Best Muscle-Building Supplements to Accelerate Growth and Maximize Growth Potential

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How to Build Muscle | Muscle-Building Nutrition | Muscle-Building Supplements | Hypertrophy Training | Strength Training | Chest Workouts | Back Workouts | Arm Workouts | Shoulder Workouts | Leg Workouts

Despite what some people may tell you, building muscle is hard work. Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced athlete with years of lifting, there comes a point when you may need an extra edge to get to the next level. Let's look at some of the best muscle-building supplements on the market that can help shatter your plateaus and uncover your maximum muscle growth potential.

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The Best Muscle-Building Supplements - Our Top Picks

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A Quick Look at Muscle-Building Supplements

Since early Greek times, athletes and warriors scoured their environment for herbs and ingredients to help enhance their recovery and performance. Since then, commercialization and extravagant claims have made it harder to discern between hype and legitimate, science-backed muscle-building supplements. The truth is that no single pill or powder will directly trigger muscle growth; solid, effective muscle-building supplements create an optimal environment for muscle development to occur in your body.

The best supplements are designed to help enhance aspects of our ability to:

  • Absorb nutrients
  • Meet protein demands
  • Enhance workout performance
  • Increase power output
  • Accelerate intra-workout and post-workout recovery
  • Protect against muscle breakdown
  • Increase protein synthesis

Developing the best muscle-building supplement strategy can take significant research. There simply isn't a single product that provides all these muscle-building benefits. However, it's a great opportunity to build a supplement stack tailored to your individual needs. To help shorten the research curve, we've compiled a list of some of the most effective muscle-building supplements currently on the market and how each one aids in muscle development.

Types of Muscle-Building Supplements

Muscle-building supplements come in many forms. Let's examine some of the different types of muscle-building supplements and examine situations when they would be most beneficial.

Creatine

Creatine is an amino acid located primarily in your muscles and the brain. Primarily derived from your diet, a creatine supplement can help increase creatinine levels and enhance its benefits, including short- and long-term muscle growth.(1) Creatine is one of the most well-researched muscle-building supplements currently on the market. Studies have shown adults of all ages and backgrounds may experience noticeable strength and muscle gains through regular use.(2)

This supplement plays a major role in proper amino acid absorption, which is important for both muscle performance and overall health.(3)

Protein

Protein is the building block of muscle within the body. Not only are muscles made up of proteins called myofibrils, but protein is also required to preserve muscle and facilitate the growth of new muscle tissue.(4)

Proper protein intake has been linked to optimized skeletal muscle hypertrophy and performance.(5) Most people will incorporate a workout component to growing their muscles. Something like hypertrophy training will require adequate protein to allow the muscle to fully recover and grow.

Protein supplements provide an efficient way to make sure you achieve your ideal protein requirements. In order to achieve muscle growth, you will need to exceed your minimum protein requirement. This can be hard to do through diet, especially for those that are also trying to keep body fat percentage low by eliminating as many excess carbs and fats as possible.

The use of a protein supplement can help foster additional muscle growth while preserving existing muscle at the same time.

HMB

This supplement was traditionally used in treating muscle wasting in those suffering from cancer and HIV.(6) For those looking to build muscle, incorporating HMB may increase exercise-induced gains in things like muscle size, strength, and lean body mass.

HMB has been shown to reduce muscle damage from exercise, improve aerobic performance, and speed up recovery post-workout. Some research shows HMB may help reduce exercise-induced muscle mass breakdown and increase muscle protein synthesis.(7)

Although this is naturally produced by the body, there may be a host of underlying conditions that cause levels to drop. Taking an HMB supplement regularly may help bring HMB levels back to ideal levels or enhance its benefits during muscle-building. It's a supplement that can improve the quality and effectiveness of your workouts.

Testosterone Boosters

Proper levels of testosterone are important for a lot of bodily functions. When it comes to muscle growth, testosterone plays a vital role in muscle mass and muscle protein synthesis. The problem is that testosterone levels go down as we get older. In one study, men between the ages of 35 and 40 observed a drop in testosterone of 1% to 3% per year.(8)

Low testosterone can also produce symptoms such as chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, and poor recovery, which can hamper muscle-building efforts in the gym, as well.(9) As an alternative to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), testosterone boosters in the form of oral supplements can help to bring testosterone back to normal levels. While these supplements do not affect T-levels directly, they help facilitate other processes within the body that trigger a testosterone-producing response. These kinds of supplements can help individuals who are sedentary or are in high-stress lifestyles move toward normal testosterone production.

