Best L-Citrulline Pre Workouts

Top 5 Best L-Citrulline Pre Workouts in 2023

L-Citrulline provides a crucial benefit to those looking to take their fitness game to the next level, as it has been clinically proven to improve both muscle pump and cardiovascular capacity.

In other words, L-Citrulline Pre Workouts are a game changer when it comes to getting better pump and achieving more rigorous workouts in general. And yet despite the undisputable benefit and value of L-Citrulline, it is serially underdosed by big pre workout brands.

Which leads us to our main point: After scouring the market for the best products, we finally landed on our choices for the best formulas that leverage L-Citrulline with clinically effective doses that actually work.

The L Citrulline Pre Workouts We RAVE About

Shifted Maximum Pre Workout
Best Complete Formula
Shifted Maximum Pre Workout
Jacked Factory NitroSurge Max
Best for Energy
Jacked Factory NitroSurge Max
Legion Athletics Pulse All-Natural Pre Workout
Best All Natural
Legion Athletics Pulse All-Natural Pre Workout

Why L Citrulline Works in Pre Workouts

How L-Citrulline works
L-Citrulline plays a key role in delivering post-workout pump

L citrulline, or simply citrulline, is a non-essential amino acid that the body naturally produces but it can also be sourced from cucumbers, watermelons and melons.

In fitness supplements, it’s also found as citrulline malate, which can be just as effective as pure citrulline in the right ratio. 

Citrulline acts as an endogenous precursor to L-arginine in the arginine-nitric oxide pathway that, in turn, improves nitric oxide production in the body.

The presence of nitric oxide in the body has several performance-boosting benefits, particularly in widening the blood vessels (i.e., vasodilatory effect).

L citrulline benefits workout performance through this vasodilatory action on the blood vessels via its conversion to L-arginine. This L-arginine then improves nitric oxide synthesis, which in-turn is responsible for the vasodilatory action and imparts the sought after benefit to exercise.

This benefit occurs by way of a twofold effect:

  • First, widened and relaxed blood vessels deliver blood more easily to muscle tissue.
  • Second, muscle tissue that receives more blood flow also receives more oxygen and nutrients.

The combination of increased blood flow and muscle tissue that becomes enriched with oxygen and nutrients results in muscles that perform better for longer.

Improved Exercise Performance

L-Citrulline for exercise performance
L-Citrulline is sought after by fitness enthusiasts for a myriad of reasons

As mentioned, the primary benefit of consistent citrulline use is in improved exercise performance due to the increase in the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to the working muscles.

With more nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood combined with improved oxygen usage, the muscles have longer time-to-fatigue (i.e., delayed muscle fatigue). 

The increase in muscle endurance means more reps can be performed and, thus, faster development of larger, leaner muscles.

To summarize, these vasodilatory effect also promote improved energy production at the cellular level, faster post-workout recovery, and better muscle pumps afterwards. 

Improved Cognitive Function and Athleticism

The vasodilatory effect even improves blood flow to the brain!

Consistent citrulline supplementation can then support better mental concentration and motivation even without caffeine consumption.

Feeling more focused and motivated – sharper in mind, in other words – can contribute to improved exercise performance. And the brain and muscles aren’t the only beneficiaries of improved blood flow. The lungs also benefit.

Because oxygen is more effectively dispersed throughout the body, the lungs may work more efficiently–reducing the rate at which you feel out of breath or reach a point of exhaustion during cardiovascular training.

In other words, L-Citrulline is one of the few pre workout ingredients that boots performance in both rigorous weight training and high intensity cardiovascular training.

Boosts Cardiovascular and Heart Health

The vasodilatory effect of citrulline is also beneficial for cardiovascular and health health.

By widening the blood vessels, it may aid in lowering blood pressure among hypertensive individuals that, in turn, can decrease the risk of heart disease.  

A healthy heart and blood pressure levels are also vital to exercise performance in particular and athletic performance in general.

Basically, the healthier your heart is, the more your lungs and other organs are in tiptop shape, meaning you’re able to engage in high-intensity exercises for prolonged periods. 

L-Citrulline Versus L-Arginine: Which Should You Take?

With all these clear benefits, there’s the question of, “Why supplement with citrulline when you can just go directly to the source – L-arginine?”

Citrulline supplementation has been shown to be more effective in increasing L-arginine levels in the blood that promotes nitric oxide production. Ironically, L-Citrulline supplantation is just better at helping the body achieve optimal of L-Arginine than supplementing L-Arginine (at least when exercise performance is concerned).

