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:

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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.

1.5K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:14
Abdul

Hi, I have been going to the gym for almost a year now on and off. I am 18 years old, 5foot7 and I weigh around 60 kg. When I started I was around 52kg.i was wondering what supplements you would recommend for me (if any). I have been around this body weight for some time now and I really want to gain mass. I currently do not take any supplements.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 10/13/2017 - 14:21
JoshEngland
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Posted Thu, 10/12/2017 - 03:04
Cody

Hi, I was wondering if it's okay to have the workout days back to back. I'm trying to workout at my school, but they are closed on Fridays, so I was thinking about doing Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Would that be okay? Or is it recommended to have a rest day between each workout days?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 10/12/2017 - 08:38
JoshEngland

Hi Cody,

It is recommended to have a full days of rest in between workout days with this program. You may want to look into a body part split if those are the only days of the week your schedule allows you to workout. Check out the link below for a solid option:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/get-ripped-3-day-split

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:35
Angus

Hi Jason,
I was wondering if it would be possible to deadlift using a hex bar to help lower back or if it is better to just use barbell.
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 10/12/2017 - 08:35
JoshEngland

Hi Angus,

That is completely fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 10/08/2017 - 22:38
Andrew

Hi there, this may be a silly question but I was wondering if I should perform a "warm-up" set before I begin my 5x5 lifts? And also, during the 5 sets, do I increase the weight per set or do I stick to the same weight for each set?

Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:26
JoshEngland

Hi Andrew,

Yes, you should always warm up to your working sets, especially when performing strength-focused rep ranges.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 10/07/2017 - 12:57
Christian Sierra

Hey I was just wondering what a good substitution for hyperextensions are since my gym doesn’t have the proper machine

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:25
JoshEngland

Hi Christian,

These can be performed on the ground without a machine. They're technically referred to as supermans when performed in this fashion.

This video does a good job explaining how to perform them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc6UVRS7PW4&t=8s

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 10/06/2017 - 18:44
Khalid

I apologize for this question.
I have been training with this program for six months.
I have achieved good results.
I want to start a testosterone cycle.
Must i to continue with (Ice Cream Fitness 5x5) during the cycle? or i must to train with another program?

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Posted Thu, 10/05/2017 - 04:32
Hannes

Hello Jason!

I will go for your program from today on but I miss the pull ups to work on the lats. I've been doing 15 + 10 + 8 reps twice a week and I want to include that in my program. Should I replace my pull ups and skip the bent over row one of the days?

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Posted Fri, 09/29/2017 - 16:50
Jon

Hey Jason! I was wondering if this program can be used for more than 6 weeks (currently at the 5 week mark)? And if so what do I add or take away or what other programs would you recommend?
Thanks for all the help!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/02/2017 - 08:36
JoshEngland

Hi Jon,

You can continue to use this program for as long as you're seeing results. The recommended duration listed is 12 weeks. Once, you've hit a plateau, take a week to deload and reevaluate your goals. At that point you may want to make adjustments to your program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 10/02/2017 - 23:33
Jon

Man, thank you so much for the advice! I love this routine since it’s something I can truly find time for!

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Posted Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:42
Alex

Hi Jason! I'm training on your 5x5 program and I'm having a problem. My gym doesn't have microplates. I'm bulk. Question: can I use the progression of loads for bulking version from cutting version.If so, what do I do with the weights "3х8"
hope you answer my question

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Posted Tue, 09/26/2017 - 17:13
Kabir

Does this plan hit every part of my body?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/27/2017 - 08:32
JoshEngland

Hi Kabir,

Yes, this program will target every muscle either directly or indirectly.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 09/21/2017 - 19:19
Shane

Hi,

I am just wondering if I can do a variation of this routine to focus more on hypertrophy instead of strength. By variation, I mean adjusting the sets/reps and perhaps adding a few exercises.

This is what I am thinking:

Workout A:
Squats 3x8-10
Bench Press 3x8-10
Bent Over Row 3x8-10
Shrug 3x10-12
Tricep Extension 3x10-12
EZ Bar Curls 3x10-12
Wide Grip Pullup/Lat Pulldowns 3x10-12

Workout B:
Leg Press or Squat (depending how I'm feeling) 3x8-10
Dead Left 2x6-8
Shoulder Press 3x8-10
Bent Over Dumbbell Row 3x8-10
Dip 3x10-12
EZ Bar Curls 3x10-12
Leg Curl 3x10-12

I love the idea of full body workouts, and hitting muscle groups 2-3 times a week, but am really wanting to focus on hypertrophy instead of strength.

Does this work?

Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/22/2017 - 08:34
JoshEngland

Hi Shane,

Yes, this should be fine.

