Does Yohimbine Work As A Pre-Workout?

Are you on the hunt for the perfect pre-workout supplement to maximize your gym sessions?

Look no further! Pre-workout supplements have become increasingly popular among individuals passionate about fitness and athletes alike as they offer the potential to enhance energy levels. Optimize performance and transcend one’s limitations.

But amidst this vast sea of options, one ingredient has caught the attention of many: Yohimbine.

You might be wondering, Does Yohimbine work as a pre-workout supplement? Prepare to delve into the depths of this intriguing compound and uncover the truth behind its potential benefits and efficacy in fueling your workouts.

Derived from various natural sources, yohimbine is a compound renowned for its stimulating properties.

With a complex mechanism of action in the body, it aims to ignite your workout regimen by targeting specific receptors and pathways. But can it truly deliver on its promises?

Read on this exploratory journey as we dissect the scientific research surrounding yohimbine’s effects as a pre-workout.

We’ll uncover the claimed benefits, discuss potential side effects, and shed light on whether using yohimbine as a pre-workout supplement is a match made in fitness heaven or a recipe for disaster.

What is Yohimbine and How Does It Work?

Does yohimbine work as a pre-workout

Yohimbine, derived from the bark of the Pausinystalia yohimbe tree and other natural sources [1], has a storied history in traditional medicine and is now making waves in the fitness world.

At its core, yohimbine operates through a fascinating mechanism of action within the body. It primarily acts as an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor antagonist [2]. The alpha-2 adrenergic receptor antagonist’s main function is to suppress inhibitory impulses and activate the sympathetic nervous system.

By doing so, it aims to enhance focus, increase energy levels, and potentially accelerate fat burning.

Yohimbine had a significant role in ancient healing practices for its well-known aphrodisiac qualities and reputed effectiveness in treating different illnesses.

Fast forward to the modern era, and its potential as a pre-workout aid has caught the attention of fitness enthusiasts seeking an extra edge.

Also Read: Can You Take Pre-Workout On An Empty Stomach? Boost Gains?

Does Yohimbine Work as a Pre-Workout Supplement?

Yohimbine can be used as a pre-workout supplement to potentially enhance energy levels and focus. It may also promote fat burning by increasing adrenaline release. Individual reactions might differ, though, so it’s crucial to think about possible negative effects like elevated heart rate and anxiety.

The potential of yohimbine to increase fat burning and support weight reduction is one of the main advantages associated with it.

Research suggests that yohimbine boosts lipolysis and serum-free fatty acid (FFA) levels both during and after exercise when given in modest dosages pre-exercise [3].

It’s crucial to remember that every person will react differently and that the aggregate effect on body composition can be negligible.

One more area of interest is yohimbine’s potential impact on exercise performance. One study states Yohimbine Hydrochloride may enhance strength endurance and improve feelings of motivation, energy, and fatigue [4].

Another research found no statistically significant changes in body mass, muscle mass, or exercise performance indices in professional soccer players who were supplemented with yohimbine and underwent resistance training [5].

Furthermore, yohimbine’s effects on focus and mental acuity have also garnered attention. It has been suggested that yohimbine’s noradrenergic system may heighten alertness and improve cognitive function [6].

However, the extent of these benefits and their impact on workout performance warrant additional research.

Also Read: Expired Pre-Workout: Does Pre-Workout Go Bad?

Benefits and Side Effects of Yohimbine

Here are the potential benefits and side effects of yohimbine.


On the benefits front, yohimbine’s ability to enhance fat burning and weight loss remains one of its most lauded attributes [7].

By targeting alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, yohimbine may facilitate the release of stored fats and increase their utilization during exercise.

This potential lipolytic effect has drawn the attention of individuals seeking to shed excess weight and achieve a leaner physique.

Yohimbine has also been linked to increased blood flow and vasodilation [8], which might affect how well you perform in a workout.

By expanding blood vessels and increasing circulation, yohimbine may enhance nutrient and oxygen delivery to active muscles, potentially improving endurance and recovery.

Side Effects

An accelerated heart rate, high blood pressure, and feelings of anxiety or restlessness are typical adverse effects that are described [9, 10, 11].

These effects can be particularly pronounced in individuals sensitive to stimulants or those who exceed the recommended dosage.

Additionally, yohimbine’s impact on sleep patterns should be considered. Some users have reported disturbances in sleep quality and an increase in insomnia-related symptoms.

Findings suggest that yohimbine can influence the quality and distribution of sleep stages, potentially impacting the overall sleep architecture [12]

It’s critical to use caution while taking yohimbine as a pre-workout if you have a history of sleep issues or are particularly sensitive to stimulants.

Also Read: Does Pre Workout Make You Sweat More? Truth Revealed

Can You Take Yohimbine with Pre-Workout Supplements?

Yohimbine as a pre-workout
Liudmila Chernetska/iStock

When yohimbine is combined with pre-workout products it can potentially enhance the overall impact on energy, focus, and workout performance by creating a synergistic effect.

Caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine are common pre-workout supplements that can improve the advantages of yohimbine and give your exercises an overall boost.

However, caution should be exercised when blending yohimbine with pre-workout formulations. It’s crucial to read product labels carefully and understand the contents to avoid excessive intake of stimulants or overlapping ingredients.

Moreover, individual tolerance and sensitivity to yohimbine and other stimulants can vary significantly. 

Finding the right balance and dosage is critical to reaping the potential benefits without experiencing adverse effects.

The possible drawbacks and hazards of mixing yohimbine with pre-workout supplements must also be considered.

As mentioned earlier, yohimbine itself can induce increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure.

When combined with other stimulants, these effects may become considerably greater, which might be problematic for persons who have cardiac issues or are sensitive to these medications.

Also Read: Why Is Pre-Workout So Expensive?

How to Use Yohimbine as a Pre-Workout: Dosage and Timing Guidelines

Optimizing the potential advantages of yohimbine in your pre-workout regimen while mitigating the risk of adverse effects heavily relies on following appropriate usage guidelines. Let’s delve into the crucial aspects of dosage and timing to ensure optimal results.

When it comes to yohimbine dosage, it’s crucial to start low and gradually increase as tolerated.

Fat burning has been successfully increased at yohimbine doses of 0.2 mg/kg body weight without having a substantial impact on cardiovascular variables like heart rate and blood pressure [13].

Beginning with the lower end of the spectrum allows you to gauge your body’s response and tolerance to the compound before potentially increasing the intake.

Timing is another critical factor to consider. yohimbine is best taken on an empty stomach, as food can interfere with its absorption.

Aim to consume it approximately 30 minutes to one hour before your workout session to allow sufficient time for it to take effect. Though individual responses could differ, keep in mind that it’s best to pay attention to your body and modify the time as necessary.

In addition, it should be emphasized that yohimbine is frequently incorporated into proprietary blends within pre-workout supplements. Consequently, this poses a significant obstacle when attempting to discern the exact dosage of the compound.

In such cases, it becomes crucial to carefully review the product label and consider the overall stimulant content to avoid excessive intake and potential side effects.

Who Should Avoid Using Yohimbine?

To ensure their well-being and take into account their cardiac conditions, individuals affected by issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, or arrhythmias should use yohimbine cautiously.

The compound’s stimulating effects can exacerbate these conditions and potentially lead to adverse cardiovascular events.

Additionally, those with anxiety disorders or a past experience of panic attacks must exercise mindfulness when considering yohimbine. Given its potential to induce restlessness and heighten feelings of anxiety.

The compound’s adrenergic properties may amplify these symptoms and compromise your mental well-being. Seek guidance from a healthcare professional to evaluate the suitability of yohimbine in your case.

Yohimbine may potentially interact with drugs that influence blood pressure, cardiac rhythm, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Combining yohimbine with these medications can result in unpredictable effects and pose significant risks to your health. Always disclose your medication regimen to your healthcare provider to determine potential interactions.

Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should avoid yohimbine due to limited research on its safety in these populations.

The compound’s potential impact on fetal development or infants is not well-established, and it’s prudent to prioritize the well-being of both mother and child by refraining from yohimbine use during these periods.

Alternatives to Yohimbine

If yohimbine isn’t the right fit for your pre-workout regimen, fret not. There are alternative ingredients available that offer similar benefits and cater to diverse preferences. Let’s explore some popular options and compare them to yohimbine.

  1. Caffeine: Caffeine, a frequent element in pre-workout stimulants, boosts energy while also improving attention and endurance. It activates the central nervous system, boosting alertness and lowering the perception of exertion when exercising [14]. However, caffeine’s effects can vary depending on individual tolerance, and excessive intake may lead to jitters or disrupted sleep patterns.
  2. Beta-Alanine: This amino acid aids in reducing muscle fatigue and improving exercise performance [15]. By increasing intramuscular carnosine levels, beta-alanine helps buffer lactic acid accumulation, delaying the onset of muscle fatigue. Paresthesia, a mild tingling feeling that some users may experience, eventually goes away with regular use.
  3. Citrulline Malate: Citrulline malate, which possesses vasodilatory qualities [16], improves blood flow and nourishment delivery to the muscles, increasing endurance and decreasing tiredness. By boosting the creation of arginine, a precursor to nitric oxide, it also promotes vasodilation
  4. Creatine: Creatine increases strength, power, and muscle mass [17]. It has undergone significant investigation and is widely known for its ability to improve performance. It replenishes ATP stores, the body’s primary energy source, promoting optimal performance during high-intensity exercises.
  5. L-tyrosine: L Tyrosine is an essential amino acid that undergoes a transformation process to become the indispensable neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine [18]. L-tyrosine may enhance cognitive function and mitigate the negative impact of stress on performance. It is generally well-tolerated, but individual responses may vary.

