

PreFierce is a strong first effort from American supplement company TrueFierce Nutrition.

The formula is really clear and provides us with proper doses of citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and betaine – in fact, the first two go slightly higher than the clinical dose.

At 250mg, caffeine is high enough to let you reap its energy-boosting effects but short of the full 400mg we’d require to unlock its strength training benefits. Of course, if you’re caffeine naive that could be seen as a good thing, as 400mg may blow your forehead clean off.

I’m impressed TrueFierce have also added 250mg l-theanine, so even at a manageable caffeine dose of 250mg they’re ensuring you won’t feel a sudden energy crash when your workout ends.

They do also include a bunch of so-called “fat burning ingredients” (acetyl-l-carnitine, green tea extract, black pepper extract) but consider these fillers which offer very little in comparison to the big guns.

Product Highlights:

> 7g Citrulline malate.
> 3.5g Beta-alanine.
> 2.5g Betaine.
> 250mg Caffeine.
> 250mg l-theanine.
> Excludes taurine, BCAAs & niacin.
> No exotic stimulants or any other ingredients which fall under a grey area for sports performance.

You can buy this product HERE.


5. IRON ADDICTS BRAND SIDEWALK KRAKA

what is the best pre workout 2020
iron addicts sidewalk kraka review

We’re at the top end now… This is where the big boys live.

CT Fletcher bucks the trend of YouTube stars releasing awful supplements to cash in on their fame.

His supplement line, Iron Addicts Brand, landed in 2016 and endured a torrid behind-the-scenes power struggle which saw their first-rate products disappear completely from the marketplace. But CT promised he would “rise from the ashes like a motherf**king Phoenix!”…

… and he did.

In mid-2019, Iron Addicts Brand was reborn and his explosive pre workout, the awesomely-named Sidewalk Kraka, made a comeback.

His first attempt in 2016 was so damn near perfect that he didn’t need to change very much second time round. The only notable switch is the removal of stimulant DMHA, a move many of the other brands on this list also made, as a growing number of governing sporting bodies began flagging their athletes for using it.

Inside the new-look Sidewalk Kraka, you’ll find a pretty huge 374mg caffeine alongside 100mg theobromine. Given that theobromine is basically a longer lasting version of caffeine, you should expect that one sip of this pre workout will turn you into CT himself.

The excellent stimulant blend does a top job of replicating the euphoric training effect caused by DMHA in the previous product, which is quire remarkable, as many other brands tried and failed at the same thing.

The only downside to Sidewalk Kraka is that you won’t find citrulline malate or betaine here.

Iron Addicts Brand actually started the trend for supplement companies splitting pre workouts into two formulas (a move since copied by nearly every major brand since 2016), with the idea being to take their stimulant blend (Sidewalk Kraka) prior to training, then take their pump formula (Swoliosis – which contains betaine and CitMal) during your workout.

So getting the full CT Fletcher pre workout experience can be quite an expensive affair, but I promise it’s worth it.

It was originally set to claim the no.3 spot on my list, but has to settle for 5th as punishment for being difficult to order this product due to consistently low stock.

Product Highlights:

> 374g Caffeine.
> 100mg Theobromine.
> 125mg stimulant blend.
> 3.2g beta-alanine.
> Excludes taurine, BCAAs & niacin.
> No exotic stimulants or any other ingredients which fall under a grey area for sports performance.

You can read my full in-depth review here, and you can buy this product HERE.


4. JYM SUPPLEMENT SCIENCE PRE-JYM

what is the best pre workout 2020
PRE JYM REVIEW

When Dr. Jim Stoppani released Pre Jym in 2014, he almost single-handedly changed the supplement industry.

Up until that point, most big brands had hidden their formula behind proprietary blends, so the customer never truly knew if they were getting full clinical doses of the ingredients inside the tub (spoiler: they weren’t!). So when the doc decided to use open labels which not only showed all the ingredients, but also their doses, it gave the business a well-needed shake.

Of course, that was 2014…

And while Pre Jym still holds up as a very good product, it’s inevitable that other companies picked up the gauntlet which the doctor threw down and eventually surpassed the previous champ.

That’s not to say Pre Jym is poor, of course.

Highlights include a full clinical dose of citrulline malate, 300mg caffeine, 2 grams of beta-alanine, 1.5 grams of betaine, and 2 grams of creatine HCL. This is all good stuff, and it has the unique asset of being part of “The JYM System”, whereby every product works alongside each other, although it will cost you a f**king bomb to get them all.

For example, the post-workout product (Post Jym) perfectly compliments Pre Jym and pushes many of the lower dosed ingredients into fully dosed territory.

Sadly, we also have the unnecessary inclusion of taurine and BCAAs. We do not need these.

Truth be told, Pre Jym could use an updated formula to reclaim its spot at the top of the list. But the doc insists he still believes his product is “perfect as it is”, so it looks like it’ll have to settle for being a contender.

Product Highlights:

> 6g Citrulline malate
> 300mg Caffeine
> 1.5g Betaine
> 5g creatine monohydrate
> 2g Beta-alanine
> 1.5 g l-tyrosine
> Works perfectly alongside Post Jym, which provides another 1.5g betaine, 2g beta-alanine, 2g creatine HCL, as well as a bunch of BCAAs and taurine at a time when they can actually be beneficial.

You can read my full in-depth review here, and you can buy this product HERE.


