Many people are looking to make the most of their workouts through their supplementation. Whey protein powders and creatine supplements are two of the most popular products that gymgoers utilize to support their hard work with resistance training. Supplementation can help to improve power output in the gym, and as a result, you may gain strength more quickly and be able to build more muscle than you might otherwise. Of course, it’s more nuanced than that. There are many factors that go into building muscle mass, but the addition of supplements to your hard work (and proper nutrition) can be extremely beneficial.
After spending time sifting through a multitude of supplements available, researching how they may benefit those who are looking to grow muscle, and testing them for ourselves, we gathered up our favorites. Whether your goal is optimizing your hard work in the gym, having better blood flow to promote better lifts, or intensifying your mental toughness, these supplements are all geared toward helping you achieve the most muscle growth. Follow along to decipher which of these best supplements for muscle growth may be missing from your daily regimen.
Best Supplements for Muscle Growth
Best Supplements for Muscle Growth Video Review
Tag along with Nick English as he breaks down our top picks for the best muscle-building supplements on the market in 2023.
Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Growth
Pre-workout supplements may be your secret weapon for monopolizing your gains before you even touch a barbell. It might help with your muscle growth goals if it’s stacked with the right ingredients. This pick contains massive doses of some potentially muscle-building ingredients, like beta-alanine and citrulline, along with modest doses of others.
Transparent Labs BULK
BULK is a pre-workout with 13 active ingredients coupled with B vitamins for energy and electrolytes for hydration. One of the important ingredients for muscle growth is the 4,000mg dose of beta-alanine that may help increase muscular endurance and delay fatigue, allowing you to go harder for longer in the gym. (1) On top of that, you’ll find ingredients to potentially support blood flow like citrulline (8,000mg) and betaine (2,500mg). The citrulline dose may help you recover more quickly and reduce post-workout soreness to get back after it in the gym faster. (2)
Transparent Labs BULK
Transparent Labs BULK provides lots of beta-alanine for improved endurance, as well as a slew of ingredients to aid in focus — two key traits for lifters and endurance athletes alike. Plus, it has citrulline, which can help with nitric oxide production.
When you’re in the gym, you likely want to focus and direct your energy towards growing muscle. BULK also has alpha-GPC dosed at 300mg, 200mg of theanine, and 1,300mg of taurine in order to potentially improve your focus. While this isn’t the cheapest pre-workout on the market, it also isn’t absurdly expensive — especially if you consider the solid formula. You can pick up a 30-serving container for about $49.99 or around $1.67 per serving in a variety of 11 different flavors.
Transparent Labs BULK at BarBend for testing
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs BULK
- Anyone who wants a pre-workout with ingredients that may help with muscle growth in high doses will like the citrulline and beta-alanine doses here.
- Athletes who have trouble focusing their energy in the gym. Alpha-GPC and taurine in BULK might help with focus while theanine may help direct energy from caffeine.
- People who want a bunch of flavors to choose from — there are almost a dozen you can select from here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs BULK
- Those who don’t like the tingly feeling from large doses of beta-alanine may want to check out other muscle growth supplements.
- Anyone who is on a tighter budget can find cheaper options, though BULK is priced fairly for its high quality.
- Folks who want a pre-workout or muscle growth supplement that contains creatine may want to look at different options on this list.
Transparent Labs BULK is chock full of well-dosed ingredients to achieve a pre-workout formula designed to potentially aid in growing muscle. Not only does it have caffeine for energy, but it also includes other ingredients that may aid in blood flow, focus, recovery, and hydration.
Read our full review of Transparent Labs BULK.
Best Protein Powder For Muscle Growth
A lot of protein powder on the market contains fillers, artificial sweeteners, and ingredients that don’t do much to help you maximize your muscle growth. This company created a whey isolate protein that prioritizes protein and leaves the artificial junk out, allowing the best opportunity to help with your gains.
Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate
Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate powder packs 28 grams of protein per serving, making it one of the higher protein content powders on the market per serving. Being a whey isolate also means it’s lower in carbohydrates and fats than a whey concentrate. This formula exclusively uses 100 percent grass-fed, hormone-free cows to provide its whey, and it’s free of any artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, and preservatives.
Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate
With 8 different flavors and 28 grams of whey protein from hormone-free, grass-fed cows, Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate is an excellent way to hit your protein macros.
Transparent Labs’ whey isolate comes in eight delicious flavors — Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Milk Chocolate, Cinnamon French Toast, French Vanilla, Strawberry, Mocha, and Vanilla Peanut Butter. All eight flavors are great on their own or the perfect addition to your daily protein shake. Though this product is a little pricey at $2.00 per serving, we think this is a solid protein-packed option for muscle growth optimization.
Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate
- Athletes and gymgoers who prioritize the sources of their whey isolate will be excited to see that this protein comes from 100 percent grass-fed and hormone-free cows.
- People who want a generous dose of protein to help with muscle growth will love the 28g in this formula.
- Anyone who needs to keep protein high and carbs low will appreciate the one gram of carbs and zero grams of fat in this formula.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate
- Anyone who is in a bulking phase may want a protein powder with higher macronutrients across the board — this is low in carbs and fats.
- There’s no unflavored option, so if you’re looking for an unflavored protein, you may want to look elsewhere.