Testosterone boosters work best when they are paired with a healthy diet and appropriate physical activity.

Weight Gainers

Studies have shown a strong correlation between calorie intake and skeletal muscle growth. In nearly every case, you will need to be in a caloric surplus in order for your body to enter into muscle growth. In fact, having excess calories can even yield an anabolic (growing) effect on muscles independent of strength training.(10)

Weight gainers are an efficient way to increase your caloric intake in addition to your normal diet. Athletes or physique competitors who find it hard to stay in a surplus will find this supplement very useful.

BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids are found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat, and dairy products. There are 20 kinds of amino acids in the body that makeup thousands of proteins.

BCAAs play an important role in muscle growth. The amino acid leucine activates a bodily pathway that stimulates muscle protein synthesis.(11) This supplement's ability to aid in recovery helps your body get the most out of future workouts.(12) Overall, BCAAs are a great low-cost supplement with massive muscle-building benefits.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps increase your muscle's carnosine stores, reducing fatigue during intense exercise.(13) Research shows beta-alanine can improve both weightlifting and endurance performance and increase muscle growth. During workouts, a major contributor to muscle fatigue is the buildup of acid within the muscle. Beta-alanine helps to reduce the speed of acid accumulation in your muscles, delaying fatigue.(14)

The result is that you are able to perform more work during your workouts, promoting greater muscle hypertrophy which can result in increased muscle growth.

Pre-Workouts

Pre-workout supplements are a great way to increase the amount of work you put into your muscle-building workouts. Normally taken 15-30 minutes before the activity, they are made up of a variety of ingredients, including the ones we've mentioned earlier. While different brands will approach their formulations differently, they will often be a combination of ingredients that have been shown to reduce muscle fatigue, shorten recovery, and improve muscle protein synthesis.

Multivitamins

A lot of people who are interested in muscle growth spend a lot of time focused on macronutrients such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. However, just as important are micronutrients—vitamins and minerals that are important for nearly every process that takes place in our bodies, including muscle growth.

In fact, studies show a correlation between inadequate micronutrient levels and poor muscle health.(15) It can be hard to make sure we are getting the right nutrients from a healthy diet alone. A multivitamin can be a great way to ensure your body has what it needs to continue growing.

Collagen

Many people think of collagen as something that helps with skin, hair, and nail health. It turns out that it can also be instrumental in the muscle growth process. Collagen, a fibrous protein, is an important component of connective tissue and helps keep the body's cells together. Unfortunately, collagen levels can decrease due to external stressors, underlying medical conditions and age. Besides affecting hair and nails, this drop in collagen can have negative consequences for muscle growth, as well.

The good news is that there is data that shows a connection between collagen peptide supplementation and improved body composition and muscle strength.(16) Regular use of a collagen supplement may be able to fill gaps left by lower collagen production within the body.

Fiber

Proper amounts of fiber in our diets play an important role in our digestive health. However, fiber may have the indirect benefit of improving muscle growth, as well. When our bodies have a good amount of fiber, it helps to regulate our blood sugar levels which is largely done through the release of insulin.(17) Research shows a connection between insulin and muscle protein synthesis.(18)

Taking a fiber supplement can help fill the gaps left by your diet to help facilitate an environment conducive for muscle growth. Besides its physiological benefits, taking fiber can provide a sense of fullness which can be helpful when weight lifting or operating on a strict diet.

Protein - Ritual Daily Shake 18+

Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake

Specs

  • Dosage: 30g (1 scoop)
  • Ingredients: Organic pea protein
  • Form: Powder

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Protein intake is a key component of muscle growth. Especially important after heavy lifting sessions, protein needs to be readily available to be synthesized into the muscle fibers for repair and growth. Careful protein selection may be the most important of all the supplements on this list. If you aren't careful, you may fall for the marketing hype that promises results but underdelivers with poor-quality ingredients that can cause negative side effects such as gas, bloating, and overall discomfort.

High-quality protein that's also good for the environment, Ritual's Daily Shake 18+ is redefining the way we look at high-quality, sustainable, muscle-building supplements. This pea protein is soy-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and formulated with non-GMO ingredients. As a result, this protein powder was designed to be the least irritating protein delivery system on the market.

