I know you don’t like the over-caffeinated pre-workouts, but can you recommend me a good one? I’m especially interested in getting a good pump.
I really dislike most of the pre-workouts on the market, because they’re all flawed in one form or another. Everything from including creatine (studies show its best taken post workout, not pre), co-ingested with copious amounts of caffeine (anything with 300mg of caffeine or more negates creatine’s benefits) or including other dirty stims (like yohimbe) just smacks of someone not doing their homework.
Getting a good pump is largely predicated on blood flow, insulin and being well hydrated. Insofar as individual ingredients, I’d have to give the nod to L-citrulline – preferably Citrulline Malate in a 2:1 ratio. You’re going to need around 6 grams of it to be effective, with up to 10 in individuals over 250lbs. Citrulline converts slowly to Arginine, making it superior to straight L-arginine or its cousins such as Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate. Be aware however that that much citrulline is awful sour, so it’s best consumed with a small amount of grapefrult juice to mask the taste.
While we’re on the subject of citrulline, you may be interested to know eating watermelon is one of the best ways to get a pump during your workout. Not only is it rich in citrulline, but also carbs (recall insulin’s role in the pump) along with copious amounts of water. And hey, as long as its still in season you might as well use it. I’ve never measured how much to eat before training, opting rather to eat an entire small watermelon or half of a very large one.
As far as training to get a pump is concerned, rest intervals of a minute or less will also help. If you’re really interested in pushing the envelope, using the Kaatsu method to occlude bloodflow out of the muscle is very effective. Essentially you place a snug fitting rubber band of sorts around your upper biceps or calf, just below the knee.
Important to point out that you don’t cut the blood supply off – because if you do necrosis can occur. Keep the band on between sets as you’re resting and work with a lighter weight for higher reps. But trapping most of the blood in the muscle, a dramatic rise in localized growth factors can occur. It’s a method worth experimenting with, particularly on calves where many people experience difficulty growing substantial amounts of muscle.
Honorable mention compounds include Tribulus, Fenugreek and Agmatine. You may also be interested in standardized beetroot juice powder that contains 25X more nitrates than regular beets. Deep red spinach extracts are also an excellent source of nitrates. These are naturally occurring nitrates, and they’re usually cheaper than paying through the nose for things like creatine nitrate, leucine nitrate etc which are patented items.
Finally, some bodybuilders use Viagra pre-workout to get a much better pump. Like most of the other items here, it works by increasing nitric oxide and not just below the belt. Understand though, it’s usually an expensive proposition.