The pump isn’t just a great way to improve your overall muscle growth – it’s a fantastic feeling that gym enthusiasts are searching for in gyms across the world.
If you’re familiar with bodybuilding and physique training culture, you know exactly what we’re talking about: the feeling of hard work, when the muscles are swollen and feel tight to the skin.
The supplements we’re talking about today are going to boost your pump, increase your vascularity, and provide an amazing boost to your overall workout. They’re designed to make your veins pop out and improve your overall training experience.
Stick with us if you’re interested in being the best version of yourself and improving your physique every time you step into the gym!
- Nitric Oxide Complexes and Nitrogen Boosters
- L-Citrulline and Citrulline Malate
- Natural Nitrate Supplements
- Beetroot Extracts and Shots
- Pomegranate Extract
- Final Thoughts: Our Picks and Pearls of Wisdom
Nitric Oxide Complexes and Nitrogen Boosters
Nitric Oxide (also known as NO) complexes are the most common approach to vascularity and overall pump-enhancing supplements. They provide a way of increasing the response of your veins to training and improve the delivery of nutrients to the muscles.
This means two things:
- Your pump is going to be more obvious, as the vasodilation makes your veins pop out by increasing their size and blood flow
- Your actual muscle-pump is going to be more intense. The delivery of oxygen and other key nutrients means a more effective pump and all the great sensations and appearance that come with it.
It’s not hard to see why a muscle pump supplement would focus on nitric oxide! These tend to rely on Arginine as a key ingredient, since it can increase NO and is available readily on the supplement market.
1. N.O. XT with Nitrosigine
This is a product that combines Arginine and Citrulline – the nitric oxide boosters – with glutathione.
This is an amazing combination that has some of the most interesting scientific implications for a ridiculous muscle pump.
Above and beyond the nitrogen boosters themselves, glutathione seems to be one of the most important and impressive ingredients for a pump and vascularity supplement. If you’re trying to make your veins pop out, a better pump is one of the key factors.
Including piperine is another way this product stands out – this compound improves the absorption of the nitric oxide boosters and the glutathione. This basically means that you’re getting more bag for your buck than you would otherwise.
This all adds up to a top-quality pump product. It might not offer many other benefits – performance and muscle growth ingredients are lacking – but it does exactly what it says on the bottle: bigger pumps and better vascularity.
2. Nitro Blast Nitric Oxide Booster
On top of the existing benefits associated with Nitric Oxide supplements, Nitro Blast also includes some of the key vitamins for health and energy transfer.
These are going to be great for supporting your actual performance in workouts, as well as overall nutritional support. The electrolytes in this compound – such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc – also contribute to this.
However, these electrolytes are tied into the vascularity and pump benefits: they improve blood volume and provide the key materials for muscular action.
These are combined with 3g of various types of arginine – the real nitric oxide booster in Nitro Blast. We’re disappointed by the lack of citrulline – something that N.O. XT did really well. This product also lacks the glutathione that we were such big fans of!
The metabolic blend brings its own benefits – though they’re not specifically for a great pump or improved vascularity. They may mildly improve your fat loss but won’t add to your muscle pump.
3. Vintage Burst Nitric Oxide Booster
Vintage tries to market their product on the fact that it is “natural” – whatever that means. What they miss out on is the fact that this product has more benefits that are not related to vascularity or nitrogen boosting!
There are 1.5 grams of Arginine in this product – almost nothing compared to the nitrogen-boosting ingredients in other products on this list. This seems to miss the point of what you’re looking for as a customer who wants a great muscle pump supplement.
The other stuff is beneficial, sure – Caffeine, green tea extract, turmeric and so on – but they’re not linked to the pump itself. This seems to be a general health and wellbeing product, maybe even a decent (if gentle) pre-workout, but not a nitrogen booster.
We love the product as a general way of improving your workout and health, but we don’t think it should call itself a nitric oxide booster due to the very low concentrations of N.O.-boosting ingredients!
4. Superior Labs VasoWORx
Aside from the ridiculous name, what’s this product got going for it?
Well, it’s certainly not winning any prizes on the dosages. The citrulline content is tiny compared to others on the market, while the arginine content is even lower than the previous product at only a single gram!
The suggestion that this is a “powerful nitric oxide dietary supplement” is simply incorrect: this product is seriously lacking in punch. Even taking two tablets, you’re barely going to reach the recommended nitric oxide boosting dosage of 3g – most of which is arginine.
