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
12 weeks
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:

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.

1.8K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 09/16/2020 - 01:08

Hey Jason.
Have you seen the episode of “The Legend of Jason Baha”? You definitely are the legend bud

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Posted Thu, 09/03/2020 - 22:54

hello sir first thank you for your work and I want to ask you if it's okay to do this program but just for 4 weeks then I would like to pass to this program https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/phul-workout because I want to have a routine with 4 days a week but I really liked yours and I want to start up with it

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 11:23

Hey mhamed - it would be best to complete this program in its entirety before moving on to another program.

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Posted Thu, 09/03/2020 - 17:48

Hello, I had hernia surgery early this year, doctor said I should fine as long as I listen to my body. Any recommendation before I start this program

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 11:26

Hey Qaisy - check out our article on getting back into the gym after taking time off: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/getting-back-to-the-gym

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Posted Thu, 09/03/2020 - 14:37
Tj Jadama

Hi, when you say 5x5, for the first set do I start on a lower weight then on the next sets after that get heavier and heavier Or Is it 5x5 lifting the same weight then next time lift the same but try lift 5 pound more ?

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 11:21

Hey TJ - Jason's video at the top of this video should answer your questions. He starts talking about choosing weights at around 13:47.

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Posted Sat, 08/29/2020 - 23:46

I'm a pretty skinny guy and weigh only 46kg at 175cm, any recommendations to get my mass up quickly along with this workout program?

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 09:05

Hey Bob - check out our Ectomorph Muscle Building guide to learn more about the best way to train for your body type: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/ectomorph-muscle-building-nut...

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Posted Fri, 08/28/2020 - 06:39

Hello, I just started this workout and loving it but my schedule got busy for 3 days quick example.. Did Work A on Mon, Busy Tue, Busy Wed, Busy Thurs, and I’m back Friday, can I do workout B with more deadlifts or what is recommended on missed days?

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 08:59

Hey Brian - it's not reccomended to alter the program. Since you're in your first week, you can do Workout B on Friday and start back with Week 1 on Monday.

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Posted Thu, 08/20/2020 - 12:24

Hi, can I do Barbell reverse triceps extensions instead of the machine extensions? I only have access to a barbell
I'm already doing good mornings for hyper extensions as you suggested as an alternative

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Posted Fri, 08/28/2020 - 16:19

Hey Joe - sure no problem!

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Posted Fri, 08/14/2020 - 14:43

Hello sir , i wanted to ask , my core is pretty weak , like im 55 kgs at 170cms ,so my question is , should i worry about any posibility of getting hernia off the lifts , and what is your advice for a beginer in lifting

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Posted Fri, 08/14/2020 - 15:29

Hey Edward

Throw some planks in at the end of your workouts 3 days a week to help your core. As long as you’re paying attention to your body and not over exerting yourself you should be okay.

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Posted Wed, 08/05/2020 - 04:14

Can I miss out the hyoerextentions as there’s no machine for it at my gym

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Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 12:35

Hey Kewin

I recommend substituting it with heavy rack pulls.

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Posted Fri, 07/24/2020 - 02:09

I don't have any machine needed what could i use instead?

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Posted Thu, 07/30/2020 - 09:48

Hey JK

If you haven't yet, watch the video above. He covers alternatives for a good amount of the lifts.

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Posted Tue, 06/30/2020 - 12:17

Hi, i have a problem i dont know how to solve :/
I dont know how i can get more fat or something to my elbow.

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Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 12:47

Hey Robin

I recommend working on your triceps from multiple angles and getting in some forearm work to strengthen the muscles around your elbows.

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Posted Thu, 06/25/2020 - 21:46
Josue Contreras

Can I make the workout a 4 day per week, like you can do A on Monday and b on Tuesday then break on Wednesday and then do A on Thursday and B on Friday and break for Saturday and Sunday ?

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Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 12:48

Hey Josue

That's perfectly fine to run the program that way.

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Posted Thu, 06/04/2020 - 19:17
kim lynott

Hi Jason
I am new to lifting but very excited to try this workout. On utube you suggest using bands since gyms are not open yet. Can you let me know what bands, length and resistance I should be buying. I have hand weights and TRX but that is about it. Also is there and changes that need to be made to the workout for females. Cant wait to start. Thanks so much.