- If you’re on a budget, you’ll find cheaper options on the market — especially if you aren’t attached to an isolate formula.
Not all protein supplements are made equal, and this one stands above the rest due to its high protein content, all-natural ingredients, and eight delicious flavors.
Read our full review of Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate.
Best Post-Workout for Muscle Growth
Post-workout fuel is an important part of the recovery process and might be the ingredient that allows you to recover faster and get back into the gym for more intense lifts. The pea protein and electrolytes in this formula can potentially assist in recovery and hydration.
This vegan formula is the optimal post-workout supp for muscle growth due to its inclusion of eight grams of pea protein isolate and 500mg of coconut water, which may help you fuel after your toughest workouts. In addition, the 500mg of bromelain may help speed up the metabolization of proteins and carbohydrates and can also reduce swelling and inflammation. There is also 200mg of Himalayan sea salt, which, along with the coconut water, can help replace electrolytes.
Swolverine’s POST vegan post-workout powder uses pea protein, carbohydrates, coconut water, and Himalayan sea salt to help you refuel after a hard workout.
Much of POST’s carbohydrates come in the form of fruits like pomegranate, papaya, and pineapple. In addition to the fruits’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, papaya also contains an enzyme called papain, which may help to aid the digestion of protein.
Who Should Buy Swolverine POST
- Athletes who want muscle-building ingredients that don’t contain animal products will appreciate the vegan ingredients here.
- Folks who want a good dose of electrolytes will appreciate the 500mg of coconut water and 200mg of Himalayan sea salt included here.
- If you’re looking to avoid sugary post-workout supplements, you’ll like that this formula contains less than one gram of sugar.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine POST
- Anyone who wants a variety of flavors since this only comes in Chocolate Peanut Butter.
- Folks who are bulking may want a post-workout supplement with higher fats and carbs to assist in their macronutrient intake.
- Anyone allergic to peanuts should avoid this post-workout since its only flavor contains peanuts.
This post-workout contains all-vegan ingredients, like pea protein and fruit extracts, that can help you build and maintain muscle mass. The coconut water and Himalayan sea salt can help replenish the electrolytes that you’ve lost in your workout, and the enzyme blend can help reduce post-workout inflammation to assist in your recovery.
Read our full review of Swolverine POST.
Best Creatine for Muscle Growth
Creatine can come in many forms, but the one with the most scientific backing behind it is the creatine monohydrate form with decades of research showing that it can be effective for helping muscle growth and strength increases. (3) Many companies try their hand at making a creatine monohydrate supplement, but this one is our favorite (especially with muscle growth in mind).
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
Transparent Labs Creatine stands out for its addition of HMB, aka β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate. This is a metabolite in the branched-chain amino acid leucine that may help to prevent muscle breakdown, so you can retain the muscle that you already have while packing on more. Combined with creatine, this may help build strength and size better than creatine or HMB alone.
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
This top-tier creatine supplement from Transparent Labs incorporates HMB to possibly increase strength and preserve muscle more than taking either supplement alone. This is a high quality product that comes unflavored, or in a variety of tasty flavors.
The Bioperine included is a version of black pepper extract, which may help the body absorb the creatine and HMB, so less goes to waste. It also comes in seven flavors, so you’ll probably find one that you enjoy. If you want to stack it with other supplements or mix it with a flavored drink, there’s an unflavored option as well.
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
- Athletes who want to gain size will like that the HMB may help prevent muscle breakdown.
- People who want to absorb as much of the creatine and HMB as possible will appreciate the black pepper extract.
- Anyone who wants a choice of flavors will like the seven options available here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
- People who are allergic to black pepper should look elsewhere since every flavor of this creatine has black pepper extract.
- Athletes who are looking for creatine phosphate, hydrochloride, or any creatine other than monohydrate should check out another product.
- Athletes who want a stimulant like beta-alanine should look elsewhere or stack it with something else since this creatine doesn’t contain stimulants.
The combination of creatine and HMB may be especially effective in helping athletes gain and retain their muscle mass. Plus, the black pepper can help ensure that fewer of the ingredients go to waste.
Read our full review of Transparent Labs Creatine HMB.
Best Beta-Alanine for Muscle Growth
Beta-Alanine may be best known for leaving your body feeling tingly once you take it, but the potential effects of beta-alanine on muscle growth and better cognition are the real reason to add this to your supplement stack.
Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine is a common ingredient in many pre-workouts and has been found to have numerous benefits for training including better mental cognition and mental resilience during tough workouts. (7) Better mental toughness can allow the body to push past the mental limits we’ve set to push harder and work out with greater intensity, which may help optimize muscle growth. Another study found that beta-alanine can increase training performance, and may lead to greater overload and adaptations in strength. (8)
Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine
When you need pure beta-alanine and nothing else, Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine provides five solid grams per serving. Plus, it offers up 100 servings per container.
Swolverine contains 5,000 mg of CarnoSyn beta-alanine and nothing else. CanoSyn is a patented ingredient and is the only beta-alanine that has status with the FDA as a New Dietary Ingredient. This means that the ingredient was not marketed as a dietary supplement in the United States before October 15, 1994. At $0.91 cents per serving and coming in an unflavored blend, Swolverine’s CarnoSyn beta-alanine is easy to add to any pre-workout beverage or intra-workout beverage to help you find that extra push in your effort. Plus, we think a simple and straightforward beta-alanine supp may be the best way to use the ingredient to hone in on your gains.
Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
Who Should Buy Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
- Athletes who are looking to increase their mental resilience and optimize workouts for greater overload and adaptations, which can lead to better muscle growth, will appreciate that beta-alanine offers these potential benefits.
- Folks who want a straightforward supplement when they’re focusing on the ingredients that may help with muscle growth will like that this product is just 5,000 mg of beta-alanine.
- Anyone who likes unflavored options to add to their pre- or intra-workout drink will appreciate that this comes as an unflavored powder.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
- Anyone who wants a stacked beta-alanine supplement will have to look elsewhere — this supplement is strictly beta-alanine.
- Those who prefer flavored powders will want a different formula because this only comes in an unflavored option.
- Those who prefer to take their beta-alanine in pill form can find beta-alanine pills on the market for their convenience.
Swolverine has created a straightforward and effective beta-alanine product that boasts status with FDA approval. We think this is a simple, yet top-tier choice for anyone who may want to improve their mental resilience and push their workouts further for a better chance at building muscle.
Best Betaine Supplement for Muscle Growth
Huge Supplements intra and post-workout supplement is stacked with important ingredients to potentially help your recovery for your most-advantageous muscle growth. The 3,000 mg of betaine and 5,000 mg of creatine here stick out as the stars.
Huge Supplements Formula XII
Huge Supplements Formula XII has several stand-out ingredients including creatine, and beta-alanine, but the star of the show is the 3,000 mg of betaine included in the formula list. Betaine has been shown to have potentially positive effects on endurance training, possibly allowing the user to perform higher repetitions in the gym. (9) Better endurance can potentially lead to more muscle. This formula also includes 5,000 mg of creatine, which is a huge addition to this line-up due to creatine’s potential to promote muscle growth (4).
Huge Supplements XII Intra & Post Workout
This supp contains 10,000mg of Cluster Dextrin, 5,000mg of Organic ModCarb, 3,200mg of Beta-Alanine, 3,000mg of Betaine Anhydrous, 150mg of Potassium Citrate, and 5mg of Bioperine, which can help you absorb all these nutrients. It comes in Candy Apple and Tropical Blast.
Huge Supplements also added Bioperine to their formula, which may help with better absorption of supplements in the body. Formula XII comes in two delicious flavors to choose from — Candy Apple and Tropical Blast. Each serving costs $2.16, which may be a higher price point compared to others on the market. We believe the line-up of ingredients in this supplement is well worth the price tag though if you can swing it.
Huge Supplements Formula XII
Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Formula XII
- Those who want a supplement that has a hefty list of ingredients to help optimize muscle growth and endurance will appreciate the 12 ingredients here, which include creatine and betaine (both of which can be key for gains).
- People who like to drink their supplements either during or after their workout will appreciate that this formula is versatile, and can be taken intra or post-workout for best results.
- Those who care about absorption will be happy to see the addition of Bioperine in this ingredient list.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Formula XII
- Athletes who prefer a large variety of flavors to choose from — although both delicious, Candy Apple and Tropical Blast are the only two options currently available.
- Anyone who is on a budget can find a price tag under $2.00 for an intra or post-workout supplement.
- Those who like to take their betaine in a pre-workout will have to look elsewhere on the market — this is designed for intra and post-workout recovery.
Huge Supplements made an ingredient list of 12 important supplements to take during or after your workout to optimize all of your hard work — the 3,000 mg of betaine and the 5,000 mg of creatine here are what makes it a top choice.
[Related: The 3 Most Common Types Of Training Periodization (And When To Use Them)]
Best BCAAs for Muscle Growth
BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are three essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs have a few potential benefits — they may help you recover from DOMS and get you back to training sooner, and this solid dose of 4,500mg of BCAAs combined with Onnit’s Power Blend™ may be just what you need to get your muscles growing. (10)
Onnit Total Strength + Performance
This formula has three potent blends with one focusing on BCAAs in particular, though the entire formula is made for performance and recovery. The BCAA blend contains a 4,500mg blend of BCAAs, glutamine, and beta-alanine, which may help with performance in the gym, as well as recovery and endurance during longer training sessions. (10)(11) The support blend headliner is resveratrol, which may also help you push through difficult sets and potentially act as an antioxidant.
Onnit Total Strength + Performance
Onnit contains a Power Blend with longjack, which can help fuel muscle contractions, a Performance Blend with BCAAs, glutamine and beta-alanine, which can help boost performance during exercise, and a Support Blend with resveratrol that can help you push through during tough training.
The power blend features d-aspartic acid, longjack extract, and stinging nettle — all of which may potentially increase testosterone levels to aid in muscle growth. The one downside is that this product only comes in two flavors — Strawberry Lemonade and Pink Grapefruit — so if you don’t like either of those flavors, you may be out of luck. The price is quite reasonable at about $59.99 for a 30-serving container ($2.00 per serving). Onnit has their products third-party tested for purity and potency, so you can rest assured that what’s on the label is what you are actually ingesting.
Onnit Total Strength + Performance Supplement Facts
Who Should Buy Onnit Total Strength + Performance
- Folks who want a more well-rounded product that isn’t only BCAAs will appreciate the different blends here.
