Pre Workout for High Blood Pressure: What You Need to Know

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Steve Hoyles

Steve is a personal trainer, qualified weightlifting coach, gym owner, and writer. With a career spanning since 2004, he has been an influential figure in the fitness industry, guiding thousands of individuals towards achieving their fitness goals.


Pre Workout for High Blood Pressure: What You Need to Know. Man putting pre-workout into a bottle

Over the last decade one of the most popular forms of supplementation has been a pre-workout.

In this blog post we’re going to look at pre workout supplements in more detail.

We’ll explore what they’re made of, what they’re for and whether or not there’s a safe pre workout for high blood pressure.

By the end of the article, you’ll have a lot more knowledge about pre workout supplements. In particular their suitability around high blood pressure.

What is a pre workout?

Pre workouts are a stimulant-based supplement designed to take around 30 minutes before a workout. They’re designed to make you more alert, give you a mental boost and provide more energy throughout the workout.

There’s no single recipe for a pre workout supplement. As a general rule they tend to be very high in caffeine.

At the low end you’d expect 150mg of caffeine, and at the upper end some of them contain as much as 600mg. The rest of the ingredients vary between companies and products.

Common pre workout ingredients include beta alanine, amino acids and creatine.

What are the benefits of a pre workout?

The benefits of a pre workout supplement are clear and well supported by research. They include strength and endurance improvements. 

A study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2016. It was titled ‘The effect of acute pre-workout supplementation on power and strength performance’. 

According to the researchers, the purpose of the study was to determine the acute effects of a caffeine-containing pre-workout dietary supplement on various measures of performance including anaerobic power, upper and lower body power, and upper body strength in recreationally trained males.

They concluded…

Ingestion of the pre-workout dietary supplement led to significant improvements in anaerobic peak and mean power values in comparison to the placebo and baseline treatments.

These conclusions are supported by later research…

In a study from 2020 titled ‘Effects of Pre-Workout Multi-Ingredient Supplement on Anaerobic Performance: Randomized Double-Blind Crossover Study’, subjects underwent three testing sessions separated by a seven-day break.

The participants performed three tests: isokinetic strength, three repetition maximum (3-RM) strength and Wingate (a high intensity cardio blast designed to measure power output).

The researchers concluded… The supplement significantly improves upper and lower body strength and power output in resistance-trained men.

There’s further research in support, but you get the point! Pre workouts are effective at improving physical performance.

Pre workout for high blood pressure

One of the questions people ask is how safe are pre workouts for people suffering with high blood pressure? Is there even a good pre workout for high blood pressure?

Given 48% of American adults suffer with high blood pressure (according to the CDC), there’s a good chance that many pre workout users need to be aware of the risks of using stimulants whilst they have high blood pressure.

Exercise is one of the best drug-free approaches you can take to reducing blood pressure. 
A meta analysis titled Acute Effects of Exercise on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analytic Investigation looked at the impact exercise had on reducing blood pressure.

In the analysis 65 studies were looked at. The researchers concluded that…

In conclusion, regardless of the characteristics of the sample and exercise, the BP reduced in the hours following an acute exercise session.

Why is this relevant?

It shows that many people with high blood pressure will likely have been advised by their physician to undergo a form of regular exercise.

They may well want to boost their exercise performance by taking a pre workout. What is the impact, and is it safe?

Impact of pre workouts and stimulants on blood pressure

In 2018 the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a study titled The acute effects of a multi-ingredient pre-workout supplement on resting energy expenditure and exercise performance in recreationally active females.

One of the findings indicated the following…

…an increase in diastolic blood pressure was observed and individuals with risk factors for cardiovascular disease may need to exercise caution prior to consuming such a product.

This warning is important. It shows the rise in blood pressure caused by pre workouts could be dangerous for users with risk factors.

It’s not the only study that indicates a rise in blood pressure from stimulants. 
In 2019 a study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. It was titled Impact of High Volume Energy Drink Consumption on Electrocardiographic and Blood Pressure Parameters: A Randomized Trial and it concluded that…

Energy drinks significantly prolong the QTc interval and raise blood pressure.

Given one of the primary ingredients in energy drinks and pre workouts is caffeine, the advice is clear.

If you do suffer from high blood pressure, or are at risk of developing the condition you should steer clear from standard pre workout drinks. This is certainly the case before you take medical advice.

Are there any suitable pre workouts for high blood pressure?

Here’s where it gets interesting. 

Not all pre-workouts need to be a caffeine-based stimulant. There’s a molecule called Nitric oxide and it has several performance-enhancing properties. 

The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness published a piece in 2021 titled Nitric oxide and its role in exercise physiology. Here’s what they said about nitric oxide and its properties…

In the past 20 years, nitric oxide has become a milestone in terms of both athlete physiology and pharmacology studies. The most known and remarkable function of NO is its role in controlling vasodilatation, blood rate, and mitochondrial respiration and thus enhance performance. Therefore, it can be argued that exercise and NO have a positive relationship.

So now we’ve established it benefits physical performance, what impact does it have on blood pressure?

A 2014 study titled Acute Effects of an Oral Nitric Oxide Supplement on Blood Pressure, Endothelial Function, and Vascular Compliance in Hypertensive Patients was published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

In the study, patients ingested a supplement that was designed to stimulate the production of nitric oxide. 

Here’s the results…

Nitric Oxide supplementation resulted in a significant decrease of 4 mm Hg in resting systolic blood pressure and a significant decrease of 5 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure from baseline and placebo after 20 minutes. In addition, there was a further statistically significant reduction by 6 mm Hg in both systolic and diastolic pressure after 60 minutes.

This means that there’s potential for nitric oxide supplements to be taken pre workout.

Not only will they enhance your exercise performance, they may also reduce blood pressure at the same time – a double win! It could be the ideal pre workout for high blood pressure.

As always, this is theoretical and you should discuss it with your medical professional before embarking on it as an approach.

Nitric oxide supplements are not the only option for people with high blood pressure, either. Incorporating a low sodium diet helps keep blood pressure within normal levels.

The point is, you might well have a suitable pre workout for high blood pressure option available.

Exercise and high blood pressure

We’ve already established that exercise is a great way to help reduce blood pressure without medication.

Whether you are a cardio fan, a weight training fan or a bit of both, a set of dumbbells always comes in handy, whether you’re a beginner or not. 

At Strong Home Gym we’ve got all kinds of workout plans already written up. They’re perfect to help you achieve your health, fitness and physique goals.

They’re perfect for anyone who trains in either a home gym or commercial gym. If you’re looking for workout ideas, check out this cool training guide.

Embark on a regular exercise routine, eat well and look after yourself and you’ll give yourself the best chance of keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level for the long term.
You might have even found an ideal pre workout for high blood pressure – nitric oxide!

Steve is a personal trainer, qualified weightlifting coach, gym owner, and writer. With a career spanning since 2004, he has been an influential figure in the fitness industry, guiding thousands of individuals towards achieving their fitness goals.

Steve actively contributes to the dissemination of the most up-to-date and accurate strength training advice. As the owner of My Gym (Hazel Grove – UK), his expertise has been recognized in notable publications such as Men’s Health, Kymira Sport, and various other media outlets.

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Chief Editor
Tonya McIntosh

Hello there! My name is Tonya McIntosh, and I’m the Founder and Chief Editor of TGFFitness. I’m also a NASM-certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. With eight years of experience under my belt, I’ve found that one of the most common issues my clients struggle with is remaining consistent.

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