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Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 13:00

Hey Kim

We've got several options for resistance bands, depending on which ones you're looking for. For a well-equipped home gym, I recommend having all of them at some point. However, you won't need them all right away.

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Posted Thu, 06/04/2020 - 15:56
Nic Kennedy

I dont k ke what diet to go on

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Posted Mon, 05/25/2020 - 03:02

In this pandemic, i workout from home with Standard equipment. Barbell, dumbbell, ez bar, pull up bar. Squat rack. Still bench (no adjustments).

I have no machine. Can i change the exercise that doing with machine ? Like cable crunch.


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Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 12:53

Great Question Obeth

If you have an exercise ball, performing crunches on that is a great alternative that will still target your upper abs.

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Posted Tue, 03/31/2020 - 08:58

What's the warmup routine? Just a few non weighted sets?

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Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 12:50

Hey Sebastian

Warm-up with a few lightweight sets and be sure to do a good general stretch for the muscles you're going to use.

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Posted Mon, 03/02/2020 - 20:19
Aaron Ramirez

Does this program help you lose weight as well? I'm new to this nutrition stuff

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Posted Mon, 03/16/2020 - 10:38
Courteney Perry

I really want to build muscle and live a healthier lifestyle.

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Posted Mon, 03/02/2020 - 00:58

i 100% agree with the incline curls

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Posted Wed, 02/19/2020 - 08:48

I'm 16 and am wondering whether protein is needed and so on

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Posted Wed, 02/05/2020 - 16:22
Sam Ahmed

Highbar or lowbar squats?

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Posted Fri, 01/31/2020 - 11:44

Hi, I just have a question.

I do quite a lot of walking. Sometimes up to about 10 miles maybe twice a week. Considering that the program has you squatting 3 times per week, would I have to cut down on the walking a bit? Would I be doing too much and overworking the leg muscles by doing both the squatting and also the walking on my rest days?

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Posted Sun, 02/09/2020 - 23:39
Steve H.

I work a job where I’m walking upwards of 20,000+ steps a day. I’ve been doing fine still.. if I were you, I’d take a priority in making sure you’re eating enough, as well as getting quality sleep.

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Posted Sat, 12/14/2019 - 17:22

can i substitute barbell bench press with dumbbell bench press??
what is best exercise for mid deltoid muscle hypertrophy?

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Posted Sun, 11/03/2019 - 06:45

I can only train on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Can I substitute Squats for Leg Press on the workout B so I can rest more?

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Posted Thu, 02/20/2020 - 11:23


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Posted Wed, 10/09/2019 - 11:58

Does any one know how many calories are burned in eny of these workouts


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Posted Thu, 09/19/2019 - 15:53
Maher Ali Maher...

Can i do some pullups, push ups and sit ups in two of the resting days ?

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Posted Mon, 09/09/2019 - 07:40
Roberto Crotta

Where can i Add the face pull in the program? And how many reps and sets

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Posted Sat, 08/31/2019 - 01:36
Nikolaus Lopyzki

Ok so I’ve been running an intermediate program that is 6 day upper lower but I want something more like this. I just feel the lower weekly volume would be less effective for me. Know of a 5-6 day program like this?

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Posted Wed, 08/07/2019 - 02:44

Do i use for all of the 5 sets the max weight or do i scale it up to the max weight

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Posted Mon, 07/29/2019 - 01:28

Should I do pause bench or touch and go for my 5x5? Is either better than the other? what do people normally do?

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Posted Wed, 07/17/2019 - 21:15

Can I train MMA the same days and also on the rest days while training this program?

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Posted Sun, 07/07/2019 - 10:35
Waldo Mannaz

I find it good, but want some ideas on increasing intensity. As soon as I started I had problems with cable crunches.

I'll trade curls for chins, cgbp for dips or weighted.
I feel like adding variety to the back work too.

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Posted Mon, 07/01/2019 - 20:58

I was just wondering if it is ok as part of the program to carry out other activities on rest days such as boxing.

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Posted Thu, 06/20/2019 - 10:23

should you reduce break between 5x5 to 1-2 min. when losing weight with this program?