What We Like

  • 100% traceable, natural ingredients
  • Loaded with 12g of amino acids
  • Aids in satiety, keeping you more full for longer
  • Tested to be free of heavy metals and over 250 banned substances
  • Popular vanilla flavor
  • Ideal for those sensitive to dairy or who need a vegan-friendly option

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Does not provide an advantage over high-quality whey protein

Who Should Try It

  • Individuals who would like a muscle-building protein that is high quality and gluten and lactose free
  • Those who need a protein that is gentle on the digestive system

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • People who are looking for a budget-friendly muscle-building protein

BUY: Ritual Daily Shake 18+

Pre-Workout - Xwerks Ignite

XWERKS Ignite Pre-Workout

SPECS

  • Dosage: 10g (1 scoop)
  • Ingredients: L-Citrulline Malate 2:1, L-Tyrosine, CarnoSyn Beta Alanine, Caffeine, DMAE, Rhodiola
  • Form: Powder

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Pre-workouts can be a great tool for muscle growth as long as they are used in the correct way. Unfortunately, an alarming number of pre-workouts on the market are filled with various chemicals and stimulants that can have negative long-term effects on your health.

It's important to find a brand with a solid track record that produces a high-quality pre-workout.

Ignite pre-workout by XWERKS is a great option because it cuts out harmful chemicals and stimulants and replaces them with science-backed ingredients that help on multiple fronts.

Ignite has 1.5 grams of beta-alanine, which has been shown to help reduce the rate of acid buildup in muscles. This lets you do more work before tiring which can facilitate greater muscle hypertrophy.(19) Ignite contains ingredients that may also promote muscle growth during the recovery phase.

This pre-workout contains 150mg of caffeine which is the equivalent of one and a half cups of coffee. Combined with 3,000mg of vitamin B12, Ignite provides consistent focus and energy that minimizes the crash that comes from other pre-workouts with excessive stimulants.

The addition of nootropics—supplements that provide mood and cognitive boosting functions—help to provide sustainable energy that can last several hours after your workout. If you've been in a muscle-building phase for an extended period, it might be harder to keep focus during workouts and regulate a positive mood. Ignite has been shown to help on both fronts.

What We Like

  • Includes nootropics to boost focus
  • Ingredients that may increase muscle growth and repair

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

Who Should Try It

  • People looking for an extra boost in focus and performance in their muscle-building workouts
  • Those who want a pre-workout that utilizes nootropics as opposed to harmful stimulants

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • Individuals who do not respond well to stimulants such as caffeine


BUY: Xwerks Ignite

Creatine - Kaged Muscle Creatine HCl

Kaged Muscle Creatine HCl

SPECS

  • Dosage: 750mg (1 scoop)
  • Ingredients: Creatine Hydrochloride
  • Form: Powder

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One of the most researched, cost-effective supplements for muscle growth and performance, creatine has been a staple for bodybuilders and performance athletes for decades. In adding muscle, creatine has been shown to improve strength, develop lean muscle mass, and accelerate intra-workout recovery. In practice, creatine helps grow lean muscle by allowing us to lift more for longer periods with less rest between sets.

Kaged Muscle's Creatine HCI makes this list over creatine monohydrate because of its increased solubility and absorption. With the addition of the hydrochloride group (HCl), creatine HCI provides the same benefits while decreasing traditional side effects like bloating and puffiness. Kaged Muscle's version sets itself apart due to its amazing ability to mix in water. No more gritty sediment at the bottom of your shaker cup!

What We Like

  • Patented formulation made with top ingredients
  • Capsule and powder options
  • Easy digestion
  • Highly water soluble
  • No loading phase required

What We Don't Like

  • Artificial sweeteners used in flavored option
  • Lemon lime flavor can be too sour for some

Who Should Try It

  • Individuals looking for a cost-effective supplement that aids in building lean muscle
  • Those looking for a muscle-building supplement that has a low caloric impact

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • People with kidney disease, high blood pressure, or liver disease should consult a medical professional before considering creatine of any kind.

