Over the years, we’ve used dozens of non-stimulant pre-workouts which are typically formulated to improve performance via increasing bloodflow and oxygen delivery to the muscles which in turn has been shown in numerous studies to have a performance enhancing effect at least when it comes to sustained duration activities such as high repetition weight training or endurance exercise. Whether as a standalone for a late evening workout, or to compliment a stimulant containing pre-workout, these supplements have their place for anyone who wants to get the most out of their training.
As with anything, not all of these products are created equal. Beta alanine, glycerol monostearate, citrulline malate, creatine… all fantastic ingredients with mounds of research behind them, but nothing ground-breaking, and in the case of beta-alanine and creatine, pointless to include in a pre-workout unless you are taking it daily.
What we’ve REALLY been waiting for, is the stim free equivalent to Hydrazine. And, after years and years of waiting, we have it. Ether is the long-awaited non-stim pre-workout booster from Hydrapharm.
Why use Pump Pre-Workout Supplements?
Look, we LOVE stimulant based products such as Hydrazine for delivering a level of intensity and focus that makes weight training more enjoyable and makes it easier to sustain a high level of performance. However, stimulants are not really what is needed for those who participate in very technical sports such as football, nor those who do lots of cardio. Even among bodybuilders, those performing lots of high rep/low rest style training may find it hard to train on stimulants.
For such individuals, a better bet would be to focus on providing the body with nutrients which can improve muscle endurance which is what will most improve performance if you are performing either lots of cardio or finding you are struggling to maintain your performance the longer your workout goes on. Using ingredients which improve bloodflow and oxygenation will translate into better performance gains for such athletes.
Hydrapharm Dropping a Bomb on the Pump Supplements Category
You might think we are being hyperbolic with our title here but as you can see in this photo, not so much...
This lab explosion was not actually caused by a bomb but by Hydrapharm’s obsessive pursuit of wanting to bring something innovative and unique to the pump supplements category rather than hash out the same old formulas every other company does. The bad news when it comes to cutting edge innovation involving the synthesis of ingredients which literally have explosive characteristics, is things can go wrong and this proved to be an expensive mistake. The good news is that Hydrapharm eventually managed to work out how this particular ingredient could be engineered in a way that avoided the possibility of blowing themselves up.
Hydrapharm Ether Revealed
In naming Ether, Hydrapharm sent us a book we had never expected to receive in a million years from a sports nutrition brand called Ignition which went into great detail around how different organic compounds could be used to make rocket propellants.(7) Reading the book, we saw that both ethers and specifically, ethyl nitrates were highly explosive compounds.
Given that the star ingredient in Ether is an ethyl nitrate and that ethers as a class are capable of delivering explosive results, we can see how their new pump supplement came to be called Ether. Now, we will move onto what you have been waiting for – to find out what exactly is the secret ingredient in Ether.
As ever, Hydrapharm have gone above and beyond with their R&D team to use a combination of innovative ingredients never seen before in sports nutrition.
As any real supplement geek will know, formulating an effective supplement goes beyond just using proven ingredients at optimal dosages. How each ingredient compliments the next and works in the formula as a whole is just as, if not more, important. Hydrapharm spent years just tweaking ratios to perfect the Ether experience!
The formula contains 4 ingredients in total. The most exciting, we feel, is Aminoethyl nitrate. This potent nitrate is one we expect to see other brands follow suit with in coming years! Nitrates administered pre-workout can have ergogenic impacts on athletic performance in endurance athletes(6) and this is quite simply THE most potent vasodilator we have seen used in the sports nutrition realm.
Aminoethyl nitrate is part of a novel class of organic nitrates with amino moieties (aminoalkyl nitrates). One of the things that makes AEN so exciting is that its extreme potency is NOT necessarily accompanied by induction of oxidative stress or endothelial dysfunction. It has been recognised in the paper 'Aminoethyl nitrate – the novel super nitrate?' as a step towards the development of better organic nitrates.(5)
The next, and probably most known and understood, ingredient is L-Citrulline. Through the L-arginine/nitric oxide pathway, L-Citrulline has been shown to enhance exercise performance in healthy adults, as well as leading to a reduction in blood pressure, something which many larger bodybuilders may suffer with.(1) Citrulline also has positive effect on the rate of perceived exertion and muscular pain as well as reducing muscular lactate.(2) These benefits make citrulline excellent for muscular endurance and bloodflow during training as well as improved health markers.