- Anyone who competes in a drug-tested sport or federation will appreciate that this is third party tested.
- Those who are looking for a supplement that supports recovery as well as endurance. The Performance Blend™ has you covered here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Onnit Total Strength + Performance
- Anyone who is looking for an unflavored BCAA supplement, a BCAA with a lot of flavor choices, or a pill formulation.
- Folks who simply want BCAAs alone without any other ingredients will want to look at other options.
- People who don’t like the taste of stevia may find this formula unpleasant since it’s sweetened with stevia extract.
Onnit Total Strength + Performance has a solid dose of BCAAs, glutamine, and beta-alanine that may assist in delaying muscle fatigue during your workouts. (10) The BCAAs here may also help you recover faster after tough workouts, allowing you to work harder without suffering from intense DOMS. The other blends offer potential testosterone support and antioxidants to round out this product.
Read our full review of Onnit Total Strength + Performance.
Best Vegan Protein Powder for Muscle Growth
Who says you can’t get jacked on a vegan diet? With the correct resistance training, nutrition program, and supplementation, your ability for muscle growth can definitely match that of your omnivorous counterparts. This vegan protein may play a key role in your gains with the combination of pumpkin and pea protein.
Swolverine Plant Protein
This vegan protein supplement contains two types of protein — pumpkin and pea — and delivers 22 grams of protein per serving. With only 130 calories, two and a half grams of fat, and three grams of carbs, this protein supplement is pretty comparable in macronutrient breakdown to a whey protein isolate, which is notoriously high in protein and low in fat and carbs. This breakdown can be beneficial for those who want to potentially put on muscle mass with high protein while allowing more flexibility in the type of fats and carbs you’re intaking.
Swolverine Plant Protein
This plant-based protein is made from pea isolate, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein, sacha inchi, and quinoa. It’s also pretty low in fats and carbs, boasting only 0.5 and seven grams, respectively.
Due to the origin of the two types of protein, this supp also has a pretty sweet micronutrient profile including 3mg of niacin, 34mg of calcium, 6mg of iron, 24mg of phosphorus, 2mg of zinc, 8mcg of chromium, 121mg of chloride, 330mg of sodium, and 142mg of potassium. It comes in Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake flavors and will cost you around $1.75 per serving, which is pretty reasonable for a high-quality protein supplement.
Swolverine Plant Protein
Who Should Buy Swolverine Plant Protein
- Vegans who want a blend that contains a healthy dose of protein for muscle growth will appreciate the 22 grams derived from pea and pumpkin seed protein here.
- This product is ideal for vegans who prefer to get their carbs and fat from food sources — it has just three grams of carbs and two and a half grams of fat per serving.
- Those who are looking for a smattering of micronutrients will enjoy that this formula includes nine various micros, which aren’t very commonly found in protein supplements.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Plant Protein
- Those who like a robust list of flavor options — this product only offers Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake flavor options.
- If you are looking to bulk, you may want a plant protein with higher carbs and fats.
- If you want a vegan protein that isn’t from pumpkin seeds or peas, you may want to find one that is derived from hemp, soy, or a different plant.
A vegan diet doesn’t have to come between you and your gains — all it takes is proper resistance training, well-rounded nutrition, and the help of a stacked protein supplement (like this one) that may help you reach your goals.
Best Citrulline for Muscle Growth
If you’re looking for a supplement that may aid in better blood flow and potentially better pumps — this citrulline product will get you excited about all the muscle growth you may garner.
Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
This product includes a healthy dose of three grams of l-citrulline dl-malate. Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid — compared to essential amino acids — it is created in the body and isn’t necessary to obtain from supplementation. However, the benefits of adding a citrulline supplement to your stack could be the difference between a mediocre workout and an intense one. Citrulline is a vasodilator — it can help widen your blood vessels, which may allow more blood flow to pass through, possibly leading to better pumps during your workouts.
Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
This product contains three grams of L-Citrulline DL-Malate, as well as mango fruit powder and fermented beets, which can all play a role in synthesizing nitric oxide. It comes in a sweet Harvest Fruit flavor.
This supplement takes it one step further. It contains 5.87 grams of a proprietary blend that includes fermented beetroot, grape seed extract, apple extract, and acerola cherry extract. Beets are a natural vasodilator making the opportunity for increased blood flow even more likely. This blend is only offered in one flavor — Harvest Blend — and is $1.99 per serving.
Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
Who Should Buy Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
- Athletes looking to potentially increase blood flow during their workouts in order to achieve the max muscle growth possible will enjoy the healthy three grams of citrulline in this formula.
- Those who want a citrulline supplement that boasts other ingredients beyond citrulline will be happy to see the addition of the proprietary blend that includes fermented beetroot here.
- Folks who like amino acids in their supplements for recovery — this supp contains citrulline and arginine.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
- Customers who like more variety of flavor options or an unflavored option — this currently only comes in a Harvest Blend flavor.
- If you’re looking to save cash, you can find less expensive citrulline supplements on the market.
Adding this supplement to your current stack may be the key to giving you the best blood flow to support your pumps and get you through your tough training session. And this possible increase in blood flow may be just the key you were looking for to unlock more muscle growth.
[Related: I’m A Professional Powerlifter. Here’s What I Think About Bodybuilding]
Best Testosterone Booster for Muscle Growth
Testosterone is a hormone that plays a major role in several functions in the body, but one of the major ones is its positive correlation with boosting skeletal muscle hypertrophy, which may lead to better strength and leg power (12). This is one of our favorite test boosters.
TestoFuel Testosterone Booster
Testosterone is a buzzword in the fitness world, but not many people understand the true potential testosterone can offer in their athletic abilities. This supplement contains 11 ingredients that promote hormonal health and provide the potential for better muscle growth. One of these ingredients is 4,000IU of vitamin D3, which can aid in testosterone production. (13) This formula also includes 2,000 mg of D-aspartic acid, which has been shown to increase testosterone levels naturally in the body. (14) The ingredient lineup also includes oyster extract, which can promote testosterone synthesis in the body. (15)
Testofuel Testosterone Booster
Testofuel uses an up-to-date formula with large doses of each included ingredient to help optimize your muscle growth. All-natural ingredients such as d-aspartic acid, vitamin D, and oyster extract help to support your body’s natural production of testosterone and muscle, making this product a great choice for those looking to pack on some gains.
This heavy-hitting lineup of ingredients can potentially unlock your high testosterone levels, which may push you to unlock new muscle growth. TestoFuel comes with three buying options — the most expensive coming out to $2.16 for a one-month supply of four pills daily. If you opt to buy the two or three-month supply, you’ll score a better price tag and some freebies (such as a month’s worth of TestoFuel, an extra test booster, a video guide, a nutrition book, and free shipping worldwide to go with it).
Testofuel Testosterone Booster Pills
Who Should Buy Testofuel Testosterone Booster
- Athletes who are hoping to boost their testosterone for a potential boost in muscle gains will appreciate the line-up of ingredients in this formula that may help with testosterone production.
- People who want the addition of some vitamins and minerals like zinc and vitamin D will be happy to see them in the ingredient list here.
- Those who prefer a pill form for their supplements to make it easier to take your supplements on the go.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Testofuel Testosterone Booster
- Anyone who is pill averse — the daily recommended dose here is four pills.
- Those looking to save some money on their supplements. Testosterone isn’t a necessary supplement and can be pricey.
When it comes to boosting testosterone, this formula may be the key you’ve been looking for to level up your muscle growth. Testosterone can potentially boost skeletal musculature, which may help you on your journey to gain mass.
Best Carnitine for Muscle Growth
Carnitine has been tested and shown to have beneficial effects on training, competition, and recovery after intense exercise. Supplementing with carnitine can contribute to maximizing muscle growth due to its potential to aid in recovery, increase oxygen consumption, and stimulate fat metabolism. (16)
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine contains 500mg of l-carnitine l-tartrate, which has been shown to improve recovery and reduce fatigue after intense exercise. (17) This is important for building muscle mass as the reduction of fatigue during a workout can help your body push harder and work out for longer, while recovery will allow you to make your way back to the gym sooner.
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine contains 500mg of l-carnitine l-tartrate and nothing else in its formula. It requires you to take one pill per serving, which is unflavored, and very budget-friendly.
This is a straightforward carnitine supplement, as it contains no other active ingredients outside of 500mg of carnitine. You’ll only have to take one capsule per serving, and it’s friendly for vegan and plant-based folks. It’s also affordable for any budget as each pill comes out to around $0.12, and the bottle contains 250 vegetable capsules.
Kaged L-Carnitine Pills
Who Should Buy Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine
- Anyone looking for an extremely straightforward carnitine supplement as this is only 500mg of carnitine and nothing else.
- Those who are on a budget will appreciate the unbeatable price here of $0.12 per serving.
- Folks who enjoy the ease and mess-free formulation of a capsule rather than a powder will like this single-capsule serving size.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine
- Customers who want a more robust or full-bodied carnitine supplement will have to look elsewhere.
- Athletes who prefer a flavored powder supplement as this is a capsule supp.
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine contains nothing but 500mg of l-carnitine, which has been shown to potentially improve recovery and help with exhaustion due to exercise. It only requires you to take one pill per serving and comes at an unbeatable price point.
Best Carb Supplement for Muscle Growth
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients and are the main source of energy for our bodies to function — they can also be a catalyst for muscle growth due to their potential to provide quick energy. The body can use available carbohydrates for energy instead of breaking down muscle tissue.
Transparent Labs Carb Powder
Carbohydrates are an extremely important part of your diet, and they are the main source of energy that fuels your body. One study found that high carbohydrate diets can improve physical performance between two and three percent. (18) Transparent Labs created a carb powder that can be taken pre, intra, or post-workout to make sure your carbohydrate levels are working in your favor.
Transparent Labs Carb Powder
This carb supplement is gluten-free, non-GMO, and excludes all artificial coloring and perservatives. Each serving packs 25 grams of patented Cluster Dextrin®.
This formula includes 25 grams of cluster dextrin, which can help support the slow release of carbohydrates for sustained energy for fuel during or after your workout. With a Blue Raspberry, Tropical Punch, and an unflavored option, Transparent Labs makes it easy to take this supplement as it is, or to stack it with your other favorite supplements. For $1.33 per serving, this carb powder is an affordable option that may increase your potential to work harder and see results from that work in the gym.