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/22/2017 - 08:34
JoshEngland

Hi Shane,

Yes, this should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 10/15/2017 - 11:12
Michael

Uh this 5x5 program isn't focused on strength its a hypertrophy program

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Posted Tue, 09/19/2017 - 20:28
Kevin

Hi,

I don't have a cable machine. What exercises can substitute for tricep extension and cable crunch? I have an Olympic barbell and I'm getting dumbells. Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:48
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

You could go with a french press or overhead tricep extension. As for cable crunches, regular crunches or weighted crunches will do the trick.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 13:28
aurimas

Is it ok if I do elevated deadlifts from 6cm (2.2 inches) wooden block instead? I can't do it from the ground without rounding, but I can do it elevated pertectly. Thank you

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Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 04:29
Chris

Can I add more arm exercises or just keep it as it is?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:38
JoshEngland

Hi Chris,

This program is simply a template, you're more than welcome to alter it however you see fit to better meet your individual goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 09/16/2017 - 15:47
Kevin

What would be the difference if I did the ab crunch machine vs cable crunches

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:40
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

Nothing really, both are ab isolation exercises. You should be fine to do this.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 09/16/2017 - 08:29
JD

Would it be OK to exercise every other day, so it becomes four days in the first week and three days the following week and so on. Or is three days per week recommended to allow the body to recover? Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:39
JoshEngland

Hi JD,

Yes, that would be fine. If you're just starting out, I'd recommend sticking to the 3 days per week and adding that 4th day in as a progression though.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 09/13/2017 - 18:18
Peter

Hey! I lift since 2015 (2 years without stopping), but never did nothing similar to 5x5 or strength based programs, only isolation work. I've made a good progress and have a good looking shape, but my strength is very low. Since this program focuses on strength, will I lose some of my muscles (like shoulders since there is no OHP etc)? Thank you

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Posted Sun, 10/15/2017 - 11:16
Michael

This program doesn't focus on strength it is a hypertrophy program and there is OHP in this program

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Posted Wed, 09/13/2017 - 09:18
Roel

Hello! Just looking for some advice. I used to train for around 2 years straight before I totally stopped due to getting extremely busy at work. About 1 year I did not workout, other than the occasional pushups etc.

Recently, 1 month ago, I got back into working out with the beginner workout routine here on this website. After that, would I be still considered a novice and have to build up from scratch? Or can I go straight into intermediate PPL or PHUL routines? Many thanks!

Looking into perhaps starting this routine.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/13/2017 - 11:23
JoshEngland

Hi Roel,

Our general recommendations based on how we classify workout programs are:

Beginner - Less than 1 yr of training
Intermediate - 1-3 years of training experience
Advance - 3-5 years of training experience.

These should be without any lengthy break (longer than 1 month) Although, those recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt as everyone is different.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 09/12/2017 - 16:31
Jim

Would you keep the same percentage of 75-65% for the cutting version?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/13/2017 - 08:53
JoshEngland

Hi Jim,

Yes, I'd keep it the same regardless if you're cutting or bulking. (grant it, your 1RM will likely alter depending on your calorie intake).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 09/15/2017 - 13:37
Jim

Two other quick questions.

1) is the 2x8 going to be enough for me or should I just push the 3x8 (or will I be too exhausted)
2) Are T-rows suitable in place over bent over rows?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/15/2017 - 14:15
JoshEngland

Hi Jim,

1. You can start off performing 2x8, but try to progress to the point where you are capable of performing 3x8.

2. Are you performing them on a machine or as part of a landmine attachment? Either works the back, but nonmachine exercises will better challenge your core stabilizers.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 09/15/2017 - 14:44
Jim

I'm doing the classic barbell in the corner caveman style

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/15/2017 - 15:04
JoshEngland

hahahaha that should work fine then my friend!

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Posted Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:17
ken

my gym has only 2.5 kg plates (5.5 lbs) but i need to add 5 lbs each session
what should i do?

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Posted Sun, 09/10/2017 - 11:00
Dan

What would happen if you changed the 5x5s to 3x10s?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/11/2017 - 08:57
JoshEngland

Hi Dan,

You'd switch from a strength focused rep range to a muscle building/hypertrophy rep range.

Both are fine for beginners. Just depends on your individual goals and your training philosophy.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 09/08/2017 - 12:16
Jack Collins

ICF is the routine I used when I first started lifting, and I made some awesome noob gains and increased greatly in all my lifts. However, I never addressed my diet issues so I remained overweight. I've recently begun dieting quite steadily, and in a sustainable way, but I am eating at about a 500 calorie deficit. Is there a version of ICF that you would recommend to maintain as much strength as possible as I continue to work towards my goal weight?

Stats: 28 Y/O male, 5' 11", 210 lbs, goal weight of 180

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Posted Thu, 09/07/2017 - 08:29
Dan

Any tips on how to warm up and diet e.g. Do you eat at a maintenance or bulk ? And if so how much of you are skinny fat ?

Thanks

Dan

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 09/07/2017 - 09:41
JoshEngland

Hi Dan,

For warm ups, start here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

Diet will depend on your goals, experience level, and current body composition. If you're underweight and would like to build muscle, a surplus might be beneficial. If you're overweight, a deficit might be beneficial. If you're at a healthy bodyweight and composition, it will depend greatly on your goal at the moment.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 09/05/2017 - 08:18
Stephen

Would it be too hard for a beginner to do 5 days instead of 3,like alternate B/A/B/A/B/rest/rest

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 09/05/2017 - 08:34
JoshEngland

Hi Stephen,

Yes it would. Muscles are broken down while in the gym. They're rebuilt through rest and recovery. That is why this program is set up for 3 full body workouts a week.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 09/05/2017 - 11:00
Stephen

what about joggine durnig rest days?