Unlike L-arginine, citrulline isn’t absorbed in the gut but undergoes direct processing into L-arginine by the kidneys and it doesn’t have side effects – L-arginine can cause diarrhea and pain in susceptible individuals. 

Citrulline supplementation, particularly as part of pre-workout supplementation, is strongly recommended for:

  • Endurance athletes (runners and cyclist)
  • Strength athletes (bodybuilders and weightlifters)
  • Everyday people who want faster post-workout recovery, better mental focus and motivation, and better post-workout pump. 

While many pre workout ingredients might not live up to their hype, L-Citrulline provides enough health benefits to earn its place in anyone’s supplement regimen.

How to Maximize Effects of L Citrulline in Pre Workouts

How to improve L-Citrulline effects
L-Citrulline is great, learn how to make it better

According to fitness experts, the clinically effective minimum dosage for citrulline in pre workouts is between three and six grams (or 3,000 and 6,000 milligrams).

If citrulline malate is used however, the minimum recommended dosage is eight grams. 

But it must also be emphasized that pure citrulline or citrulline malate in pre workouts must be considered in relation to the other ingredients.

According to L-Citrulline researchers, the best active ingredients to pair with for maximum energy-inducing, pump-enhancing and fatigue-zapping benefits are caffeine, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, Alpha-CPG, and L-theanine.  

How to Use L-Citrulline Supplements

Be sure to take a fitness supplement with L citrulline before your workouts, usually at 20-30 minutes beforehand.

The beneficial effects should be felt just in time for the warm-up exercises, reach their peak during high-intensity exercises, and taper off after a few hours.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions about maximum dosage is important, too. Most pre workouts suggest one scoop mixed with cold water or other preferred liquids in a 24-hour period; others have a 2-scoop dose maximum.

Avoid drinking a pre workout a few hours before bedtime, too, since it can result in a sleepless night. 

Of course, citrulline-rich pre workouts are best paired with a healthy diet and exercise plan as well as sensible lifestyle habits!

Eating healthy foods and drinks, like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes, on a daily basis is a must, as is eating the right foods before workouts and drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercises. 

Ranking Methodology

Ranking methodology of the best L-Citrulline Pre Workouts
Learn how we found the best L-Citrulline Pre Workouts

The best pre workouts with citrulline featured in this ranking were selected based on the following criteria:

  • The amount of pure citrulline or citrulline malate meets the minimum clinically effective dosage mentioned above. 
  • The results experienced from the regular and proper use of the pre workout must be favorable, and many of the user reviews we found were on Reddit, Amazon, and other social media platforms. 
  • The transparency of the ingredients list is a must, meaning the ingredients and their amounts per serving are clearly stated. 
  • The value of product must be clear, too, in other words the price tag must match the ingredients and doses.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s show you the best L-Citrulline pre workouts that will change your fitness journey for the better.

Best L Citrulline Pre Workouts Revealed


Shifted Maximum Pre Workout

The best pre workout with L citrulline based on our personal experience and user reviews is Shifted Maximum pre workout – and it isn’t just because of its high pure citrulline content either. Where the best pre workout is concerned, the sum of all its ingredients should be greater than if these ingredients acted alone, a process known as synergy, and this is where Get Shifted’s Maximum pre workout stands out.

With eight grams – or 8,000 milligrams – of citrulline in every scoop, Shifted Maximum gets close to the maximum recommended dose of 10 to 15 grams! This is among the highest amounts of pure citrulline in pre workouts without being too much that it can cause side effects; the newest research shows that higher doses can positively impact bioavailability of both nitric oxide and L-Arginine and thus promotes better blood flow to muscle tissue.

At this amount, the boost in nitric oxide production will result in a relaxing and widening of the blood vessels that carry life-sustaining, performance-boosting nutrients and oxygen. The touted benefits of proper and regular use of Shifted Maximum, such as sustained energy, delayed muscle fatigue and decreased muscle soreness, and dialed-in focus becomes possible.

These performance-enhancing benefits will not happen if not for the synergy of pure citrulline with these other active ingredients. Note that Get Shifted categorized Maximum pre workout’s ingredients into four complexes – muscle for muscle growth, energy for boost in physical energy, stamina for increased endurance, and focus for improved concentration.

  • Creatine monohydrate 5,000mg 
  • Betaine anhydrous 2,500mg
  • Beet root extract 1,000mg
  • Red spinach extract 1,000mg
  • Caffeine anhydrous 250mg 
  • Delayed release caffeine 50mg
  • Taurine 3,000mg
  • Beta-alanine 2,500mg
  • Rhodiola rosea 100mg
  • Co-Enzyme Q10 25mg
  • B vitamins and electrolytes 
  • L-tyrosine 1,000mg 
  • Alpha-CPG 150mg
  • L-theanine 150mg

What Did We Find During Our Review?