3. ALPHA LION SUPERHUMAN

the russ list best pre workouts 2020
list of best pre workouts 2020

With a brand name like Alpha Lion, a supplement name like SuperHuman, and a core promise of “the most anabolic workout of your life”, here’s a company who ain’t short on self-confidence.

And quite rightly so.

Here’s a product which is fully dosed in citrulline malate (7 grams), caffeine (375mg), beta-alanine (3.5 grams), and l-theanine (350mg), and contains 2 grams of betaine, so why wouldn’t it shout about how awesome it is?

The truth is, you can do a lot worse than this pre workout and it absolutely squashes most of the competition.

Interestingly, Alpha Lion decided to keep their DMHA stimulant formula at a time when most other brands are bailing out on the ingredient. DMHA is a wonderful training aid, but may throw SuperHuman into a grey area for you if you compete in any sport.

It isn’t perfect, of course, because again we see the pointless inclusions of niacin and taurine (argh!).

Product Highlights:

> 6g Citrulline malate.
> 375mg Caffeine.
> 3.5g Beta-alanine.
> 2g Betaine.
> 350mg l-theanine.
> 175mg simulant blend including DMHA (it’s a good point because exotic stimulants are great for training, but it’s also a bad point as many are banned in sport).

You can read my full in-depth review here, and you can buy this product HERE.


2. NUTRABIO PRE

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NutraBio PRE review

I’m a huge fan of NutraBio.

I’ve held this company in very high regard ever since Jim Stoppani unprofessionally picked a fight with them in 2016, and their owner Mark Glazier dismantled Jim’s arguments without stooping to the same level.

And the bottom line is NutraBio products are ALWAYS in the top 5.

Whether it’s whey protein, recovery drinks, or in this case; pre workouts. They know how to make great products, and they don’t mess around when it comes to top notch ingredients.

NutraBio PRE is essentially a superior version of Pre-Jym (further down this list, which I’m sure they’ll love), as it works with a very similar list of ingredients but provides more optimal doses.

Full clinical doses of betaine, citrulline malate, beta-alanine, l-tyrosine, 350mg caffeine (and a huge 300mg l-theanine to combat the crash from that), make PRE one of the most well-dosed products on the planet.

Like many of the other products in the top 10, you can combine this with their equally well-dosed post-workout (NutraBio Reload) for a comprehensive stack of everything you’ll ever need around training.

It’s not without its faults, of course. For instance, they couldn’t resist adding taurine and leucine.

But while it won’t be troubling AML for the top spot this year, NutraBio PRE sits head and shoulders above every other pre workout on the list.

Product Highlights:

> 6g Citrulline malate.
> 2.5g Betaine.
> 3.2g Beta-alanine.
> 1.5g l-tyrosine.
> 350mg Caffeine.
> 300mg l-theanine.
> No exotic stimulants or any other ingredients which fall under a grey area for sports performance.

You can buy this product HERE.


1. AML PRE WORKOUT

what is the best pre workout
AML PRE WORKOUT REVIEW

A big well done to Steve Blechman, Joe Donnelly and the team at Advanced Molecular Labs for being the very first CHAMPIONS crowned on The Russ List.

When we head into 2021, this is the pre workout to beat. Because what you see above is 26 grams of near perfection in every scoop.

The vast majority of ingredients are clinically dosed, and they’ve taken the brave step of leaving out a few familiar faces thanks to new research which shows they weren’t quite as productive as we used to believe (BCAAs, taurine, niacin).

When I first received this product I knew it meant business, and it didn’t disappoint.

Because the pre workout industry thrives on hype. We are used to seeing tubs with pictures of flames and monsters, and product names like “Biceps Mountain”, etc… and 99% of the time they’re just using hype to cover up a poor product.

So when a clean white tub arrives named simply “Pre Workout”, you bet your a** I damn near s**t myself.

It didn’t disappoint.

This is a pre workout designed by athletes, for athletes.

Alongside the fully dosed key ingredients, and the carefully selected absentees, you won’t find any exotic stimulants. I love exotic stimulants (DMHA, etc), but they automatically throw a product into a grey area for athletes, so AML made the right move in avoiding them entirely.

Like many of the other products on this comprehensive list, you can combine AML Pre Workout with their equally creatively named recovery drink (AML Post Workout) for an exceptional all-in-one that ticks every muscle building box you could ever possibly want to tick.

AML have raised the game. They are the company to beat. They’re also the only brand to grab two spots in the Top 10.

Check it out.

Product Highlights:

> 8g Citrulline malate.
> 400mg Caffeine.
> 2.5g Betaine.
> 5g Creatine monohydrate.
> 2g Beta-alanine.
> 1g l-tyrosine.
> 520mg Potassium citrate.
> Excludes taurine, BCAAs & niacin.
> No exotic stimulants or any other ingredients which fall under a grey area for sports performance.

You can read my full in-depth review here, and you can buy this product HERE.


best pre workouts uk

The Top 10 Pre Workouts of 2020:

  1. AML Pre Workout
  2. NutraBio PRE
  3. Alpha Lion SuperHuman
  4. Jym Supplement Science Pre-Jym
  5. Iron Addicts Brand Sidewalk Kraka
  6. TruFierce Nutrition PreFierce
  7. RedCon1 Total War
  8. Cellucor C4 Ultimate
  9. Muscle Rage Limitless
  10. AML Dopa Rush Pre Workout

If you’ve got a contender you’d like me to include next year, drop them in the comments section and I’ll take a look when my schedule allows for it. Be sure to also check out The Russ List 2020: Top 5 Whey Protein Powders.

Russ Howe PTI

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