BUY: Kaged Muscle Creatine HCI

Collagen - Gainful Collagen

Gainful Collagen

SPECS

  • Dosage: 5g or as recommended
  • Ingredients: Collagen
  • Form: Powder

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Collagen isn't just for promoting healthy hair and nails, this powerful protein is also vital in strengthening connective tissues like tendons and ligaments while promoting elasticity. In essence, collagen holds everything together, even when it comes to our muscles. Healthy amounts of collagen are also important for muscle recovery.(23)

Similar to testosterone, collagen production decreases as we age. This can also be accelerated by disease and increased levels of hormones, including cortisol. If you think low collagen is getting in the way of muscle growth, using a collagen supplement like Gainful Collagen may be a great solution. In terms of quality, it's one of the cleanest we've tested. Grass-fed, non-GMO, gluten and dairy-free, Gainful's collagen comes with no added sugar, which is important if you're watching calorie intake.

The advantage of Gainful compared to some of its competitors is its tailored approach to supplements. On their website, you are able to get a personalized "stack" of supplements that are customized to your unique situation. It's not bots, either. Their supplements are personalized by a human-registered dietician. While it's not essential, this unique approach is a nice perk.


Collagen and other protein powders are notorious for being hard to mix. Gainful collagen has fixed this problem by developing a powder that blends into any liquid (even cold ones) with just a few shakes or turns of a spoon.

What We Like

  • Easy to mix
  • Supplements can be tailored by a dietitian and shipped to your door

What We Don't Like

  • More expensive than some competitors

Who Should Try It

  • People searching for a collagen supplement that can help with muscle growth
  • Those looking for a tailored approach to their supplements

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • People who are prone to developing kidney stones should consult a doctor before using

BUY: Gainful Collagen

HMB - Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

SPECS

  • Dosage: 1 scoop (7-9.9g depending on flavor)
  • Ingredients: HMB, creatine monohydrate, vitamin D
  • Form: Powder

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The second creatine supplement to appear on our list, Transparent Lab's Creatine HMB, is another important variant of basic creatine found in the gym bags of many athletes and fitness competitors. In a series of studies that included a sample size of over 200 athletes, creatine paired with beta-Hydroxy beta-methyl butyric acid (HMB) was demonstrated to dramatically increase strength and improve high-intensity exercise performance.(26)

Aside from its direct effects on lean muscle mass development, creatine HMB also aids you in performing more work during each workout. The more our muscles are put to work, the greater our exposure to muscle hypertrophy.

Transparent Labs' formulation has solved many of the absorption problems other creatine HMB products have encountered. In another study, researchers witnessed a large segment of subjects who saw no significant difference in performance or muscle growth when using creatine HMB.(27) The problem? A vitamin D deficiency. Transparent Labs' version has spared no expense and includes vitamin D to ensure absorption for its users.

What We Like

  • Serving size meets the requirements for a clinically effective dose
  • The addition of vitamin D increases the probability of effectiveness
  • Great for older individuals
  • HMB amplifies the effects of creatine while mitigating side effects

What We Don't Like

  • Can be ineffective in individuals who are extremely vitamin D deficient
  • Mixed reviews on the flavors

Who Should Try It

  • Individuals that are looking for a cost-effective creatine supplement to build muscle
  • People who need a low-calorie supplement to help develop lean muscle mass

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • People with pre-existing conditions such as kidney disease

BUY: Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

Fiber - Gainful Fiber

Gainful Fiber

SPECS

  • Dosage: 5g or as recommended
  • Ingredients: Fiber
  • Form: Powder

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The presence of fiber is an essential component of overall health. Aside from improving the quality of bowel movements, proper fiber intake can help with muscle growth, as well. According to several studies, the presence of higher levels of insulin—a blood sugar-regulating hormone can promote increased muscle growth.(24)

Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels, improve gut health, and balance appetite. This can result in an ideal environment for muscle growth. When we are trying to build muscle, it's important to eliminate waste and toxins. Proper amounts of fiber can help make sure that waste is removed from the body.

Gainful Fiber is a very clean supplement that is made up of fiber derived from heart-healthy oats. This form of fiber is an ideal source to improve the absorption of important minerals, which can, in turn, nourish muscles and promote growth.

This brand is focused on delivering a tailored approach to its supplements. You'll have access to a registered dietician that can make suggestions and adjustments to your fiber intake based on your specific situation. While you could do this on your own, it's nice to have an expert in your corner if you need.

We like how easy this fiber supplement is to mix. Other brands tend to clump if you don't mix them fast enough. Gainful Fiber easily blends into any liquid you use, even if it's on the colder side. Overall, this is a great fiber that can also promote muscle growth.

