The Best Supplements for Muscle Growth

We tried various products for muscle growth to uncover the ones that can best help you reach your goals.

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine.

Many people are looking to make the most of their workouts through their supplementation. Whey protein 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 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 supplements for muscle growth may be missing from your daily regimen.

Best Supplements for Muscle Growth

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. Swolverine created a whey isolate protein that prioritizes protein, and leaves the artificial junk out, allowing the best opportunity to help with your gains.

Swolverine Whey Isolate Protein

Swolverine’s whey isolate protein powder packs 26g 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 includes the digestive enzymes protease and papain, which can enhance physiological and immunological functions (1). For example, they may help with absorption, potentially allowing your protein to work harder for you, and help you achieve better muscle growth. 

Swolverine’s whey isolate comes in four delicious flavors — Vanilla, Chocolate, Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter, and Mint Chocolate Chip. All four flavors are great on their own, or the perfect addition to your daily protein shake. Though this product is a little pricey at $2.09 per serving, we think this is a solid protein-packed option for muscle growth optimization.

Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate

This whey protein formula delivers 26 grams of protein with just 0.5 grams of fat, and one gram of carbs. You’ll also find 10mg of digestive enzymes, and a decent number of micronutrients.

Who Should Buy Swolverine Whey Isolate Protein

  • Athletes and gymgoers who prioritize the absorption of their whey isolate will be excited to see the addition of the digestive enzymes protease and papain.
  • People who want a generous dose of protein to help with muscle growth will love the 26g in this formula.
  • Anyone who needs to keep protein high and carbs low will appreciate the one gram of carbs and half gram of fat in this formula.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Whey 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. 
  • Swolverine only offers four flavors of whey isolate, so if you’re looking for a wide variety of flavors 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, the addition of digestive enzymes, and its four delicious flavors.

[Related: Could Baking Soda Be The Best Workout Supplement You’ve Never Tried?]

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 (2). Many companies try their hand at making a creatine monohydrate supplement, but this one is our favorite (especially with muscle growth in mind).

Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate

Huge Supplements creatine monohydrate comes in a package of 150 tablets with five tablets per serving, totaling the optimal dose of five grams of creatine monohydrate per serving. Creatine has been shown to have positive effects for muscle strength and performance, making it a helpful supplement for reaching muscle growth goals (2). 

One great thing about the tablet form of creatine is that you can vary the dose easily if you prefer to take a lesser amount, such as three grams — simply take three tablets instead of five. Or if you want to do a creatine loading phase, you can take extra tablets, and know exactly how much you are getting. This supplement is about as pure as a creatine tablet can get holding just the creatine monohydrate as the active ingredient — sometimes (in our opinion) simple is better when it comes to muscle growth.

Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine

Huge Supplements Creatine contains 5g of creatine monohydrate in a convenient capsule form. For the best results, you only need to take five capsules in the morning or evening each day — consistency is key. 

Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate

  • Those who prefer to take their supplements in pill form, and dislike the gritty feel of powdered creatine monohydrate.
  • People who want to easily control their creatine intake for optimal muscle growth will like the ability to dose these tablets without using a scale. 
  • Anyone looking for muscle growth will appreciate this pure form of creatine, which may help with performance and growth.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate

  • Anyone looking for a powdered form of creatine that they can mix into other products, like a greens smoothie.
  • Those who get some gastric distress from creatine monohydrate may want to look into the other forms of creatine, such as Kre-Alkalyn. 

These creatine monohydrate tablets from Huge Supplements only contain the necessary ingredients without any fluff or extras. With decades of research backing up creatine monohydrate and the convenience of tablets, this product from Huge is our pick for best creatine monohydrate for muscle growth. 

Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Growth

Pre-workout supplements are not all created equal — in order to max out potential muscle growth, you need a pre-workout that contains important ingredients, such as betaine and BCAAs that may improve your endurance and recovery.

Legion Pulse Pre-Workout 

Legion Pulse Pre-Workout has some of the main staples for an effective pre-workout — like caffeine and BCAAs for replenishing — but it also contains 2,500mg of betaine, which can help improve endurance, and therefore, aid in optimizing your workouts in the gym to build muscle (3).