It’s not like it even makes up for it with secondary ingredients: the vitamin intake is great for vitamin B12, but there are better alternatives mentioned already – such as glutathione or even the workout-boosting ingredients found in Vintage/Nitro Blast.
5. BSN Nitrix
There’s a proprietary blend hiding the actual dosages of this product – a real problem since we need to know how much effective nitric oxide supplement you’re getting.
The right compounds are present – from citrulline to creatine – but there’s no real discussion of how much. With the amount of other ingredients in the proprietary “Nitrix 2.0” blend, of which there’s 3.6g, we’re getting the impression that you’re going to be getting less than we’d like.
The piperine is a nice touch, there are a bunch of other cool ingredients like resveratrol, but this is another product that requires you to take three tablets to get the right amount of nitric oxide boosting ingredients.
We can’t say for certain how good this product is, since BSN doesn’t tell us how much of the good stuff you’re getting, but it seems to be effective.
L-Citrulline and Citrulline Malate
Citrulline is far superior to arginine for nitric oxide boosting. While serum arginine – the amount in your bloodstream – is where the benefits come from, arginine supplements suck.
Arginine that you eat is broken down during digestion, so you’re not really getting the amount that it says on the bottle. Meanwhile, citrulline is broken down into arginine in the body, meaning you get far more bang for your buck.
Citrulline supplements are a much better choice and it’s why we’re discussing them separately: 2 – 5g of citrulline is going to be the standard for a better, more vascular pump.
Citrulline Malate vs L-Citrulline
There’s a small difference between citrulline malate and l-citrulline – and it all hinges on when you’re taking it.
L-citrulline is a more absorptive compound but it has some questionable short-term responses (such as reductions in top-end exercise performance), while Citrulline Malate has better short-term responses and absorbs more rapidly – even if it is less absorptive overall.
This basically means that Citrulline Malate is going to be the better choice if you’re looking for a compound to add to pre-workout, or if you’re trying to boost strength or maximum endurance.
There’s also some interesting speculation that this short-term, fast-absorbing citrulline malate can help repair the energy balance in muscles after exercise, reduce the build-up of waste products (like lactic acid), and reduce muscle soreness/fatigue between sessions.
We can safely say that – if you’re interested in a great pump and improved vascularity – citrulline malate is going to be more useful for your goals than the naturally-occurring L-Citrulline alternative.
1. BulkSupplements L-Citrulline DL-Malate
There’s not really much to say about this product: it starts and ends with citrulline malate.
The serving sizes are consistent with what we’ve seen so far at 3g, but the only ingredients in this product at all are citrulline and dl-malate. These are exactly what you’ve signed up for when buying.
We love this no-nonsense approach to supplementation, but you should be aware that the amazing value and effectiveness of this product come at the cost of secondary ingredients.
We’ve already discussed how this can be useful – such as when designing your own pre-workout supplement – but overall it’s just a great way to be in control of your intake. If you’re just looking for cheap, effective citrulline – this is a perfect product for you.
BulkSupplements feature on a lot of our lists because they’re reliable, cheap, and they take the guesswork out of supplement-buying. If this sounds nice, its because it is – and they provide a great citrulline product!
2. Nutricost L-Citrulline Malate
As with the previous product, this is a simple case of a powder that consists of citrulline and Malic acid (the malate part).
The combination of L-Citrulline with Malate means you’re getting the best possible form of citrulline for muscle pumps and vascularity. This is also the kind mentioned above, associated with reductions in muscular fatigue, waste products, and soreness.
The cost of this product is actually great, with a huge 100 effective servings per container, and a cost per-gram that is definitely competitive with BulkSupplements’ famously-low prices. We’re struggling to see how either of these products could emerge as “superior”.
3. Kaged Muscle L-Citrulline
As the final product on this shortlist of citrulline-only powders, we’re struggling to see this as a contender.
If the previous two products were neck and neck, Kaged Muscle is bringing up the rear. As an l-citrulline product with no malate, relying on fermentation instead, it’s providing a more expensive product with a lower quality – especially for the goals of a vascularity boosting supplement.
With the possibility of reducing your overall performance, there seems little reason to choose this supplement. The fact that you need to take less per serving for the same effect isn’t a concern, since BulkSupplements and Nutricost provide better value-for-money, and a better overall product.
The lack of malate in this product is a concern for many reasons, but the purity and cost-effectiveness of the previous supplements leave it outclassed from the start!
Natural Nitrate Supplements
We’re going to take you through some of the other ways that you can find a great supplement for nitric oxide boosting. These are likely to be less effective than their industrially-produced counterparts but come from specific fruit or vegetable extracts.
