Salt Before Workout: All You Need to Know

As humans are mostly made of water, and most gym performance comes from nutrients and supplements that draw water into the muscles, it’s no surprise that many athletes and fitness enthusiasts are now turning to salt as a pre workout supplement.

Salt, also known as sodium chloride if you wanted to get all science about it, is an essential mineral and electrolyte that plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of fluids in our body.

Especially considering that it does indeed help improve muscular function.

But what are the true benefits of salt before a workout, and are there any side effects to increasing your sale intake? The short answer is yes, you need to moderate your salt intake.

But could it be killing your gains in the long term, or is it the best new supplement that everyone already has in their house if taken in the right amount?

In this article we will explore these questions and more. Covering the benefits of salt before workout, salt side effects, as a pre workout, discussing how much salt before a workout is safe, and probably the most important question: does salt give you a bigger pump?

Benefits of Salt Before Workout

1. Maintains Muscle Function

One of the main benefits of salt before a workout is that it can help to maintain muscle function, as highlighted earlier. Sodium is essential for muscle function, as it helps muscles to contract and relax.

Man with hamstring cramp

A lack of sodium can lead to muscle cramps, weakness, and fatigue. Consuming a small amount of salt before a workout can help to maintain muscle function and improve performance.

A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that “sodium supplementation before and during exercise can help to prevent exercise-associated muscle cramps”.

Ensuring your muscles are always functioning at their best will help athletes to workout longer. Ensuring that the point of muscular failure is related to performing as many reps as possible, and not a lack of nutrients, will help the athlete progress at a better pace.

Supplementing with a small amount of salt pre-workout will ensure that they have everything they need to perform at their best.

2. Helps Prevents Dehydration

Dehydrated athlete

Another benefit of consuming salt before a workout is that it can help to prevent dehydration.

Sodium, the primary component of salt, helps to regulate the balance of fluids in our body, and a deficiency of sodium can lead to dehydration. During a workout, sweating can lead to the loss of electrolytes, including sodium, which can affect performance.

Consuming a small amount of salt before a workout can help to replenish these electrolytes, keeping you hydrated and improving your performance.

A study conducted by the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that “sodium supplementation before, during, and after endurance exercise can improve hydration status and endurance performance”.

3. Helps Muscle Recovery

Massage gun massaging quads

Finally, salt could help with muscle recovery as it helps to maintain proper fluid balance in muscle cells, which is important for muscle recovery and repair.

When muscle cells are dehydrated, it can impede the recovery process and lead to muscle soreness.

Supplementing with salt can help to maintain proper fluid balance in muscle cells, which can aid in muscle recovery and prevent muscle soreness after resistance training.

Salt Before Workout Side Effects

Whilst all of the benefits sound good, it’s important to be mindful of just how much salt you’re consuming.

1. Can Cause Dehydration

Whilst we have covered how salt consumption can prevent dehydration, consuming too much salt before a workout can actually cause dehydration.

Sodium helps maintain proper osmotic pressure, which is the balance of fluids between the inside and outside of cells.

When we consume salt, it can help to regulate the amount of water in our cells and prevent dehydration. But consume too much and this can lead to an imbalance of fluids in the body and cause dehydration.

2. Increased Risk of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure reading

Excess salt and sodium can also increase your risk of experiencing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

So, it’s best to consume a moderate amount of salt before your workout and make sure to stay hydrated throughout your workout.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Hypertension found that a high dietary intake of sodium is linked to an increased risk of hypertension. So, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and keep an eye on your salt intake.

So How Much Salt Before Workout?

If you’re interested in experimenting with salt as a pre workout, there are a few ways to go about it.

One popular method is to add a pinch of salt to a glass of water and drink it before a workout.

Another option is to mix a small amount of salt into a sports drink like a lucozade.

Additionally, some pre-workout supplements now include sodium as an ingredient. However it’s important to check the label of any pre-workout supplement to ensure that you are consuming a moderate amount of salt.

And try not to do both, drinking pre workout and adding salt to your water beforehand. As this can lead to an over indulgence of salt and could put you at risk of the previously mentioned side-effects.

The ideal amount of salt to consume before a workout will vary depending on the individual. Generally, a pinch of salt, or about ¼ teaspoon, is a good starting point.

However it’s important to monitor your body’s response and adjust the amount of salt accordingly. And be mindful of the total amount of salt that you consume in a day.

As always, consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that “a moderate intake of sodium, about 500-700mg, is appropriate for most athletes”.

WARNING: It’s important to note that individuals with certain health conditions such as hypertension or kidney disease may need to limit their salt intake and should consult with a healthcare professional before using salt as a pre-workout supplement.

Does Salt Give You a Pump?

As for the question on everyone’s mind: “does salt give you a pump?”. The answer, unfortunately, is no. Sorry to all you pump chasers out there.

Salt alone will not give you a pump, or even a bigger pump, but it can help with hydration and muscle function during the workout which can help with muscle pump.

You see, the pump is a temporary condition caused by the accumulation of blood in the muscle tissue and the harder you work, and the more hydrated you are, the bigger your pump.

Salt and carbs all help to draw water into the muscles. And your high rep sets will help to push more blood towards the target muscle.

But salt alone? That’s not the magic pump bullet you’re looking for. It can help, sure. But more salt will not lead to bigger pumps.


In short, salt can have benefits as a pre-workout supplement, but it’s important to consume a moderate amount and stay hydrated throughout your workout. And to ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk of any hypertension or strokes, consult with a doctor first to make sure an increase in salt isn’t going to cause you any issues.

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Mike Julom, ACE CPT

Mike is an ACE Certified PT and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. He is an avid lover of all sports. Basketball, tennis, athletics, volleyball, soccer, squash, golf, table tennis, even darts, you name it! He's a very active CrossFit athlete and has been WOD'ing for over 7 years. With such an intense fitness regime, Mike has learned to take care of his body physically, nutritionally, and spiritually. Mike founded ThisIsWhyImFit as a way to share his vast knowledge of exercises, diets, and general fitness advice.

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