Best Pre-Workout for Powerlifters
In the quest to get stronger, there’s a lot of discussion about eating, lifting, and sleeping. But there’s not a ton of talk about what kind of supplements you should be taking – specifically what you should take right before a heavy lifting day.
Pre-workouts are fantastic, there’s one for every kind of person out there from high level bodybuilders to soccer moms. But what’s an aspiring powerlifter supposed to choose from the litany of products available?
Related – Best Pre-Workouts for Women
That’s where we come in with this guide for helping you sort out what will help you progress as a powerlifter and what’s better left on the shelf.
Hint hint… You’ll want to focus on products that have proven strength-boosting qualities.
So, without further adieu, let’s get to talking about which ingredients actually have the science to back them up as notable strength builders.
Top Strength Boosting Pre-Workout Ingredients
#1 – Creatine Monohydrate
No single supplement ingredient has been more well-studied or researched than creatine monohydrate. Time and time again, creatine has been proven to improve lean body mass, enhance power, decrease fatigue, and most important increase strength!
A lot of newer, trendier forms of creatine have come on the market, but none have been shown to be superior to the original muscle enhancer that is monohydrate.
Some newer research notes that 2-3g is enough to maintain saturation and convey creatine’s strength-boosting properties, but remember, powerlifters tend to be bigger guys lifting incredibly heavy weights, so that’s probably not enough.
You’ll likely want to use at least 5g/day of creatine monohydrate, and may even need up to 10g / day depending on your size and training load!
#2 – Betaine
Another ingredient you’ll want to include in your arsenal to lift as much weight as possible is betaine – a metabolite of choline that has been shown to increase strength. Also known as trimethylglycine (TMG), Betaine synergizes (works together) with creatine to support the body’s production of creatine and regulates homocysteine levels.
Additionally, betaine also functions as an osmolyte, thus promoting cellular hydration and fluid balance.
To get the improvements in strength from Betaine, aim to get 2.5g / day – timing doesn’t matter, just as with creatine.
#3 – Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC is a prominent focus booster, and one of the most bioavailable forms of choline you can take. It’s great for improving cognition, focus, and the all-too-important mind-muscle connection (all of which will enhance your performance), but when dosed at 600mg it improves strength gains too!
More specifically, Alpha GPC can yield a 3% increase in lower-body isometric strength.  Next time leg day rolls around make sure you’re packing Alpha GPC!
#4 – Caffeine
Yes, this may seem obvious, because caffeine make everything better, but caffeine does indeed support strength increases — not just energy. The key is in the dosing.
Research has shown that when dosed around 5-6mg/kg of bodyweight caffeine can significantly increase strength and power, as well as training volume.  For your typical 175lb male lifting at the gym, this comes out to around 400mg.
If you can handle this surge of energy, get ready to lift heavy like you’ve never experienced before.
Top Powerlifting Pre-Workouts
The original pre-workout from MTS Nutrition is still a popular and effective choice no matter what your goals because it flat out works.
Clash contains scientifically verified doses of proven strength builders like Creatine and Betaine to support your powerlifting goals. You’ll also get a kick of 250mg of caffeine plus a little BOOM blend to further push you during your heaviest lifts.
AML Pre Workout
Advanced Molecular Labs is a pre-workout in the truest sense of the word. It provides clinical doses of creatine and betaine along with a hefty 400mg of caffeine, all of which help support your pursuits of lifting as heavy as possible
For an added bonus, you can also stack AML’s Power Rep which contains the clinically studied dose of Peak ATP to further boost your strength.
Muscle Elements PreCre
PreCre was designed from the ground up around creatine. As the most proven supplement in existence, having creatine as the basis of the formula is a no brainer.
PreCre contains 5g of creatine, along with 1.5g betaine and 10g of carbs (in the form of PTS-Surge) to provide the raw materials your body needs for energy production during the most intense of workouts.
Don’t kid yourself, you won’t increase your deadlift by 100lbs simply by using a pre workout. To truly progress in the world of powerlifting, you’re going to have to eat and sleep hard, but also put in A LOT of work. Powerlifting is all about efficiency of movement, and time spent moving heavy crap.
However, pre workouts can get you in the right mindset to crush a lift and give you a few ingredients to support and enhance your performance and strength levels. Give these a shot next time you’re headed to the gym, or leave a comment below of what you think is the ultimate pre workout for powerlifters.
1) Bellar D, LeBlanc NR, Campbell B; “The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength”; J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015; 12(1):42; Retrieved from http://www.jissn.com/content/12/1/42
2) McCormack, William P, and Hoffman, Jay R; “Caffeine, Energy Drinks, and Strength-Power Performance”; Strength and Conditioning Journal; August 2012; Volume 34, Issue 4, 11–16; http://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Fulltext/2012/08000/Caffeine,_Energy_Drinks,_and_Strength_Power.3.aspx