Transparent Labs Carb Powder
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Carb Powder
- Athletes who want a dose of carbohydrates that may help sustain their workouts, or boost recovery will like the 25g of cluster dextrin here.
- Those who like the versatility of timing with their supplements — this product can be taken pre, intra, or post-workout, depending on your preference.
- If you like flavored and unflavored options, Transparent Labs has you covered here with two delicious flavors and an unflavored powder.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Carb Powder
- Those who prefer to get their carbohydrates from food sources — this supp has 24 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
- Folks who are on a budget, as a carb supplement isn’t ultimately necessary for muscle growth.
This carbohydrate supplement can support a slow release of cluster dextrin, which may fuel long and tough workouts as well as potentially support your recovery.
[Related: Best Macros Calculator For Tracking Muscle Gain and Fat Loss]
Benefits of Supplements for Muscle Growth
The vast majority of supplements are targeted at either improving muscle growth or supporting weight loss. If you’re looking to pack on the beef, then adding a few muscle growth supplements may be a way to help move things along more effectively. On this list, there are supplements that aim at improving recovery, helping to supplement your diet, and even potentially boosting your workout performance.
If you put a ton of effort into training and then none into recovery, your results are likely not going to be optimal. There are countless ways to potentially enhance recovery, from cold plunges and saunas to post-workout supplements and protein shakes, like the ones we’ve included in this list. Picking up a high-quality recovery supplement may be the missing piece of your puzzle to unlocking more muscle growth.
As the old saying goes, abs are made in the kitchen. That holds true for muscle growth too since proper diet is of paramount importance for seeing the most return for your lifting efforts. You can hit it hard in the gym every day, but if your nutrition and diet aren’t on point, then you’re likely leaving potential muscle mass on the table.
Supplements like creatine, protein powder, carbs, BCAAs, and others may be the key to unlocking hidden gains. It’s hard to always have proper food ready and available, so you can always supplement your diet with a mass gainer or protein bar when you’re in need of some food and don’t have a way of cooking any or warming up a pre-made meal.
Adding a pre-workout (or another supplement intended to enhance your workouts) to your routine can be a great way to potentially push harder and longer at the gym. Supplements for muscle growth, like creatine, betaine, beta-alanine, carnitine, and good ole pre-workout, might give you the extra edge you need to push for another couple of reps, or bump up the weight higher than last week, which can result in improved muscle gains.
How We Chose the Best Supplements for Muscle Growth
There are many things to consider when choosing which supplements are best suited to aid in your muscle growth goals. We looked at four important factors — supplement type, price, research, and dosage to make sure this list delivered to fit your needs.
We wanted to make a list that would cater to people who were trying to aid their muscle growth, but there were many things to consider. First, we wanted to make sure there were pre, intra, and post-workout options, so that all consumers can find a product that fits with their supplement regimen. We considered various goals, such as mental focus, recovery, blood flow, and of course, muscle growth. We included both individual supplements to help support specific goals, and larger blends that may include various supplements that can help you build muscle.
We also took into consideration that there are a plethora of people that this list caters to. We spent time thinking about gymgoers, athletes, bodybuilders, and people just getting into weightlifting to make sure there is something for everyone on this list.
Depending on what supplement type you choose, the price will vary. Typically, products with more ingredients tend to have higher price tags, while products with singular ingredients have lower price tags. We realize that not everyone is working with the same budget, and have included a wide range of prices on this list. Rest assured though that we think even the highest price tags we placed on this list are worth the cost.
Research is an important factor when it comes to picking the best supplements. We believe that well-researched and backed claims deserve the best spots on our lists. Each supplement, ingredient, and claim for these products are backed by research and is also researched by our team at BarBend. We believe in the integrity of a product and want to ensure that there is research that aligns with each claim made when it comes to these supplements.
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We spent time looking at various products for each category and thoughtfully picked the one that we believed best aligned with potentially aiding muscle growth. Whether it was a product that might aid in speedy recovery to help you get back to top performance in the gym quicker or a supplement that might assist your body in utilizing carbs as fuel instead of breaking down muscle tissue — we took every pick into deep consideration.
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We believe in the products that we back, and make sure we spend the time scouting out each supplement for proper dosages. We try to choose picks that have the clinically-dosed amount of each ingredient for them to be the most effective. As noted in some of the picks, proprietary blends are also a common way that ingredients are added to a supplement.
We always make sure we note when a supplement has a proprietary blend because it means the exact amount of each ingredient in the blend isn’t disclosed. If we pick a proprietary blend, it’s because we value the ingredient list and the integrity of the supplement beyond just the dosage.
How Much Do Supplements for Muscle Growth Cost?
