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Lower Body Days too Taxing

Hi guys,
I have been following Wendler’s 5/3/1 system for a little more than 1 year now and I find the lower body days excessively taxing for my CNS, so much that I am mentally drained for at least 2 hours after the training.
My lower body training days consist of:

  • 5 sets of squat or deadlift (3 main sets as per the original program + 2 sets of first-set-last)
  • 4 sets of 8 reps (medium intensity) of an accessory exercise like romanian deadlifts (for the squat day) or front squats (for the deadlift days)
  • 4 sets of 8 reps (medium intensity) of an accessory exercise like dumbbell split squats or leg curls

I want basically to mix a strength-focused first exercise with more volume at medium intensity afterwards.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can fix this?
Is it just an energy-depletion issue or is it intrinsic in this program?

Thank you!

Drop the FSL or the “big” assistance movement and see if that helps.

Do as much as you can on the main lifts, and cut accessory movements to the bare minimum. Your results will come from the main lifts not from a bunch of leg curls and RDL’s. You should also start some type of conditioning program to improve your work capacity.

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Hmmm… What does a typical intake of carbs look like for you? (What actually went into your mouth please, not numbers, not a planned meal, what was actually eaten)

Drop the assistance intensity. Choose easier assistance exercises.

If that doesn’t work drop the FSL and just do your 531 sets and an assistance template like triumvirate.

What the hell does this mean?

And Your question is so weird. “Lifting is hard. How can I make it easier?”

Are you stronger now than you were? I can’t believe you posted this without mentioning what your progress has been like. The results should be what is driving your programming, not some arbitrary bullshit like you’re “mentally drained”.

And you’re not even doing that much. Without any other information, here’s my advice: suck it up, cupcake.


What you are doing looks fine to me.
Taxing Central Nervous System would be more like feeling wiped out for 3 or 4 days not 2 hours.
Increase your carb intake on leg day. Have a big steak for lunch or dinner on this day as well.
Make sure to include the deload week.

Feeling stuffed after Deadlift day is pretty normal I would have thought. It’s the most CNS demanding lift of them all.

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You are going to feel a little run down after training - that is part of the deal. But if you want to feel less of the feeling - do less work or do more recovering.

It’s really very simple.

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Thank you all.
I will reduce the amount of work during those days but add an extra low-intensity day for the lower body to maintain the volume and see how it goes.
If this does not help, I will try to increase the amount of carbs and see if this helps.

Btw, just to make sure it is clear, what surprises me is that my lower-body muscles are not sore at all after the workout. From the second or third set of the main lift however I start to feel without energy, both overall and mentally, to the point that I cannot concentrate properly for at least two hours after the workout.
This seems to suggest to me low glucose levels but I don’t see any evident issue with my diet:
I consume 2700 calories per day (few hundreds above maintenance) at 82kg body weight with approx. 300gr of carbs per day (spread almost evenly across the day but slightly higher around the workout time), 160gr of proteins and 80gr of fat.

I throw up a little in my mouth every time I hear someone talk about how taxed their CNS is


Just means you’re putting a decent amount of stress on your body. Two choices: drop the loads; or persevere and see if your body adjusts. Also, just learn how to drive through it.

I don’t understand this thread at all. But I guess if you don’t want to work so hard, then don’t?

And just for shits and giggles, what’s your 1rm Squat?