While you won’t directly see citrulline’s vasodilatory effects, you can feel it over 1-2 weeks of proper and regular use, as most satisfied users like us did. Shifted Maximum is the best pre workout fuel because of its all-in-one formulation and its high citrulline content, the latter of which definitely contributed to sustained physical and mental energy during high-intensity exercises.

As we consumed Shifted Maximum – a single scoop mixed with a tall glass of cold water daily – we experienced a significant increase in physical energy and mental focus. This is true whether we’re engaged in high-intensity exercises on workout days or going about our daily business on rest days. There’s a zing, so to speak, that can be felt about five minutes after drinking it so much so that we wanted to hit the weights and the treadmill at full speed!

Plus, we observed that our physical energy and mental focus doesn’t go into crash-boom-bang mode. Instead, we experienced sustained physical and mental energy throughout the high-intensity workout, usually between one and two hours, and prolonged stamina. These benefits are just what was promised and we’re glad it delivered.

Shifted Maximum is strongly recommended for amateur and professional athletes as well as serious fitness enthusiasts. There’s only one flavor but it more than makes up for it with excellent mixability and flavor – and more importantly, in its efficacy in boosting exercise performance.

Buy Shifted Maximum at Amazon


Jacked Factory NitroSurge Max

The pre workout with L citrulline with the highest amount of the non-essential amino acid is Jacked Factory NitroSurge Max. Jacked Factory also markets it as a pre workout with a different hit – excuse the French on its website – thanks to its lineup of potent ingredients. The variety of delicious flavors is a bonus.

NitroSurge Max has nine grams – or 9,000 milligrams – of pure citrulline in every two scoops and it definitely shows in terms of the boost in physical and mental energy that it brings. This is three times the minimum effective dose of three grams per serving but there shouldn’t be any concerns about unpleasant side effects.

Other active ingredients in NitroSurge Max that complements the positive actions of its pure citrulline are:

  • Caffeine 350mg
  • nooLVL (L-arginine silicate) 1,600mg
  • Alpha-GPC 300mg 
  • Betaine anhydrous 2,500mg
  • L-tyrosine 2,000mg
  • elevATP 150mg 
  • L-theanine 100mg
  • Astragin 150mg 
  • Senactiv 50mg
  • Huperzine A 250mcg

What Did We Find During Our Review?

NitroSurge Max is best for amateur and professional athletes who want high citrulline doses that increase their exercise performance over the long-term period. Note that this is a high-caffeine product, too, that combined with pure citrulline can result in significant increase in physical and mental energy. The energy boost can be experienced just 15 minutes after taking the pre workout and then becomes sustained for the next couple of hours.

Since most, if not all, of the ingredients are within or above the minimum clinically effective doses, the desired effects are possible with consistent use. We must say that with the significant increase in oxygen and nutrient-carrying capacity of our bodies, getting in more reps per set becomes easier and faster.


Legion Athletics Pulse All-Natural Pre Workout

The Pulse All-Natural Pre Workout is yet another of the best citrulline pre workout supplements that brings a good zap of physical and mental energy after drinking it. With its cocktail of effective ingredients, it sustains the physical and mental energy levels for the couple of hours it takes to complete high-intensity exercises before tapering off.

Better yet, Pulse pre workout is available in caffeinated and caffeine-free versions – and it’s a choice that few other pre workout manufacturers give to their consumers. The caffeinated version contains caffeine and L-theanine while the caffeine-free version doesn’t. The caffeine-free version is recommended for individuals who have low tolerance of caffeine but still want the performance-boosting benefits of the caffeinated version.

Pulse pre workout contains 8,000 milligrams of citrulline malate that translates to 5.33 grams of pure citrulline, just missing the maximum mark.

Other active ingredients are:

  • Beta-alanine 3,600mg
  • Caffeine 350mg
  • Betaine 2,500mg
  • L-Theanine 350mg
  • Alpha-GPC 300mg

What Did We Find During Our Review?

We reviewed the Pulse caffeinated version because we like the extra boost of energy that comes from caffeine and L-theanine interacting with citrulline. The recommended dosage is two scoops mixed with 12-ounce glass of water but first-time users should start with one scoop to build tolerance.

In terms of performance-enhancing benefits, Pulse delivers well and it’s good, too, considering that Legion Athletics offers a 100% money-back guarantee. With consistent use over a week or two, we experienced observable improvements in our physical energy, mental alertness and attention, and muscle strength, stamina and pump. We even observed less muscle soreness after workouts that also meant faster recovery.