What We Like

  • Mixes easily into any liquid without clumping
  • Supplement orders can be adjusted by a dietitian before being shipped

What We Don't Like

  • Can be expensive depending on how you order it

Who Should Try It

  • People looking for a fiber supplement that promotes muscle growth
  • Individuals who want a fiber that is tasteless and can mix into any liquid

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • People taking certain medications should not take a fiber supplement

BUY: Gainful Fiber

Testosterone Booster - XWERKS Rise

Xwerks Rise

SPECS

  • Dosage: 2 capsules
  • Ingredients: Tongkat Ali Powder, Shilajit Extract, BioPerine, Boron
  • Form: Capsules

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Testosterone is essential to a wide range of functions that take place in our body. Healthy levels of testosterone also have a positive impact on body composition and muscle growth. The problem is that testosterone levels can fall to below optimal levels as we age.(20)

Factors such as stress, disease, and low amounts of physical activity can all drive testosterone levels even lower. This can also signal increases in estrogen and cortisol. A testosterone booster can be a great option for people looking to bring their T levels up to healthy levels to promote muscle growth.

Rise by XWERKS is an all natural testosterone booster that is formulated to help bring balance to a range of hormones. Besides helping to raise testosterone levels, the ingredients in Rise may also help lower estrogen and cortisol, two hormones that can hamper muscle growth.

Rise uses ingredients that are not common in other testosterone boosters such as Tongkat Ali - an extract of Eurycoma longifolia. A study showed that supplementing with this ingredient produced significant improvements in testosterone levels of men who suffered from hypogonadism—a condition where little to no hormones are produced.(21)

Other ingredients Shilajit, Boron and Zinc round out this unique, science-backed formulation. If you feel that lagging muscle growth might be caused by low testosterone levels, using a testosterone booster like Rise may be worth considering.

What We Like

  • Includes ingredients that may boost testosterone levels
  • All-natural

What We Don't Like

  • Cost per serving is expensive

Who Should Try It

  • People seeking to address low testosterone
  • Those looking to regulate estrogen and cortisol levels in addition to boosting testosterone

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • Anyone who may be allergic or have an underlying condition

BUY: Xwerks Rise

Weight Gainer - Transparent Labs BULK

Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout

SPECS

  • Dosage: 22.9g
  • Ingredients: Citrulline malate, beta-alanine, BCAAs, vitamin B12, betaine anhydrous
  • Form: Powder

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Developed by Transparent Labs, this potent formulation has the added benefit of promoting lean muscle growth. The company started due to the founder's frustration with a lack of accountability and transparency in the supplement industry. Transparent Labs develops its products with transparent, research-backed formulations to combat this.

One of the only pre-workouts specifically designed for muscle growth, BULK departs from the industry's status quo by including testosterone-boosting ingredients like vitamin D, while the nitric oxide boosters in this pre-workout enhance performance. In other words, it helps you get the most out of your sets, facilitating muscle hypertrophy.

What We Like

  • Great flavor options
  • Uses natural sweeteners
  • Clean, high-quality ingredients
  • Many ingredients meet minimum effective dosing requirements
  • Formulated to enhance muscle growth
  • High concentration of nootropics to aid in focus and drive
  • Cycling off is not required

What We Don't Like

  • Pricier than other pre-workouts on the market
  • Some customers reported inconsistent taste from one order to the next

Who Should Try It

  • Those looking for an efficient way to reach a caloric surplus
  • Individuals who have a hard time consuming enough calories to maintain their health goals

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • People trying to lose weight and who require a caloric deficit

BUY: Transparent Labs BULK

BCAAs - Cellucor Alpha Aminos Performance BCAAs

Cellucor Alpha Aminos Performance BCAAs

SPECS

  • Dosage: 12.7g
  • Ingredients: BCAAs, proprietary amino acid complex
  • Form: Powder

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Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) boast an extensive list of benefits for health and exercise. Regarding muscle growth, BCAAs have two major superpowers: protecting lean muscle tissue and promoting muscle growth by initiating muscle protein synthesis.(2)

When taken before a workout, BCAAs can increase your muscle's force output, maximizing the effectiveness of each set. BCAAs act as a reserve fuel source that prevents your muscles from tapping into their internal amino acid reserves. Think of it as an insurance policy for your muscles. Taking BCAAs post-workout can be one of the best supplements for muscle growth.

