The Arnold Schwarzenegger range is relatively new, and caused quite a stir on its launch, as these are the first supplements that the world's most famous bodybuilder has put his name to. Made by market leaders MusclePharm, many products in the Arnold range, including concentrated pre-workout Iron Pump, have been eagerly embraced by the bodybuilding community.
Cellucor probably doesn't have any time travelling assassins, slayers of hostile alien species, or ex-governers of California on staff, but they do produce C4, which is one of the most popular concentrated pre-workouts on the market. Let's see how Arnold's Iron Pump stacks up against the best.
Iron Pump vs C4 Ingredients
C4 has risen to the top of the pack with a solid and comprehensive ingredient list that has the capacity to enhance almost every aspect of a workout.
Muscle performance is boosted by cell buffering beta alanine, which promotes endurance, super concentrated creatine nitrate to enhance muscle volume and pump, and arginine AKG, a powerful nitric oxide booster. L-tyrosine enhances focus, while caffeine and new-generation stimulant synephrine (or bitter orange) provide an energy boost without going overboard. Performance enhancing vitamins and minerals like niacin, vitamin C and B12 round out the formula.
Iron Pump features a similarly comprehensive blend of ingredients that can enhance a workout in a number of ways. Like C4, it contains a blend of muscle building B and C vitamins, and ingredients that enhance both muscle performance and focus.
Arginine nitrate, nitrate rich beetroot extract, ornithine, glycine, agmatine and hawthorn berry boost blood nitrate levels and enhance vasodilation. Like C4, Iron Pump's focus matrix is based around caffeine and l-tyrosine, and also features neuroprotective vasodilator vinpocetine, and choline, which can enhance motor neutrotransmission.
- Winner: Iron Pump. These pre-workouts are similar in that they boost both muscle performance and mental focus, but Iron Pump seemingly has what C4 has and more. C4 is a fantastic formulation which has become the benchmark for competition, but Iron Pump shows greater variety.
Iron Pump vs C4 Dosage
Iron pump may have a greater variety of ingredients, but are included in proprietary blends, so we cannot be completely certain of the dosages of each. There is also some concern over the inclusion of glycine in Iron Pump. While this sweet tasting amino acid is an important component of protein, it can be produced by the body, and is often used as a filler. It is not commonly used as a pump enhancer, so its high position in the proprietary nitric oxide blend is questionable.
On the other hand, C4 has a transparent ingredient list, and at two scoops, most ingredients are well dosed. Although creatine nitrate is claimed to be absorbed many, many times better than monohydrate there is no scientific evidence to show that this is the case. As a result creatine may be underdosed.
- Winner: C4. Neither formulation is perfect, but we can be sure that most of what is in C4 is effectively dosed.
Iron Pump vs C4 Effectiveness
While Iron Pump contains the widest range of ingredients, C4 has a simpler, better dosed formula. In addition, most of the ingredients in C4 have research behind them attesting to this effectiveness, while many of the ingredients in Iron Pump are newer and less proven. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the more information we have about an ingredient, the better the conclusions we can draw.
- Winner: C4. It is further away from the cutting edge than Iron Pump, but science has shown that most of the ingredients are safe and effective.
Iron Pump vs C4 Taste & Mixability
Both of these products dissolve easily into water with minimal stirring or shaking. Iron Pump comes in blue razz, fruit punch, and watermelon. All three of these classic flavours are well received and hide the bitterness of the underlying ingredients well.
Unfortunately, this is no competition for the amazing C4 range, which comes in eight different flavours. Ranging from classic to unique, everyone will find a flavour of C4 to their tastes.
- Winner: C4. Unfortunately Iron Pump didn't have a chance - this is one of the most impressive flavour ranges on the market. We love the variety C4 offers, and we have even written a guide to choosing the best flavour of C4.
Iron Pump vs C4 Price & Value
Both of these concentrated pre-workouts have the same 6g serving size. Arnold Iron Pump comes in a 180g tub, while Cellucor C4 is available in 170g and 350g sizes. Economy size is the way to go with C4, each scoop costing $0.93 from the larger jar and $1.40 from the smaller, while a scoop of Iron Pump will set you back $1.67.
- Winner: C4. On a scoop by scoop basis, C4 is the cheaper pre-workout.
Iron Pump vs C4 Overall Verdict
- Winner: Cellucor C4. With a modern and comprehensive formula that supports both mind and body, you could do a lot worse than Arnold Iron Pump, which stacks up impressively against the most popular pre-workout on the market. At the end of the day, the simpler combination of well dosed, research backed ingredients came out on top. Cycling pre-workouts and mixing up brands can keep your routine fresh and interesting, so our recommendation is to try both Iron Pump and C4 and compare for yourself.