While citrulline-rich products produce more arginine in the bloodstream, these products go straight into increasing the amount of nitrates available. This increases the ‘raw materials’ you’re getting, which also happen to boost the performance of mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell!
This simply improves cellular energy efficiency (pretty much always a good thing) and reducing the overall oxygen-cost of exercise. Efficiency is the name of the game with endurance exercise, so this is a huge plus. The only downside is that you can use diet, instead of supplements, for nitrates.
If you’ve committed yourself to a natural diet, for whatever reason, these supplements are the perfect way to get a better pump and stronger vascularity, all from plant-food extracts.
Beetroot Extracts and Shots
Beetroot is one of the best examples of a natural source of nitrates and has a venerable history in sports like running and triathlon, where keeping yourself high in essential nutrients on-the-go is crucial.
These might not be the beetroot shots of old, but they provide a great source of nitrates from beetroot extract powders. The ideal companion for any wholefoods diet!
There’s a real challenge to reviewing these products because they provide regular nutrient information, rather than outlining the amount of nitrates you’re going to get.
However, the whole-root powder is 100% of the product and you’re not going to get any filler, which is crucial for a wholefood dietary supplement.
This product does also contain some of the other micronutrients you’re going to need for better performance in the gym. For example, phosphorus and potassium in these root powders support electrolyte balance and play a crucial role in the way that your body provides energy for exercise.
Overall, this product is clearly going to be beneficial to your nitric oxide profile, but it will not be as effective as the industrially-produced alternative. You’re going to need to pick between a pure root powder extract and a scientifically-formulated supplement for your specific goals.
2. Havasu Nutrition Beetroot Powder+
This is a great approach to beetroot powder – it incorporates the best benefits of high-nitrate beetroot extract for a better pump but continues beyond that.
The Peak O2 mushroom blend has a role in improving the overall benefits of the product. The benefits of cordyceps are still poorly understood, but it seems to have benefits to organ health – specifically the liver and kidneys, as well as improving male sexual health.
Not the pump you were thinking of, but there are also early indications that it may contribute to your overall health and athletic performance. It’s too early to tell, but this seems to be a great choice – if only as a form of fiber!
Pomegranate is another extract that provides a variety of nutrients that can provide additional benefits to your pump and vascularity. If you’re looking to make your veins pop out without opting for a commercial dietary supplement, this might be a good choice.
We prefer pomegranate to beetroot powder in a few cases – some people don’t respond well to beet powder, the taste is noticeably different, and you can reduce the amount of silica in the product, and it has comparable benefits.
1. BulkSupplements Pomegranate Extract Powder
As ever, BulkSupplements provides a great singular-focus product.
This pomegranate powder aims to do exactly what you’d expect: it’s high in ellagic acid, the active ingredient, but it is low in anything else.
The only ingredient here is pomegranate extract and specific polyphenols that are going to provide health and wellness benefits. You might not have a glamorous one-stop-shop product, but you’ve got a pomegranate extract that’s going to pump you up.
As with beetroot, it’s not going to be as effective as a citrulline and glutathione product, but it is an entirely natural compound that provides similar effects – if only to a lesser degree.
As you might expect, it trades off vascularity boosting effects for improved health and wellbeing. This comes from the antioxidant effects of the powder itself and the polyphenols mentioned above. They won’t be as effective for a sick pump, but they’ll combat aging, cell death and cancer risk!
Final Thoughts: Our Picks and Pearls of Wisdom
It’s hard to say what our pick for the best supplement is – we’ve reviewed a whole bunch of different types of pump products and they work on so many different things!
If you’re just here for vascularity and a ridiculous pump, the combination of citrulline and glutathione in N.O. XT is perfect. This combination is scientifically proven to work – we’d like to see more citrulline and less arginine, but it’s going to be very effective for vasodilation, better pumps, and a vein-ier end-product.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative, then we strongly recommend investing in the PureBeets powder.
This is a product that provides an incredibly pure, natural source of nitrates. Beetroot Powder+ attempts to out-perform it but ends up distracting from the important stuff with the scientifically-uncertain cordyceps blend. Doubling down on the essentials is far more valuable!
Finally, if you’re just trying to get your hands on some citrulline, without worrying about the secondary ingredients, and you’re only concerned with quality and cost – BulkSupplements powders have you covered. This is exactly what it says: citrulline, without the fuss or cost.
This isn’t a “favorite supplement for vascularity” but that’s because it’s all about your goals. If you’re still not sold, or you’re looking for a pre-workout supplement for vascularity, you can check out our other articles.