This lineup has a very diverse group of supplements, and therefore, the cost of each supplement will vary depending on its dosage and ingredient list. Some of the supplements come in various buying options, including a one-month supply, two-month supply, or three-month supply — the more you buy, the less you pay per serving.
|Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Growth||Transparent Labs BULK||$49.99
Per serving: $1.67
|Best Protein Powder for Muscle Growth||Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate||$59.99
Per serving: $2.00
|Best Post-Workout Supplement for Muscle Growth||Swolverine POST||$62.99
Per serving: $2.09
|Best Creatine For Muscle Growth||Transparent Labs Creatine HMB||$49.99
Per serving: $1.66
|Best Beta-Alanine for Muscle Growth||Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine||$54.99
Per serving: $0.92
|Best Betaine Supplement For Muscle Growth||Huge Supps Formula XII||$64.95
Per serving: $2.17
|Best BCAAs for Muscle Growth||Onnit Total Strength + Performance||$59.95
Per serving: $2.00
|Best Vegan Protein for Muscle Growth||Swolverine Plant Protein||$52.99
Per serving: $1.77
|Best Citrulline for Maintaining Muscle Growth||Onnit Total Nitric Oxide||$39.99
Per serving: $2.00
|Best Testosterone Booster for Muscle Growth||Testofuel Testosterone Booster||$65.00
Per serving: $2.17
|Best Carnitine for Muscle Growth||Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine||$23.99
Per serving: $0.10
|Best Carb Supplement for Muscle Growth||Transparent Labs Carb Powder||$44.99
Per serving: $1.50
Muscle growth can be achieved within any budget, but it is important to prioritize each supplement and decide if it fits your budget and your goals, or if it’s just an extra supplement to add to your stack. Our protein powders on this list are both above $2.00 per serving — between about $2.09 and $2.50 — and although both are on the higher end of the price spectrum, they both have high-quality ingredients and high protein content compared to others on the market. Some of our choices that can be taken for pre-workout are between around $0.91 to $1.99 per serving. Depending on your needs for a pre-workout, you can find a supplement that fits your price range here.
What’s In Supplements for Muscle Growth?
Some of these supplements focus on muscle growth specifically — like protein and creatine, which both can help with hypertrophy when paired with resistance training. Other supplements on the list are created to help with better blood flow, mental toughness, and boosting hormones, which may, in turn, help with muscle growth.
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All of these may aid in muscle growth in one way or the other, but their formulas will vary considerably depending on what supplement you are looking at purchasing. It’s always good to read the ingredients list of each individual supplement, and consult with your doctor if you’re considering adding any of these to your supplement regimen.
Protein powder is a staple supplement for bodybuilders and your average gymgoers alike. Protein is one of three macronutrients and is the macronutrient that can specifically help with hypertrophy. When it comes to muscle growth, protein may be the most important supplement in your arsenal. Whether you choose between isolate, concentrate, or vegan protein powders like pea protein, studies have shown that supplementing with protein powders can lead to more muscle thickness. (19)
When we put our bodies through resistance training, our muscle fibers tear, allowing them to grow — but it takes the right supplementation to help them grow. Protein powder is a quick and easy way to ensure you get your protein supplementation right after a workout to aid your body while it repairs those muscle fibers for potentially better muscle growth.
Not all pre-workouts are created equal — and as this list demonstrates, a pre-workout doesn’t have to be categorized as such in order to help you make the most of your workouts. Beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline are all examples of supplements that may be taken within a pre-workout supplement, but can be stacked as standalone supplements, as well. What is important here is to consider when the supplement will be most effective. Beta-alanine, for example, is a great pre-workout supplement due to its potential to help you focus, and because it’s a vasodilator, it may help you get better blood flow for your muscles.
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Betaine can have a positive effect on endurance training making it most effective to take before you start your workout. Citrulline is also a vasodilator which can lead to better blood flow and then to better pumps when you are working out. When you take a pre-workout that can aid in endurance and better blood flow, there is more potential to crush your workout, and therefore, attain more muscle growth.
Some pre-workouts are stacked and contain a blend of several of these ingredients. Although they may sport a higher price tag, some pre-workouts contain a list of ingredients that includes betaine, citrulline, and beta-alanine in one package. This delivers a mix of ingredients that may support energy, focus, and better blood flow. It all depends on what muscle growth supp you want to try for yourself.
Many of these supplements can also be used post-workout in order to possibly enhance the effects of your workout. Creatine, carb supplements, BCAAs, testosterone, and protein can be beneficial to utilize as post-workout supplements. Carb supplements can be a great post-workout supplement to prolong the effects of carbohydrate supplementation for refueling after a grueling workout.
Likewise, BCAAs can be important to take post-workout in order to maximize the potential muscle growth benefits. When you workout, you are tearing your muscle fibers, and because BCAAs are the building blocks of protein, it would make sense to use them as a post-workout recovery tool to potentially enhance growth.
BCAAs are an example of a supplement that could be used at any point pre, intra, or post-workout. BCAAS are fairly eclectic due to their ability to be potentially effective for several factors, such as recovery and mental focus for tough workouts. (7) They may be taken pre-workout to help with focus, or they may be taken intra-workout to promote hydration and a possible push in endurance.
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BCAA are also three of nine essential amino acids that are the building blocks of protein, so they may be best utilized during or after exercise for recovery. No matter if you’re using BCAAs for recovery, focus, or hydration, all of these factors have the potential to help with muscle growth.
Creatine is a supplement that has been shown to promote statistically significant increases in strength, fat free mass in the body, and performance for high-intensity exercise. (4) These reasons alone make it one of the most popular post-workout supplements on the market alongside protein. Creatine, when taken as directed, may increase strength allowing you to lift heavier weights, and may also boost endurance, leading to longer and harder workouts — which in turn, may promote muscle growth.
Carb powder is another example of a supplement that is best used either intra-workout or post-workout, depending on what you need it for. If you use carb powder during your workout, it may be to try and make the most of slow-release carbs for sustained energy. Someone may take it post-workout instead in hopes that it may produce more energy in the body, and therefore keep hard-earned musculature in place. Glycogen (the form of stored carbohydrates in our bodies) is an important metabolic fuel to keep your body from using muscle instead of glycogen stores for energy. (20)
What to Consider Before Buying Supplements for Muscle Growth
Adding supplements to your stack to bulk up and pack on muscle can be intimidating with so many options on the market, and so many factors to consider. Before you dive into your search, here are a few things to mull over.
No supplement will be a catalyst for muscle growth without you putting hard work into resistance training and nutrition, as well. With that being said, if muscle growth is your main goal, it’s important to ask what you are lacking in your daily lineup to help you achieve maximum muscle growth. If you’re lacking in hitting your protein goal, adding protein powder would make the most sense. If you’re wanting better focus during your lifts to make sure you’re lifting with a good muscle-mind connection, you may want to add beta-alanine to potentially optimize mental toughness.
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It’s important to remember that each person may respond differently to individual products. Make sure that you do your own research, check in with your healthcare provider, and think about what gaps you may need to fill in order to make the most of your workouts and supplementation needs for muscle growth.
Each product on this list will have a different ingredient list and it’s important to pay close attention to each individual ingredient. Depending on allergies, personal preferences (like being vegan), or specific ingredients you may be looking for, it is always best to thoroughly read the label before buying.
Some of these supplements have each ingredient listed with its amount in milligrams or grams, whereas some are listed as a proprietary blend, and may not disclose the exact amount of each ingredient individually. It is an important step to know what you are looking for in a product and see if the ingredient list matches your needs.
Each product on this list varies in some way making it unique to potentially helping you build muscle. We created a list that would suit various goals for different types of folks — bodybuilders, athletes, gymgoers, and your everyday person looking to gain more muscle. We picked pre-workout, intra-workout, and post-workout options to make sure that there was a supplement on the list that would fit your needs for muscle growth.
Supplement prices can vary dramatically depending on what you’re looking for. The ingredient list in these supplements varies and therefore their price tags will vary as well. We chose supplements that fit BarBend’s integrity and that we felt were worth their price tag based on their ingredient list, dosage, and supplement type.
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A supplement that has a stacked ingredient list will show up at a higher price point, while simpler supplements that have fewer ingredients usually sport a lower price tag. An example of an exception to this would be Swolverine’s whey isolate — this supplement has few ingredients, but the quality of whey isolate makes it a higher price due to its potent protein content.
When it comes to building muscle, there are many supplements on the market that can help you as you work toward your goals. It’s important to remember that supplements alone won’t achieve muscle growth, but combined with proper resistance training, a diet of whole foods, and the correct supplementation, your goals are more attainable. This list of supplements is a guideline to what is available on the market to potentially help you build muscle, and it’s important to keep in mind what you’re currently lacking in order to choose the right supplement.
When you’re considering which muscle growth supplement to pick, know that all of these picks have high-quality ingredients, and have been well-researched and tested. All you have to do is figure out what you’re looking to accomplish with the supplement, choose your type of product, and allow this list to help you through the rest.
Do I need to take all of these supplements for muscle growth if I want to build muscle?
The short answer here is no. You don’t need to take any supplements to see muscle growth; however, if you’re looking to get the most out of your training, it can be extremely beneficial to add supplements to your daily routine. Creatine, for example, is a widely researched and well-regarded supplement that is proven to help promote muscle gains. (2)
It isn’t necessary to see results, but it is a helpful tool. It’s also important to note that you likely won’t see muscle gain without the addition of resistance training, and a healthy diet of whole foods, even if you’re taking the right supplements.
How much are supplements for muscle growth?
Since there are so many different types of supplements that people take to try to enhance muscle growth, the range of prices is quite wide from around $25 up to $65 per container. Some of those containers cost quite a bit per serving — as much as $2.50 to $3.00. Others are cheaper and can be as little as $0.10 per serving. On average, you’ll see prices around $1.50 to $2.50 per serving for most supplements.
What is the best supplement for muscle growth?
There are countless supplements on the market intended to support muscle growth, but sometimes a simple approach might be the most effective. We’re big fans of Transparent Labs BULK pre-workout as it has a variety of well-dosed ingredients that may aid in muscle gain. It contains a large dose of citrulline in order to help support blood flow and recovery. (1) Each scoop also has caffeine for energy and ingredients that can potentially help with focus, like alpha-GPC and taurine. All of these ingredients and more make the formula with 13 active ingredients a great choice if your goal is to pack on lean mass.
Which supplement is most important to add to my routine for muscle growth?
There is no magic formula that will transport you directly to your goal, but it’s important to question what your specific goal is, and what you may be lacking in your diet. From there, you’ll be able to select the supplement that may help you fill any dietary gaps, and reach your muscle building goals.
Are these supplements for muscle growth safe to take?
All the supplements that we have on our lists here at BarBend have been researched for integrity of ingredients and effectiveness. It is important to remember that every person is different and the effects of each supplement may vary person to person. However, it is extremely important to always refer to your doctor or a medical professional when adding new supplements to your routine — especially if you have any prior conditions or health concerns.
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