If CT Fletcher promises to bust your sleeves, you’d better believe him.
After all, this is a guy who could probably have a staring contest with the sun and win.
But does Sleeve Buster live up to it’s name?
Today I will be putting the new preworkout from Iron Addicts through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to see how it rates against the industry’s leading preworkout competitors.
No supplement has ever made it out with 5 stars to date. As a guide, most preworkouts finish with 2-3 stars.
So can Sleeve Buster compete with the excellent Sidewalk Kraka, which was released earlier this year and is reviewed here?
In truth, it doesn’t have to.
You see, they work more as a combo than as standalone products.
In its full form, you’d take Sidewalk Kraka as your main preworkout supplement, and use Sleeve Buster as an intra-workout supplement. It’s billed by CT Fletcher as a “pump intensifier” and the ingredients (which we’ll get to) make it very clear why.
But let me make something clear from the outset:
This is the leading preworkout combo in the fitness industry right now.
Yeah, I said it.
Not ‘good’. Not even ‘great’. Leading. As in ‘the best bar none’.
Many of you comment that one of the things you like about my supplement reviews is that I keep it honest and thorough – I’m not affiliated with Iron Addicts, I don’t get paid for saying nice things. I simply say it because it’s true.
In fact, I’m sponsored by Optimum Nutrition.
This stack is just that good.
Let’s take a look at why..
Total Label Transparency
Before I get stuck into the ingredients, I want to give CT a big pat on the bag for the label transparency which is on display across the Iron Addicts brand.
It would have been easy to take the supplement industry’s beaten path of throwing out poor products that rely on hype, and hide the formula behind a bogus ‘proprietary blend’.
Despite the fact they claim this is to ‘protect their formula’, this is really done to hide the fact that a product contains less than the clinical dosages of each key ingredient.
CT Fletcher Sleeve Buster Review
As a standalone preworkout, Sleeve Buster ticks all the necessary boxes of a top stimulant-free option for those who need to train without the effects of ingredients like caffeine and beta-alanine.
Meaning if you train after 8pm, this gives you a good alternative pre which won’t leave you lying in bed with bigger eyes than a character from fucking Frozen.
But in truth, Sleeve Buster comes into it’s own when you combine it with Sidewalk Kraka.
It’s at this stage whereby it transcends from a great non-stim preworkout to a legitimate contender for the best preworkout on the market. To get the absolute most from the product, that’s what I recommend you do.
Let’s take a look at the nutritional information.
Here is a rundown of the key ingredients in Sleeve Buster:
- 6g citrulline malate
Alongside caffeine and beta-alanine, citrulline malate is a key player in any strong preworkout supplement.
Citrulline has been shown to increase muscular pumps, training endurance and recovery speed between sets, making it one of the most useful performance-enhancing substances available from a bodybuilding perspective. (1, 2, 3)
After all, better recovery equals better workouts.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at the true effects of citrulline during a heavy chest workout. From the third set onward, the researchers found that the group of subjects using citrulline were able to perform an average of at least one more rep on every single set!
The key is in the dosage.
To open up the world of benefits citrulline offers, we need to consume quite a large dose otherwise we’re missing out. The recommended dosage to do that is around 6 grams, which means Sleeve Buster hits right on the money with this ingredient.
So why wasn’t citrulline included in Sidewalk Kraka?
Well, this is mainly because it clashes with agmatine, one of the other ingredients in that product. So by throwing it into an intra-workout supplement, you get the full benefits of both.
This was discussed in my review of Sidewalk Kraka.
- 2.5g betaine
Betaine is an often overlooked performance-boosting substance.
While it won’t give you the super focus of caffeine, or the tingly sensation of beta-alanine, it will certainly improve your performance when it comes to the amount of weight you can lift.
You see, as citrulline takes care of additional training endurance, betaine’s main benefit lies in it’s ability to boost explosive strength and power.
A great 2013 study published in the Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition found that a group of trainees supplementing with 1.25 grams of betaine twice daily experienced an average gain of 4lbs in lean muscle mass as well as 7lb fat loss, while also gaining 10% in arm size versus a group of trainees taking a placebo. (4)
In other studies it has also been shown to cause significant boosts in strength and power, as well as delaying the onset of fatigue during power-based training. (5, 6)
Sleeve Buster provides the full clinically proven daily dosage of betaine, at 2.5 grams.
- 1g glycerol powder
Glycerol (aka Hydromax on the label) is capable of increasing the amount of water which can be forced into muscle cells.
As far as Sleeve Buster goes, it’s sole purpose is to improve the muscular pumps you experience in the gym.
A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that the performance enhancing benefits of glycerol are only truly noticeable when training in a dehydrated state (i.e. long distance running), so this is one of the more superficial ingredients in the product, although there’s certainly nothing wrong with the killer pumps you’ll experience from it, and that’s the reason behind it’s inclusion. (7)
- 1g beetroot extract
If you were using preworkouts in the mid-2000’s you’ll be familiar with nitric oxide boosters.
By opening up pathways allowing for greater delivery of oxygen to working muscles, NO boosters were a fantastic way to boost training performance and, despite not being as widely popular nowadays, they remain just as useful.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, beetroot is a popular way of channeling those same pathways, as the nitrate found in beets (or, in this case, beetroot extract) is used to open up nitric oxide pathways inside the body.
But despite it’s useful training advantages, don’t get your hopes up too high with this one.
To really get the maximum training benefits from nitrate we’d need around 450mg per day, but Sleeve Buster contains 1g of beetroot extract at a ratio of just 1% nitrate, meaning you’re getting about 10mg per serving.
Not enough to give you any of the possible training benefits.
Fair play to CT Fletcher, though, for calling it on their nutrition label instead of hiding it behind a proprietary blend!
- 150mg l-norvaline
Which leaves us with norvaline, an amino acid which performs a similar task to valine (which you are probably familiar with if you’ve used BCAA supplements before).
The difference between norvaline and valine, however, is that norvaline cannot be used to build lean muscle tissue.
‘WTF?!’ I hear you cry.
But don’t worry, it has another responsibility.
Instead, it serves the purpose of blocking the enzyme which breaks down arginine. (8, 9)
Meaning that, theoretically at least, it enables you to get more bang for your buck from the large serving of citrulline malate which is included alongside it in every scoop of Sleeve Buster.
I say theoretically because no studies presently exist which test norvaline on human subjects.
In CT Fletcher’s Own Words
Here’s what CT has to say about this product:
“Pumps! Fullness! Growth!! Endurance!! Veins!!
Sleeve Buster, my new non-stim pump formula, gives you the energy, focus, and pumps and veins that literally make your whole body start f**kin’ throbbing with blood.
When I say this is a powder you NEED to take, trust me right here when I say this is one you can’t go without. Sleeve Buster is a part of every damn workout I do.
If you want lasting pumps and increased blood flow for better long term results you need this non-stim pump formula or even better start off your day off with it.”
— RUSS HOWE PTI (@RussHowePTI) August 22, 2017
Does It Deliver?
This is the part where I’m supposed to tear the above paragraph to shreds.
I’m supposed to say it’s nothing more than the typical hype which wraps around the packaging of most preworkout supplements.
All we need are some pictures of jets, and we’re ready to go, right?
Because Sleeve Buster delivers on every promise it makes.
With clinically proven ingredients at research-backed dosage levels, and a label so transparent it could get a second job as a window, you are getting exactly what you read on the tub.
With such high dosages between this and Sidewalk Kraka, however, you might find that this preworkout combo is not suited to everyone.
It’s developed with the same intensity displayed in CT’s YouTube videos, and definitely works best if you train in a similar way – i.e. high intensity, high volume workouts which last upwards of 50 minutes.
For a workout of 45 minutes or less, you simply do not need this much supplemental power, and I’d recommend halving the serving size of each product in that case.
Sleeve Buster – The Final Verdict
Sleeve Buster is a top addition to the steadily growing Iron Addicts range.
It’s commonplace for ‘fitness celebrities’ to put their name on poorly formulated, run-of-the-mill supplements as a means to a quick cash-in, but it’s very pleasing to see CT Fletcher go in the complete opposite direction with his supplement line.
The ingredients and dosages in Sleeve Buster are proven, the product works like a charm and you will not be disappointed in it if you try it.
But how did it do on my deliberately harsh supplement rating system?
The score you see below is a take-home from using the SIdewalk Kraka / Sleeve Buster combo, as this is the way they are designed to be taken, and they work fantastically well together, resulting in the highest rated preworkout combo I have reviewed to date.
If Sidewalk Kraka makes you charge into the gym like Rambo in a field of Vietcong, Sleeve Buster gives you the energy to finish the job.
Where To Buy
You can get Sleeve Buster directly from CT Fletcher here.
- Cormio, L., et al. Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction. Urology. 2011 Jan;77(1):119-22. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2010.08.028.
- Takeda, K., et al. Effects of citrulline supplementation on fatigue and exercise performance in mice. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2011;57(3):246-50.
- Perez-Guisado, J., et al. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.
- Cholewa, J. M., et al. Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone. Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition 10:39, 2013.
- Lee, E. C., et al. Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010; 7: 27.
- Hoffman, J. R., et al. Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009; 6: 7.
- Van Rosendal, S. P., et al. Guidelines for glycerol use in hyperhydration and rehydration associated with exercise. Sports Med. 2010 Feb 1;40(2):113-29. doi: 10.2165/11530760-000000000-00000.
- Chang, C, et al. Arginase modulates nitric oxide production in activated macrophages. Am J Physiol. 1998 Jan;274(1 Pt 2):H342-8.
- Pokrovskiy, M. V., et al. Arginase Inhibitor in the Pharmacological Correction of Endothelial Dysfunction. Int J Hypertens. 2011; 2011: 515047.