For those who prefer their pre-workout without caffeine, don’t stress, this pre-workout also comes in a caffeine-free formula with the same amount of betaine. With 15 flavor options for caffeinated and four for caffeine-free pre-workout, each serving comes in at $1.90, and both formulas are all-natural. 

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Legion Pulse Preworkout
Legion Pulse Preworkout
Legion Pulse Preworkout

This pre-workout supplement can come with or without caffeine and in 16 different flavors. Each serving provides 350 milligrams of L-theanine and eight grams of citrulline, which may facilitate better pumps. 

Who Should Buy Legion Pulse Pre-Workout

  • Anyone looking for a pre-workout that is packed with ingredients like betaine to aid in their endurance and muscle growth. 
  • Athletes who like variety will appreciate that this formula comes in caffeinated and caffeine-free options, along with a ton of flavor choices, depending on your caffeine preference. 
  • Anyone who loves an all-natural ingredient list — this formula is free of artificial and synthetic ingredients. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Pulse Pre-Workout

  • Someone who likes unflavored supplements will want to look elsewhere — both the caffeinated and caffeine-free options come with a multitude of flavor choices, but unflavored is not one of those.
  • Anyone who is on a budget as this pre-workout is $1.90 per serving.

Legion Pulse Pre-Workout is a stacked pre-workout that delivers optional caffeine, offers the potential muscle building benefits of betaine, and comes with a variety of delicious flavors to make sure your pre-workout is helping you achieve the most muscle growth possible.

[Related: The Lifter’s Guide To Magnesium: What This Nutrient Does For Strength]

Best Post-Workout for Muscle Growth

Post-workout fuel is an important part of the recovery process, and may be the supplement that allows you to recover faster and get back into the gym for more intense lifts — the addition of BCAA and cluster dextrin stick out as winners for gains in this formula.

Xwerks Motion

This formula is the optimal post-workout for muscle growth due its inclusion of BCAAs, cluster dextrin, and electrolytes that can help you replenish after your toughest workouts. BCAAs are three of nine essential amino acids that are necessary to obtain because our bodies do not make them naturally. They are the building blocks of protein, and can help in optimizing muscle growth.

Cluster dextrin is a form of carbohydrate, and carbs are great post workout to refuel muscle glycogen stores, and this formula has 28g of carbs per serving (4). Repairing muscle glycogen stores can allow for a higher energy burn, and can help lead to better recovery and potentially more intense workouts. 

This ingredient list also has a nice profile of electrolytes in the form of 34mg of sodium, 80mg of calcium, and 35mg of magnesium to round out this post-workout supplement. When our bodies are pushed during workouts, we can become dehydrated and lose our store of electrolytes. In order to function at our optimal level of performance for muscle growth, hydration and electrolyte replenishment are necessary for our bodies (5).

Xwerks Motion
Xwerks Motion
Xwerks Motion

Xwerks contains three grams of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio. Plus, there’s an added dose of calcium, magnesium, and sodium for hydration to make sure you’re hitting all your marks during and after your workout.

Who Should Buy Xwerks Motion

  • Athletes who want the most out of their post-workout supplement to replenish lost electrolytes in order to hit their next workout will love the addition of calcium, sodium, and magnesium in this formula.
  • Folks who need to repair muscles and want to help optimize muscle growth will appreciate the three grams of BCAAs in this formula.
  • If you’re someone who sweats a lot during your workouts, you’ll be happy to see the addition of electrolytes that may help you replenish your body after an intense workout.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Xwerks Motion

  • Anyone who doesn’t enjoy Watermelon or Blue Raspberry may want to look elsewhere for more flavors to choose from, or for an Unflavored option.
  • Folks who want a product low in carbs — such as bodybuilders — or those who prefer to get their carb sources from food may want to look for a post-workout supplement that is lower than the 28g present in this formula.

This post-workout contains BCAAs which can help repair muscles, electrolytes which may help with recovery, and cluster dextrin which can provide long-lasting carbohydrate fuel. Most importantly they’re all key players when it comes to getting the most out of your supplements to build muscle.

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 (6). 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 (7). 

Swolverine contains 5,000mg 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 $.091 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. 

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Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine
Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine
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.

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 5,000mg 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 change 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 3,000mg of betaine and 5,000mg 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 3,000mg 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 (8). Better endurance can potentially lead to more muscle. This formula also includes 5,000mg of creatine, which is a huge addition to this line-up due to creatine’s potential to promote muscle growth (3).

Huge Supplements 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 XII Intra & Post Workout
Huge Supplements XII Intra & Post Workout
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. 

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 3,000mg of betaine and the 5,000mg 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

This supplement from Onnit includes three of their blends, and contains a powerful dose of BCAAs to take before your workout, which can help with both recovery and muscle retention. 

Onnit Total Strength + Performance Blend

Onnit Total Strength + Performance Blend contains a caffeine free mix of three of Onnit’s blends in one — Performance Blend, Power Blend, and Support Blend. Although the Power Blend and Support Blend are important, the performance blend is the focus of this trio. It contains a proprietary blend of 4.5g of BCAAs, L-glutamine, and CarnoSyn beta-alanine. 

BCAAs are three of nine essential amino acids that the body requires from supplements or food in order to optimally function. Amino acids are the building blocks for protein and are an important supplement to include in your stack for potential muscle growth. L-glutamine is one of the other essential amino acids, and can be a helpful ingredient for muscle growth and recovery.

Beta-alanine is known for its potential to help you hyper-focus during your workouts, making sure you give it your all (9). This supplement also contains 5mg of black pepper extract, which can assist your body in absorption of all the BCAA goodness that may help with your recovery and muscular gains. The only buying option available is Strawberry Lemonade for a 30 day supply. 

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Onnit Total Strength + Performance
Onnit Total Strength + Performance
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.

Who Should Buy Onnit Total Strength + Performance Blend

  • Folks who want a super stacked supplement — this contains three of Onnit’s blends in one — the BCAAs, L-glutamine, and CarnoSyn beta-alanine are the main ingredients for potential muscle growth here. 
  • Customers who appreciate black pepper extract in their supplements, which can help aid in better absorption.
  • Those who want a supplement without caffeine will be happy to see this is a caffeine-free formula. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Onnit Total Strength + Performance Blend

  • Anyone who wants an exact amount of each ingredient will want to look elsewhere — all of the ingredients are measured within proprietary blends, which means we don’t get an exact dosage of each individual ingredient. 
  • Folks who want a plethora of flavor options or who prefer an unflavored option. This currently is only available as a Strawberry Lemonade flavor. 

With three formulas in one blend, Onnit Total Strength + Performance boasts a heavy-hitting ingredient list with BCAAs, L-glutamine, and CarnoSyn beta-alanine at the very top, which can help promote recovery, and may help enhance your muscle growth. 

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 those of your omnivorous counterparts. This vegan protein may play a key role in your gains. 

Legion Plant+ Vegan Protein

This vegan protein supplement comes in three various flavors — Dutch Chocolate, French Vanilla, and Mocha Cappuccino — all which have 24 or 25grams of protein per serving. Vegan diets require a bit more calculation than omnivorous diets to make sure you’re getting complete proteins in, but Legion Plant+ has a high quality blend of pea protein and rice protein with the added benefit of 5.6g of BCAAs. One study found that pea protein had no difference in ability to grow muscles compared to whey protein and that both were effective when paired with proper resistance training (10). 

This protein blend has similar macro breakdowns to a whey isolate — the protein is high while the carbs and fats remain low. All the flavors have either four and five grams of carbs, and two and a half or three grams of fat per serving. Although it’s not the cheapest protein on the market, this vegan blend comes out to $2.50 per serving, which we think is worth it due to the benefits this protein brings. 

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Legion Plant+
Legion Plant+
Legion Plant+

Legion's Plant+ has 25 grams of protein per serving, just four grams of carbs, and is packed with vitamins and minerals that plant-based eaters may want more of. Use code "BARBEND" for 20% off!

Who Should Buy Legion Plant+ Vegan Protein

  • Vegans who want a blend of protein that also contains a healthy dose of BCAAs will be happy to see pea and rice protein along with 5.6g of BCAA in this formula. 
  • This product is ideal for vegans who prefer to get their carbs and fat from food sources — it has five grams of carbs and three grams of fat (at most) per serving. 
  • Those who are looking for a high dose of protein to hit their macro goals and potentially help build muscle on a vegan diet will be pleased to see 24 and 25g of protein respectively, depending on which flavor you choose.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Plant+ Vegan Protein

  • Those who like a robust list of flavor options — this product only offers three flavor choices: Dutch Chocolate, French Vanilla, and Mocha Cappuccino.
  • If you are on a budget you may want to consider other options on the market — this protein has a higher price tag of $2.50 per serving.
  • If you are extremely strict on your vegan boundaries — this product is made in a factory that also processes milk, eggs, and shellfish. 

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 — 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. 

This supplement takes it one step further. It contains 5.87g 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.

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Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
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.

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 beet root 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 an 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 stack may be the key to give 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 (11). 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 (12). 

This formula also includes 2,000mg of D-aspartic acid, which has been shown to increase testosterone levels in the body (13). The ingredient lineup also includes oyster-extract, which can promote testosterone synthesis in the body (14). 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, nutrition book, and free worldwide to go with it).

Testofuel Testosterone Booster
Testofuel Testosterone Booster
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.

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 could contribute to maximizing muscle growth due to its potential to aid in recovery, increase oxygen consumption, and stimulate fat metabolism (15).

Legion Recharge

Legion Recharge provides over two grams of l-carnitine l-tartrate, which has been shown to improve recovery and reduce fatigue after intense exercise (16). This supplement isn’t just high in l-carnitine, but it also contains five grams of creatine monohydrate, which has been shown in some studies to increase fat-free body-mass (17).

This supplement comes in five delicious flavor options — Strawberry Lemonade, Blue Raspberry, Grape, Fruit Punch, and Watermelon, as well as an unflavored option to make consumption versatile. This supp costs $1.00 per serving making it an extremely affordable option to throw in the mix when you’re working on building muscle. 

Legion Recharge
Legion Recharge
Legion Recharge

Legion Recharge is a well-rounded option that includes a solid dose of creatine monohydrate, along with l-carnitine l-tartrate, which may help to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and improve recovery.

Who Should Buy Legion Recharge

  • Anyone looking for a potent carnitine supplement that includes other ingredients that may aid in muscle growth as well, such as creatine — this formula contains both in generous doses. 
  • Those who are on a budget will appreciate the reasonable price tag here at $1.00 per serving.
  • Folks who prefer fruity flavors will like these five options — Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, and Strawberry Lemonade.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Recharge

  • Customers who want a straight carnitine supplement will want to look elsewhere.
  • Athletes who prefer to take their supplements pre or intra workout will want to look elsewhere — this supplement is meant to be taken post workout for recovery.

Legion Recharge contains l-carnitine which has been shown to improve recovery and exhaustion due to exercise. In addition, it contains five grams of creatine — one of the most research-backed supplements when it comes to promoting muscle growth. 

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 to 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. 

This formula includes 25g 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
Transparent Labs Carb Powder
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®.

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 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 24g 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]

How We Decide 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. 

Supplement Type

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 in this list.

Price

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

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 is 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. 

Muscle up
Image From oOhyperblaster/Shutterstock

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.

[Related: How To Do The Romanian Deadlift For Lower-Body Size And Strength]

Dosage

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 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 amount 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 options, including a one month supply, two month supply, or three month supply — the more you buy, the less you pay per serving. 

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 $2.09 and $2.50 — and although both are on the higher end price wise, they both have quality ingredients and a high protein content compared to others on the market. Some of our choices that can be taken for pre-workout are between $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 between the two prices.

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. 

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

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 (11).

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.

Pre-Workout Supplements

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. 

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.

Post-Workout Supplements

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

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 (10). 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.

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

Creatine is a supplement that has been shown to promote a statistically significant increases in strength, fat free mass in the body, and performance for high-intensity exercise (2). 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

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 (19).

What to Consider Before Buying

Adding supplements to your stack to target muscle growth 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 consider.

Being Realistic

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 line-up 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.

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. 

Ingredient List

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, where 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. 

Supplement Type

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. 

Price

Supplement prices can vary dramatically depending on what you’re looking for. The ingredient list in these supplements vary and therefore their price tags will vary as well. We chose supplements that fit Bar Bend integrity and that we felt were worth their price tag based on their ingredient list, dosage, and supplement type.

A supplement that has a stacked ingredient list will show up at a higher price point, while simpler supplements that have less 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.

Final Word

When it comes to building muscle there are many supplements on the market that can help you as you work towards 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 on 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. 

FAQs

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. 

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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