Next up, is Inositol Arginine Silicate. This is far superior to any basic arginine supplement, a conditionally essential amino acid supplement which is poorly absorbed in its basic form, hence many brands instead opting for citrulline. Not IAS! In rat studies, arginine silicate inositol complex is absorbed efficiently, raising plasma arginine levels. An important precursor to nitric oxide, which offers benefit to exercise and cardiovascular health.(3)
Glycine Propionyl-l-Carnitine is another phenomenal ingredient which, like many that Hydrapharm use, is a superior version of standard ingredients used by other brands. Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine (GPLC) is a propionyl ester of carnitine that includes an additional glycine component. In the body, it converts to glycine, carnitine and propionic acid. When combined with resistance training, GPLC has been shown to increase nitric oxide levels.(4)
In summary, ingredients work via various pathways to increase nitric oxide production and thereby levels. In doing so, we can expect to see improved blood flow which means more nutrients can be delivered to working muscles, waste can be cleared at a faster rate (for less lactic acid build up and more muscular endurance), and muscles will appear more ‘pumped’ for that aesthetic look we all love.
Who is Ether for?
Often, stim free pre-workouts are geared towards bodybuilders wanting to look better in the mirrors at the gym. While Ether will certainly pump you up by increasing nitric oxide levels, it will also support performance and endurance. Whether you are sprinting, cycling or powerlifting, Ether will help you reach new bests in your workouts.
When and How to Use
Being that Ether is free from stimulants and nootropics, so won’t interfere with sleep, and you cannot build up a tolerance to ingredients, you could use it for all of your workouts year-round if desired!
Ether is perfect to use alone, but you could take with a stimulant pre-workout or caffeine source (like a black coffee or a can of 3D) on days where an extra energy boost is required.
As Ether is an unflavoured power, it can be consumed alone or with a flavoured supplement or even some squash. Drink it around 20-30 minutes before you session begins for best results!
If taking primarily for a pump, remember that plenty of other factors can come into play and affect how effective the supplement is. Be sure you are well hydrated going into and during the session and use and make sure electrolytes are not lacking by salting meals and adding electrolytes to your intra-workout drink if necessary. A symptom of low electrolytes would be cramping during or after sessions.
Finally, something different from a non-stim pump product! Ether sets the standard for stim free supplements going forwards for us. The overall formula is not overcomplicated, but instead focusses on a short list of quality ingredients. We love the feel of this product and love that users can easily add another dimension by stacking Hydrapharm. Tried it? We welcome your reviews!
(1) Figueroa, A., Wong, A., Jaime, S. and Gonzales, J., 2017. Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 20(1), pp.92-98.
(2) Huerta Ojeda, Á., Domínguez de Hanna, A. and Barahona-Fuentes, G., 2019. The effect of supplementation with L-arginine and L-citrulline on physical performance: a systematic review. Nutrición Hospitalaria,.
(3) Proctor, S., Kelly, S., Vine, D. and Russell, J., 2007. Metabolic effects of a novel silicate inositol complex of the nitric oxide precursor arginine in the obese insulin-resistant JCR:LA-cp rat. Metabolism, 56(10), pp.1318-1325.
(4) Bloomer, R., Tschume, L. and Smith, W., 2009. Glycine Propionyl-L-carnitine Modulates Lipid Peroxidation and Nitric Oxide in Human Subjects. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 79(3), pp.131-141.
(5) Bauersachs, J., 2009. Aminoethyl nitrate - the novel super nitrate?. British Journal of Pharmacology, 158(2), pp.507-509.
(6) Lorenzo Calvo, J., Alorda-Capo, F., Pareja-Galeano, H. and Jiménez, S., 2020. Influence of Nitrate Supplementation on Endurance Cyclic Sports Performance: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 12(6), p.1796.
(7) John D. Clark 1972. Ignition: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants.