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How Hard is 5/3/1 on the CNS?

How hard is the 5/3/1 program on the CNS? I’m recovering from adrenal fatigue and want to regain some of the muscle and strength I’ve lost, but I don’t want anything that will be too taxing on the CNS. I was thinking of trying 5/3/1 and limiting (or omitting entirely) any accessory exercises.

I’d appreciate anyone’s thoughts or insights.

almost everything in 5/3/1 is submaximal. so…


I have found 531 to be great for overall well being. I had a tendency to take hard programs and add to them, or always do a finisher, etc… for years. I often felt run down and lost a competitive spark when playing sports. 531 has been great for me, because it focuses on doing lifts submaximally and explosively, has slow and steady progress, and includes mobility/explosive work. When you leave the gym, you feel like you put in the work but don’t feel obliterated. In fact, you feel better the rest of the day which wasn’t true for me when doing some other programs.


Yeah. Most of the volume in almost any variation within the 5/3/1 comes from submaximal work. The whole point is to make progress without driving you to the ground.

So I would say it’s not very taxing to your nervous system if you recover properly and do the program as its written.


It’s not particularly taxing on the CNS. I have found standard linear programs to be much more difficult on my CNS. Not to mention standard linear programs eventually hammer you physically and emotionally as bar speed slows down. 531 keeps you fresh and healthy. I like the Forever book best