Also Read: Can You Mix Creatine With Pre-Workout? Is It Safe?

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Thoughts: Yohimbine as a Pre-Workout Supplement

Yohimbine, derived from natural sources such as the bark of the Pausinystalia yohimbe tree, acts on the body by blocking alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, leading to increased adrenaline release and enhanced fat mobilization

Its historical use in traditional medicine adds a touch of intrigue to its potential fitness-related benefits.

While some research suggests improvements in fat loss, exercise performance, and focus, other studies fail to demonstrate consistent positive effects.

Individual reactions might differ, and elements including dose, timing, and individual metabolism may have an impact on results.

When considering yohimbine supplementation, weighing the potential benefits against the possible side effects is crucial.

Yohimbine may provide advantages like increased energy, fat burning, and attention, but it can also have adverse effects like higher blood pressure, anxiety, and heart rate in vulnerable people.

Additionally, we explored the combination of yohimbine with pre-workout supplements and highlighted the potential synergistic effects and risks involved.

While the combination may enhance overall performance, it requires careful consideration, adherence to recommended dosages, and awareness of overlapping ingredients and stimulant content.

For individuals who should exercise caution or avoid yohimbine altogether, such as those with cardiovascular conditions, anxiety disorders, or individuals taking certain medications, alternative pre-workout ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, creatine, and L-tyrosine offer viable options to achieve performance goals.

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  3. McCarty MF. Pre-exercise administration of yohimbine may enhance the efficacy of exercise training as a fat loss strategy by boosting lipolysis. Med Hypotheses. 2002 Jun;58(6):491-5. doi: 10.1054/mehy.2001.1459. PMID: 12323115.
  4. Williams TD, Boag LE, Helton CL, Middleton ML, Rogers RR, Sternenberg LH, Ballmann CG. Effects of Acute Yohimbine Hydrochloride Ingestion on Bench Press Performance in Resistance-Trained Males. Muscles. 2022; 1(2):82-91.
  5. Sergej M. Ostojic (2006) Yohimbine: The Effects on Body Composition and Exercise Performance in Soccer Players, Research in Sports Medicine, 14:4, 289-299, DOI: 10.1080/15438620600987106
  6. Al-Kuraishy, H. M. and Al-Gareeb, A. I. (2015) “Advanced Central Effects of Yohimbine on the Cognitive Function, Psychomotor Performance Task and Working Memory: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial Study”, Journal of Pharmaceutical Research International, 5(5), pp. 328–335. doi: 10.9734/BJPR/2015/15255.
  7. Kucio C, Jonderko K, Piskorska D. Does yohimbine act as a slimming drug? Isr J Med Sci. 1991 Oct;27(10):550-6. PMID: 1955308.
  8. Cameron OG, Zubieta JK, Grunhaus L, Minoshima S. Effects of yohimbine on cerebral blood flow, symptoms, and physiological functions in humans. Psychosom Med. 2000 Jul-Aug;62(4):549-59. doi: 10.1097/00006842-200007000-00014. PMID: 10949101.
  9. Grossman E, Rosenthal T, Peleg E, Holmes C, Goldstein DS. Oral yohimbine increases blood pressure and sympathetic nervous outflow in hypertensive patients. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 1993 Jul;22(1):22-6. doi: 10.1097/00005344-199307000-00004. PMID: 7690091.
  10. Charney DS, Heninger GR, Breier A. Noradrenergic Function in Panic Anxiety: Effects of Yohimbine in Healthy Subjects and Patients With Agoraphobia and Panic Disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(8):751–763. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790190025003
  11. Goldberg MR, Hollister AS, Robertson D. Influence of yohimbine on blood pressure, autonomic reflexes, and plasma catecholamines in humans. Hypertension. 1983 Sep-Oct;5(5):772-8. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.5.5.772. PMID: 6352483.
  12. Kanno, O., & Clarenbach, P. (1985). Effect of clonidine and yohimbine on sleep in man: Polygraphic study and EEG analysis by normalized slope descriptors. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 60(6), 478-484.
  14. Cappelletti S, Piacentino D, Sani G, Aromatario M. Caffeine: cognitive and physical performance enhancer or psychoactive drug? Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015 Jan;13(1):71-88. doi: 10.2174/1570159X13666141210215655. Erratum in: Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015;13(4):554. Daria, Piacentino [corrected to Piacentino, Daria]. PMID: 26074744; PMCID: PMC4462044.
  15. Milioni, F., Saunders, B., Gualano, B., Muller, T. G., & Zagatto, A. M. (2019). Effect of β-alanine supplementation during high-intensity interval training on repeated sprint ability performance and neuromuscular fatigue. Journal of Applied Physiology.
  16. Jeffrey M. Rogers, Joshua Gills & Michelle Gray (2020) Acute effects of Nitrosigine® and citrulline malate on vasodilation in young adults, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 17:1, DOI: 10.1186/s12970-020-00343-y
  17. Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 18 (2017).

Author Profile

Bruno Morgan


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