XWerks Ignite

There’s nothing like a pre workout that packs a punch and that’s exactly what XWerks Ignite pre workout promises and delivers! With its powerful formulation, it’s geared toward amateur and professional athletes instead of the average and occasional gym-goers. But we must also point out that it’s a good pre workout for individuals interested in upping their gym game including the abovementioned gym-goers!

XWerks Ignite contains 3,000 milligrams – or three grams – of pure citrulline, just within the minimum clinically effective dose. But it’s enough to make it among the best pre workouts because of its performance-enhancing benefits in synergy with the following active ingredients: 

  • Vitamin B6 20mg 
  • Vitamin B12 3,000mcg
  • Calcium 80mg 
  • Magnesium lactate 35mg
  • CarnoSyn beta-alanine 1.5g 
  • L-tyrosine 2g
  • DMAE 200mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea 500mg
  • Caffeine: 150 milligrams

What Did We Find During Our Review?

Among the best things that we found great about XWerks Ignite pre workout is the balanced combination of ingredients that boost physical energy and mental function without using possibly harmful and banned substances. Citrulline, for example, improves muscle strength and stamina through increased blood flow to the muscles while DMAE boosts memory and cognitive function.

These aren’t just marketing hype either as we experienced significant improvements in our weightlifting capacity, cardiovascular endurance, and post-workout recovery. While the first drink won’t do the trick, there’s a gradual and observable buildup of our positive experience with Xwerks Ignite the longer we drank it, an experience many satisfied users also asserted. There doesn’t seem to be the dreaded boom-bam-crash experience either, thanks to a fairly low caffeine level.


Beyond Raw LIT Pre Workout

For amateur or professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking for a citrulline-rich pre workout without the sugar and gluten, Beyond Raw’s LIT pre workout is an excellent choice. This isn’t just a pre workout that should be used before high-intensity exercises either as it can be used as a daily energy booster drink. The yummy flavors, such as orange mango and strawberry lemonade, also make it go down well.

The citrulline content of 3,000 milligrams – or three grams – is within the minimum clinically effective dose. While it seems too little in comparison with the other citrulline-rich pre workouts, we must point out that its other effective ingredients contribute to its standout performance-enhancing benefits.

  • CarnoSyn beta-alanine 3,200mg
  • Caffeine 250mg
  • Coffee fruit extract 2mg
  • Nitrosigine 
  • Creatine monohydrate 1.5g
  • Ancient peat and apple extract

Other non-active ingredients are citric acid, potassium sorbate, tartaric acid, and calcium silicate.

What Did We Find During Our Review?

There are times when training hard, long and well just isn’t possible because, well, lack of energy and motivation hits. This is where LIT pre workout comes in with its good boost of physical and mental energy soon after drinking it. While the individual experience varies, it’s safe to say that being lit – on fire – happens and it’s go-time at the gym!

Its sufficient citrulline content means that the boost in energy will take you from warm-up to cool-down exercises with sustained levels – no sudden dips and crashes – and it’s what we also experienced with a few drinks. There’s also a significant increase in the muscle power and pump that comes from consistent use of LIT pre workout.

L-Citrulline Pre Workouts FAQs

Will L-Citrulline make me bigger?

L-Citrulline supplementation has been proven to increase skeletal muscle PGC‐1α levels, which is responsible for improving time-to-exhaustion during rigorous exercise.

The combination of these two factors contributes to users reporting better bulking and muscle growth. And when used correctly, this results in bigger and leaner muscles.

So in short, yes! When paired optimally with effective exercise regimens, L-Citrulline can help you bulk up.

Can I take L-Citrulline everyday safely?

Experts agree that daily L-Citrulline supplementation is safe so long as you only ingest the recommended dose of 3 to 8 grams daily.

How long does it take for L-Citrulline to kick in?

It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for L-Citrulline to kick in, and about twice that amount of time for Citrulline Malate to kick in since it takes longer to convert into L-Arginine.

Is L-Citrulline bad for kidney health?

When dosed at the recommended amount, L-Citrulline should not cause any issues with your kidneys.

However, you should take care not to take more than the recommended dose, or you might experience side effects, some of which can negatively effect the kidneys.

As is the case with any new supplement or substance, start with small doses and monitor how your body reacts. And if you have any medical conditions or concerns, you should seek consultation with your physician.

Jack Kelle

Jack is an entrepreneur, outdoorist, and animal lover with a background in philosophy, psychology, and business. He enjoys music, friends, and family. At RAVE, Jack works as the manager of marketing and content development.