Learn how to build muscle, burn fat & stay motivated.
Brett & Megan
Share

Jason Blaha's Ice Cream Fitness 5x5 Novice Program

A potent and proven novice muscle and strength building program from Jason Blaha & Ice Cream Fitness. Testimonials continue to pour in touting its effectiveness.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Full Body
Beginner
12 weeks
3
90 minutes
Barbell, Cables, EZ Bar
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

For more information on Jason Blaha and Ice Cream Fitness, please visit the Juggernaut Fitness Youtube or Facebook fan page.

I would like to thank Muscle & Strength for hosting my Ice Cream Fitness (ICF) 5x5 novice program which I put out for free. Since I released it a year ago hundreds of people have contacted me about their results. Please watch the video I break down the full progression and methodology behind the program:

The program is to be conducted 3 days per week alternating workout A&B on non-consecutive days. For example:

Muscle & Strength Online Supplement Store

Week One

  • Day 1 - Workout A
  • Day 2 - Rest
  • Day 3 - Workout B
  • Day 4 - Rest
  • Day 5 - Workout A
  • Days 6 & 7 - Rest

Week Two

  • Day 1 - Workout B
  • Day 2 - Rest
  • Day 3 - Workout A
  • Day 4 - Rest
  • Day 5 - Workout B
  • Days 6 & 7 - Rest
ICF Workout A
Novice Program
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 5 5
Bench Press 5 5
Bent Over Row 5 5
Barbell Shrugs 3 8
Tricep Extensions 3 8
Straight Bar or Incline Curls 3 8
Hyperextensions with plate 2 10
Cable Crunches 3 10
ICF Workout B
Novice Program
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 5 5
Deadlift 1 5
Standing Press 5 5
Bent Over Row (10% lighter than Workout A) 5 5
Close Grip Bench Press 3 8
Straight Bar or Incline Curls 3 8
Cable Crunches 3 10

ICF 5x5 Novice Program FAQ

One of my fans created a detailed FAQ based upon half a dozen videos in which I answered specific questions. Some of the FAQ are based upon statements I made on another forum.

If you notice a common question or concern that is not posted below, feel free to reply in the comments section below and I will add it.

Again, original credit goes to iBeastMode207 for taking the time to write the original up.

I have questions...

Watch the video. 99.9% of all of your questions can be answered by actually taking the time to watch the video on this page.

I don't have enough time to do this program

If you can't take the time to do this you are simply not worth the gains the program can offer you. Common time for the workout is around 1.5 hours.

Can I change anything?

Unless you are unable to do this program for medical reasons: do not alter the program. You are a novice, and quite simply you don't know what you're doing. If you did you wouldn't be looking for a workout.

If you want to go changing everything to fit what you believe will give you better results, go post it in the workout programs forum so everyone can refer you right back to a proven program that works, such as this one.

I have bad knees

If you have bad knees, do box squats. Otherwise, unless you are medically unable you should squat.

Can I add more deadlifts?

Deadlifts are 1x5 for a reason. They are taxing on your CNS and if you mess around you will get hurt. So don't be the tough guy who wants to do 5x5 deadlifts, because you will fail miserably.

Do the reps and sets as they are laid out in the program.

I don't like squats and deadlifts

Don't ask if you can ditch squats or deadlifts because "you don't like them". They're essential, so just do them.

Can I add calf work?

Supplemental calf work is acceptable, but you don't need it. If you want to do the extra work, feel free.

Can I add side lateral raises?

Side lateral raises are also acceptable, but Jason suggests doing face pulls instead.

Can I add extra ab work?

Additional ab work is acceptable. Doing ab work on off days instead is also acceptable. You can also substitute in other ab exercises if you do not have access to a cable station for cable crunches.

How should I lift when cutting?

The cutting version is 3x5 for main lifts, 2x8 for accessory lifts. Also, you only progress every other session, not every session. Example Workout B: deadlift 200, next workout B: deadlift 200, next workout B: deadlift 205.

Can I add cardio?

With a good diet, you do not need to do cardio. Most people here don't even bother as it will not make you magically lose weight. Diet is what affects weight. You will receive all the same benefits from this program (As well as any high-intensity weight training program) as you would receive from "cardio."

Any advice on tracking calories?

For tracking calories, Myfitnesspal is a pretty solid app. To calculate your TDEE (calorie needs determination) click here.

What if I add weight and fail?

If you fail a rep/set/whatever, you repeat that weight during the next workout. If you fail the next workout, you lower your weight by 10% and continue to use that until progress. Reset weights get rounded down.