We've highlighted Cellucor's Alpha Amino Performance BCAAs because they deliver the maximum number of amino acids while eliminating many of the fillers and artificial ingredients of other products on the market. Cellucor Alpha Aminos boasts one of the highest doses of L-leucine (2,500 milligrams), which is considered the most important amino acid for initiating muscle protein synthesis. Alpha Aminos Performance BCAAs are the preferred choice among bodybuilders and performance athletes with their high flavor rating, zero calories, and minimal use of artificial sweeteners.

What We Like

  • 14 amino acids
  • More L-leucine per dose than many competitors
  • Amplifies protein synthesis response during workouts
  • Helps preserve muscle

What We Don't Like

  • Uses an artificial sweetener (unflavored is sucralose-free)
  • Premium-priced product

Who Should Try

  • Those who need a supplement to help preserve muscle tissue and spur additional muscle growth

Who Shouldn't Try

  • Anyone who is pregnant or nursing should consult a doctor before using this kind of product

BUY: Cellucor Alpha Aminos Performance BCAAs

Multivitamin - Ritual Essential for Men Multivitamin 18+

Ritual Essential for Men Multivitamin 18+

SPECS

  • Dosage: 2 Vegan capsules
  • Ingredients: Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Folate, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Magnesium
  • Form: Capsules

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When it comes to muscle growth, macronutrients such as protein, fats, and carbohydrates play an important role. However, micronutrients—essential vitamins and minerals—are just as important to both your body composition and overall health.(22)

As I mentioned earlier, a prolonged micronutrient deficiency can severely interfere with muscle growth and strength. Gaps in nutrition can wreak havoc on immune function and recovery, both important for increased muscle. Modern diets make it difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. It's for this reason many people turn to a multivitamin to help fill in the gaps.

Ritual's multivitamin is a great option because it overcomes key challenges that most multivitamins run into—absorption and bioavailability. Ritual's delayed-release capsule design prevents its contents from being opened before it has time to be absorbed by the body.

Ingredient transparency is another thing that sets Ritual apart. Each major ingredient that goes into the bottle can be traced back to its origin. With traceable, all-natural micronutrients that are also in a highly-bioavailable form, the body can put them to work quickly with little waste.

Even with the higher price tag, Ritual's Essential for Men fills a unique space in the muscle-building arena that may be worth considering.

What We Like

  • Ingredients are high quality and traceable
  • Delayed-release capsules improve absorption
  • Pills are easy to swallow

What We Don't Like

  • Costly

Who Should Try It

  • People looking to fill any gaps in their nutrition
  • Those looking for a premium multivitamin that can supplement a healthy diet and muscle-building

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • Individuals looking for a less expensive alternative


BUY: Ritual Essential for Men Multivitamin 18+

Beta-Alanine - Swolverine Beta-Alanine

Swolverine Beta-Alanine

SPECS

  • Dosage: 5g
  • Ingredients: Beta-alanine
  • Form: Powder

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In a nutshell, beta-alanine helps our muscles work at maximum strength for longer periods of time. When performing exercises, this non-essential amino acid will help ward off fatigue by counteracting lactic acid build-up.(3) The result is longer sets with more reps. The seemingly small boost in delayed muscle fatigue you get from beta-alanine can add to significant gains over time when added up over several weeks and hundreds of sets.

Beta-alanine from Swolverine crushes it when it comes to a high-quality muscle-building supplement that is safe for long-term use. Swolverine has opted to build its product using CarnoSyn. To get an idea of its quality, this patented beta-alanine has become the only one in its class to gain the coveted New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

We appreciate that it's unflavored and can be mixed with any of your other protein shakes or BCAAs, reducing the number of liquids you consume. You get what you pay for, and while Swolverine's offering may not be cheap, it packs an astounding 5 grams of beta-alanine per serving.

What We Like

  • Recognized by the FDA the only beta-alanine to gain NDI status
  • 5g per serving, nearly double its competitors
  • Backed by 55 clinical studies

What We Don't Like

  • More expensive than competitors
  • Only has an unflavored option

Who Should Try It

  • Those looking for a muscle-building supplement that is research-backed by over 55 clinical studies
  • People who need a high dosage of beta-alanine

Who Shouldn't Try It

  • People who do not want to experience paraesthesia—tingling sensations in their extremities which can happen when consuming more than 800mg(4)

BUY: Swolverine Beta-Alanine

What to Look for When Shopping for Muscle-Building Supplements

Many supplement companies spend millions of advertising dollars getting consumers to purchase overhyped ingredients that underdeliver. The good news is that you don't have to fall for outlandish claims if you keep a few things in mind.

Ingredient Quality

Not all ingredients are equal. Always ensure that your supplements are manufactured with high-quality components. Some of the products on our list are even made with FDA-approved variations.

Formulation Transparency

Be wary of products boasting proprietary blends without disclosing their contents. This is often a marketing tactic to hide underdosing or poorly-sourced ingredients. Supplements that have something truly proprietary will have invested in patenting it.

Proper Dosage

Make sure your muscle-building supplement's serving size offers the proper dosage to be effective (minimum effective dose). Some companies are guilty of under-dosing, causing their customers to essentially pay money for zero benefits.

Backed by Research

Products with science-backed ingredients stand head and shoulders above other products that make unverified claims.

FAQs About Muscle-Building Supplements


Which supplement is best for muscle gain?

The answer to this question will differ depending on training experience, genetics, and goals. Regarding muscle building, your supplements may also vary depending on if you're doing it for aesthetic or strength purposes.

With that in mind, the best muscle-gain supplements should align with helping in your greatest point of need. Is lactic acid build-up getting in the way of reaching muscle failure in your sets? Look into investing in a beta-alanine supplement. Have a hard time meeting your protein requirements? Consider a couple of scoops of a protein blend. The bottom line is to evaluate what your process has been like so far and identify areas that may be holding you back. Once you've figured it out, refer to our list above and see what supplement could fill that gap for you.

What helps build muscle fast?

According to a review published by the National Center for Biotechnology and Information (NCBI), adult males can healthily gain 0.5-2 pounds of muscle per month.(25) This varies based on your genetics and how long you've been training, however. The health community generally agrees that the goal of building muscle fast should be focused on a plan to realize your peak growth potential.

To do this, you must ensure the primary components are in place for growth. Building muscle requires:

  • Resistance training: Consider a muscle-building program such as hypertrophy training.
  • High-protein diet: As a general rule, aim for 0.7-1g of protein per pound of body weight.
  • Caloric surplus of 200-500 calories.
  • Proper recovery through nutrition, supplementation, and sleep.

Do muscle growth supplements work?

When synergized with proper nutrition, caloric intake, and recovery, muscle growth supplements can be a great way to maximize your muscle-building potential. While they may not directly grow your muscles, the supplements we've listed aid the key processes within your body that produce muscle growth. As a general rule, supplements are not a replacement for hard work and a healthy lifestyle, they are amplifiers and enhancers for a sound training strategy and good habits.

Is there a pill to build muscle?

Unfortunately, there is no single pill that will miraculously grow your muscles. Some supplements facilitate an optimal environment for your body to experience muscle growth faster. You can't go wrong with any of the supplements on this list as long as you implement them consistently and pair them with a solid muscle-building workout routine (strength training) and adequate caloric intake.

Supplement timing is another important factor. Reading the recommended usage for each of your products will help ensure they are delivered at the moment when your body will benefit the most. When it comes to supplements, more does not equal better. Resist the urge to use more than the recommended amount. Doing this will diminish your muscle growth returns while draining your bank account simultaneously.

How to Build Muscle | Muscle-Building Nutrition | Muscle-Building Supplements | Hypertrophy Training | Strength Training | Chest Workouts | Back Workouts | Arm Workouts | Shoulder Workouts | Leg Workouts

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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About the Author

David Fang

David Fang started his career by studying medicine at the State University of New York. Today, he works as a competitive CrossFit athlete, Olympic lifter, and fitness consultant who knows that the key to peak performance starts with rock-solid mental resilience and psychology. David has worked with coaches and athletes from the University of Louisville and Duke University to aid in building a powerful mind-body connection.

See More from David

David Fang started his career by studying medicine at the State University of New York. Today, he works as a competitive CrossFit athlete, Olympic lifter, and fitness consultant who knows that the key to peak performance starts with rock-solid mental resilience and psychology. David has worked with coaches and athletes from the University of Louisville and Duke University to aid in building a powerful mind-body connection.

See More from David

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