Do I need accessory work?

You do not need to add any extra accessory work, you are a novice. Your entire body is lagging right now. You fix your overall body before moving to intermediate level workouts. Then you can focus on specific body parts and weaknesses.

What if I stall?

If you are not progressing and stall for a while, you may need to deload

Any substitutions for hyperextensions?

Hyperextension can be substituted with good mornings or cable pull throughs.

Any substitutions for close grip bench press?

CGBP/Dips are a matter of preference, Jason just prefers CGBP.

What about rest between sets?

Break times between sets are 3-5 minutes for the 5x5 sets and 1-2 minutes for the 3x8 sets.

1.4K Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/19/2017 - 18:59
Marcus

Hey Jason, watched your video, really nice program! I am little worried about restitution.. Is one rest day enough to hit similar muscle groups again?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:56
JoshEngland

Hi Marcus,

Everyone will recover at a different rate. If you're truly a beginner and recover slowly, feel free to only perform the workouts twice a week until you're ready to progress to 3x per week. Alternatively, you could perform this 1 day on, 2 days off for the time being as well.

This program is simply a template. You have to tailor it to fit your individual needs and goals.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/16/2017 - 13:24
Jat

I want to try and incorporate Chin-Ups in this routine. Which is the best way I could try and do that?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/16/2017 - 12:19
Jeff

I run track 4-5 times a week. I really want to run this program, but I am afraid I will over train. I try to eat for a chocoholic surplus and sleep 7-10 hours a night. Can I run this program or should I run the main lifts 3x5 and cut out some of the accessories (shrugs, triceps extensions maybe).

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 08/16/2017 - 16:21
JoshEngland

Hi Jeff,

It's tough to say, because everyone is different. You may or may not be able to handle that much workload.

I'd err on the side of caution to begin with and then gradually add things in as a form of progression until you are able to perform the whole routine with your other obligations.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 08/13/2017 - 06:22
Vitalie

is every workout in B 10% lighter?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/14/2017 - 08:44
JoshEngland

Hi Vitalie,

Yes, that is correct.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/12/2017 - 19:28
Freeman Matthews

this may sound silly but where should this routine start in terms of weight before progressing? Does it start from the bar like SL which it is based on?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/14/2017 - 08:43
JoshEngland

Hi Freeman,

I'm not sure there is a prescribed starting point for this routine. I'd say the bar is a fine place to start.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/12/2017 - 16:07
Martin

Where exercises are listed as 5 x 5, do you do all sets back to back, and if so with what rest interval?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/14/2017 - 08:42
JoshEngland

Hi Martin,

Yes, that is correct. I'd rest 3-5 mins on your 5x5 lifts. 60-90 seconds on your accessory lifts.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 08/10/2017 - 20:34
abdallah

Why the cutting version is 3X5 for main lifts, 2X8 for accessory lifts.
What happens if I do 3X5 and 2 X8 when cutting?
are there any problems?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 08/11/2017 - 10:31
JoshEngland

Hi Abdallah,

It's just a strategy. Some people like to lighten their workload while in a calorie deficit during a cut phase. This helps prevent injury and your risk of not being able to recover properly from your workouts.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 21:19
José

Hi, I had some shoulder problems in the past and holding the bar in my back for squats is very uncomfortable (I used to be able to squat and actually liked it, for the record). Any advices? Can I do leg presses instead? What about front squats (might be an easier position for me)?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 08/08/2017 - 09:04
JoshEngland

Hi José,

Front squats would be a good substitution, but does require some wrist mobility. You could also go with something like the goblet squat and dumbbell squat.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 08/08/2017 - 09:11
José

Thanks, Josh.
I'll give those dumbbell squats a try. My gym also only have one of those machines for squats, so dumbbell squats might be a more complete exercise.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:01
Cedric

Hi, I was wondering whether you do the same weight for the 5 sets or do you increase the weight every set.
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 09:09
JoshEngland

Hi Cedric,

You can do either or. Personally, I like to work my way up, so I'll do something like 85% of my 5RM for a set, 90% for the next, 95% for the third, and 100% of my 5RM for the last 2 sets.

Everyone is different. Try to figure out which you prefer doing and works for you and then stick with it for a while.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/05/2017 - 02:50
Cheng Soon seng

Hi, just want to check for the program can I switch the sequels of the work out? Like for example workout A, can I change the fourth workout to the third and third workout change to the fourth due to somebody using the equipment

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 09:07
JoshEngland

Hi Cheng Soon seng,

Yes, that will be fine. Do your best to perform them in the order they are listed, but if equipment is taken, just skip it and come back to it.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 07/31/2017 - 12:44
Moe

Hello. So I've failed at shoulder press ( at 115lb) and dropped down 10% of the weight (105lb), however, I failed again a few workouts later at 110lb. Should I further lower 10% of the weight or just try to do 110lb again? Thank you

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 07/29/2017 - 16:23
Thomas Christensen

Hi there! I've noticed that my squats and bench presses are getting close to where i can't increase the weight anymore. I just failed a bench press set of 225x4 and a finished a 265x5 lbs squat. However, i don't have any safety bars and therefore am afraid to progress. I often have my brother to spot yet there are rarely any at my gym at the times i go there and therefore i can't always get a spotter. Should i just maintain my strength levels and stop progressing or are there any alternatives? Dumbing the barbell in squats is unfortunately not an option as the plates are iron plates.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/31/2017 - 09:57
JoshEngland

Hi Thomas,

It might be worth looking into alternative forms of progression that aren't tied to increasing the weight you're using. Check these articles out:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/4-ways-to-get-stronger-withou...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/4-ways-achieve-progressive-ov...

It's also important to remember progression isn't always linear, it might take time to master the weight you are currently capable of using and that is ok. It's better to be able to control the weight you use than to squeak out 4-5 reps per set.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 07/28/2017 - 15:50
Gallien

Can we do the exercices with Dumbbell (I think about Bench Press and Rowing?)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/28/2017 - 15:59
JoshEngland

Hi Gallien,

Yes, if that is all you have available to you - or what you strictly prefer - you certainly can.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:36
Justin Mino

What should my numbers be for squat bench and deadlifts to move onto a new program

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/26/2017 - 22:04
Matthew Boux

Is this a program proven to build strength and visible muscle? I started doing stronglifts but I don't like that it only had three workouts. I've also read that it doesn't help build visible muscle at all either. I really want to get big and strong and I'm wondering if this program can help me. I'm 17 years old, 5'9 and 168lbs. Thank you and I am looking forward to hearing your response.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/27/2017 - 09:23
JoshEngland

Hi Matthew,

A lot of people see results with a program such as this one and I find training 3-4 times a week to provide optimal rest days for recovery and growth.

However, everyone is different and will see different results from every program. You're still young. You've got to experiment and find what works best for you. Stronglifts is certainly an good place to start, but the more information you expose yourself to, the better your results will be in the long run.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 07/28/2017 - 00:51
Matthew Boux

Hi. Thanks for the reply. I think I want to start this program. I've always struggled with building muscle and strength. I've always been weaker than most others my age and I want to change that. I just watched your video and I think I want to do this plan.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 07/28/2017 - 00:55
Matthew Boux

I've posted on workout forums and I can't seem to get a good answer anywhere. Since I'm relatively new is this a good program to get me started. The thing I didn't like about stronglifts is there really was no accessories or anything like that. I like the extras on this program. So according to it I should try and increase the weight each workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/28/2017 - 09:03
JoshEngland

Hi Matthew,

Yes, but the rate at which people progress is different for everyone. Not everyone will be able to increase the weight they use every work out and still be able to perform the lift with perfect form. Increase the weight you use accordingly. So long as you are increasing the weight over time, you;ll see results.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/26/2017 - 21:50
Zissou

The only gym near me is a planet fitness, they only have a smith machine and not a conventional bar for deadlift, squats and bench press. Is it alright to use the smith machine or should I substitute different exercises

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/27/2017 - 09:09
JoshEngland

Hi Zissou,

It's not ideal to do these exercises on the smith machine. Subbing in dumbbell alternatives would be a better alternative as far as this program is concerned.

You could also look into a program that only utilizes machines if you want to have machine focused workouts. Check out this one: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/machines-only-3-day-split

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 07/23/2017 - 03:33
Billy Hamilton

Heya,

I am just wondering, by the 5th set 5th rep, should I be struggling to complete the exercise? Is that how I know I have enough weight?

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/24/2017 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi Billy,

Yes, the last rep should be challenging. When strength training in a 5x5 program, it is important to always have a spotter near by to help assist you should you fail during the set.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/27/2017 - 03:04
Billy Hamilton

Hi Josh!

Thank you so much for your reply. I have a few more questions if that is okay (couldn't find answers to them via the video or faq, as well as researching online).

1) this question is a modification of my other one: on the 4th and 5th rep of every set, should the weight be heavy enough so that I am struggling on the last reps of each set or should it only be the 5th set that I struggle on?

2) do you think it is okay/viable to work both calves and abs on off days (Tuesday and Thursday). Jason says tha adding calves is optional but didn't say when to work them. With that being said, I want to add in an extra ab routine while also including some calves exercises. Good/bad idea?

3) how slow/fast should I be completing the reps. Currently, I am going at a slow pace, really focussing on the muscles being worked. For example, when bench pressing, I will complete the rep by lowering the bar slowly and raising it at the exact same pace, should be I doing this faster?

4) I am not sure if it's because I am not using enough weight or if it is the nature of compound movements, but after my workout and during rest days, I am not feeling any DOMS, is this because I am not pushing myself enough? I just started this routine and have only been going to the gym for 4 weeks now.

5) is substituting the close grip bench press for dips okay? I feel it more in the triceps with the dips opposed to the CGBP. Though, I don't know of switching is okay simply because Jason says not to alter the routine.

Thank you so much in advance!!! I appreciate you taking the time to answer and help me!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/28/2017 - 09:35
JoshEngland

Hi Billy,

You're welcome!

1. If you have a spotter, either or is fine. Personally, I'd only like to struggle on my last rep :)

2. I'd work them in on your workout days not on rest days. There's really not a lot of reward for going to the gym on a rest day to train calves. Training them is not necessary unless you feel as though it will help you accomplish your goals.

3. Your 5x5's should be done explosively, so the reps should be as fast as possible while being in control of the weight. The accessory lifts would be best done at a 2/0/2 tempo to maximize time under tension for hypertrophy.

4. Not everyone experiences DOMs and experiencing them doesn't necessarily lead to more or less muscle gain. Make sure you're giving good effort during your workouts, eating properly, and sleeping enough each night and the rest will take care of its self.

5. Sure, I think that would be a fine substitution.

Hope this helps and best of luck getting them gains!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 07/21/2017 - 23:42
Vince

There was a question about what weight to lift while cutting. What does cutting mean?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/24/2017 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi Vince,

Cutting is a fat loss focused phase of dieting where you put yourself in a calorie deficit (meaning you're burning more calories than you are taking in).

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 07/24/2017 - 13:36
Vince

If I am some what cutting and I am doing the 5x5 sets instead of the cutting version. Is there anything I should worry about? Should I do the cutting version or just stick with the non cutting version?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 07/25/2017 - 09:34
JoshEngland

Hi Vince,

So long as you feel you are recovering properly, that should be fine.

Being in a calorie deficit can make it slightly more difficult to recover depending on your age, training level, a macro nutrient break down. Some like to manipulate the volume they use while training to counter balance their calorie deficit.

But everyone is different and can handle different amounts of volume. If you feel like you can do it and still recover properly from each workout, go for it.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:21
Anas

I feel a slight pain in my right elbow after I have done Deadlift in Workout B, so I'm failing at Close Grip Bench Press.
Can i do Close Grip Bench Press after Squats and before Deadlift in Workout B?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/21/2017 - 09:23
JoshEngland

Hi Anas,

I'd probably swap out CG bench for a neutral grip dumbbell press (or even drop the lift all together if the pain is serious), but it's tough to make a specific recommendation not being there to work with you in person.

You might find this article a beneficial read:
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/6-tips-training-around-cranky...

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/19/2017 - 12:37
Declan

Hello. I am 15 years old and weigh 110 and 5'6 and I haven't hit puberty fully. I know there are rumors about lifting stunting growth, so should I wait until I am fully finished growing or is it okay to start lifting heavy now? I do not want to affect my growth. Thanks

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/19/2017 - 19:51
Michael

You can start lifting now it wont stunt your growth

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:46
Adrien Valere

Hi , I saw that the program says to do 1 by 5 deadlifts , and I wanted to know after how many time and after being to pull how much can I increase the number of sets on the deadlift ? to finally do a 5 by 5 deadlift ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/19/2017 - 19:52
Michael

Until after you are done with this program

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 07/18/2017 - 04:02
Peter McGainz

Hi.

Since you Squat every workout, do you add weight for squats every workout, or do you only add weight every second workout?

And what about the deadlifts?

I watched the video but didn't catch him mentioning it. If he did, my bad!! :)

Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi Peter,

Add weight when you can do so and still be able to hit all of the prescribed reps with perfect form.

A good goal is to progress weekly or biweekly.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 07/16/2017 - 23:36
Joe

Hi, I understand that for the 5x5 lifts you keep the weight the same for each set, but for the extras (3x8) do you increase the weight each set or do you keep it the same? Cheers.