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
  • Main Goal
    Increase Strength
  • Workout Type
    Full Body
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration12 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout90 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Cables, EZ Bar
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download 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:

Workout Schedule

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

Workout A

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

Workout B

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.

Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2024 - 10:57

Just wondering if I am able to do this workout even with 2 years of experience, there's always something to learn, but I don't to waste my time either. Thanks alot.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2024 - 11:28

You should be fine doing this, Nakruf. If you take it on, let us know how it goes. Thank you for reading M&S!

Posted on: Thu, 02/08/2024 - 04:08

I’m just finishing up this workout I’ve been grinding it hard for 8 weeks now I’m wondering what the next workout could be to keep the results flowing as I’m quite prone to stalling. I want the same kind of stuff when it comes to the strength training and muscle mass gain I’m still looking to keep bulking and perhaps if possible add an extra day to make it 4 day split if that helps at all? Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 18:51

Check this out James. We have plenty of options here. If you need extra guidance, let me know.


Chris M.
Posted on: Tue, 02/06/2024 - 18:55

I'm getting back into working out after about 3 years off due to shoulder surgery. I wanted to "ease" into it with this three day split, but I don't see enough focus on the quads aside from the big lifts.

Since there's one less workout on Workout B, would be it okay to add 3x8 leg curls to the workout? Not going for anything extreme, but would like that accessory.

Also, coming off of the shoulder injury, would face pulls be an OK swap for shrugs? I'd like to build the rear delt and back muscles a bit further, but don't know where this could fit in.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 18:51

Hey Chris, both of your suggestions are good with me. Glad you're getting back into it and I appreciate the methodical approach. Let us know how you progress on this. I have confidence you will do very well.

Christopher S
Posted on: Sat, 01/27/2024 - 10:51

As a complete beginner, I'm skinny and weigh about 107lb can this program help me gain weight and strength? Is this the ideal program to start with, for me?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/30/2024 - 09:23

It can, Christopher, but you may want to try something else to get your feet wet with training. It may help to start with the program I am linking below, then taking this one on. Either way, best of luck, and keep us posted on how you're doing.


Christopher Singh
Posted on: Mon, 01/15/2024 - 14:11

Hey, this all seems interesting but as a complete beginner that wants to gain weight and muscle, how do you know what amount of weights to start lifting at first?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/25/2024 - 06:43

Hi, Christopher. Thank you for reading M&S!

The only real way to do this is through trial and error. Start with weights that you absolutely know you can use with good form and gauge your strength accordingly. As you continue with the program, you'll develop a better understanding of how strong you are and can pick the weights on instinct in the future.

Also, advice since you're a complete beginner. Have a spotter help you on your work sets. It can be a game changer.

Michelle Norman
Posted on: Thu, 01/11/2024 - 22:12

Hi! I'm not new to working out or lifting & compared to most women my age (55) I'd consider myself intermediate to advanced with what I know about fitness but never done 5x5 stuff. I'm looking for a simple, structured, basic routine to lift HEAVY & build strength. I know most of my 1RM for most of the big lifts here so I think I'll be able to calculate my starting weights. I only see mostly boys/young men tackling this program. Do you see any concerns with someone my age/gender doing this workout? If so, what might they be? Thanks!!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/14/2024 - 18:15

Hi, Michelle. I see no issues with you taking this one on, and I'm excited to see how you do if you choose to do so. Let us know what you decide and please keep us updated on the results. Show these kids how it's done!

Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 09:11

Hi there,

I have been working out on and off for a long time and have good form and knowledge of moves but according to strength level standards for men, I am currently at high beginner/low novice.

I was doing a Bro split before discovering this workout program, would it be beneficial to go for this workout since I’m categorized as a beginner/novice lifter until I become stronger? I wanted to do PHUL but realized it’s categorized for Intermediate lifters.

Any advice would be super helpful and thank you so much

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 20:36

Hi Abdullah, I would say go with this one and then move on to PHUL after a few months. If you take this one, let us know how it goes for you.

Rayan Alsinan
Posted on: Sun, 01/07/2024 - 15:16

Hi, I (17 and 58-60kg) just got a gym membership, and also just recently started boxing. I plan to do boxing Sunday and Tuesday (maybe some heavy cardio on thursday), and this plan on Monday, Wednesday, Friday - Having my rest day on Saturday. Do you think this is a good idea?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 20:35

It depends on what your goals are, Rayan. If you're wanting to add size, then you don't need so much cardio. Definitely take off Thursday. If you need to get lean and if boxing is a priority, then it may help as long as your nutrition and recovery are proper.

CT Wade
Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2023 - 18:33

I like this workout. When I try to watch the video it will freeze up on me. Some questions. 1. Can I do pull-ups and/or dips to replace tricep extensions and curls? 2. Or can I replace with dumbbells tricep extension and DB curl? 3. Thoughts on doing 10,000 meter row daily or 60 minutes elliptical daily? (Yes I do enjoy the row machine and elliptical)

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:32

1 and 2. You can do the pullups and dips if you like.

3. If you enjoy it and it doesn't affect your recovery, go for it!

Posted on: Sun, 12/10/2023 - 04:31

Is there an updated version of this program as per Jason Blaha's video from 2017 saying he would make changes to it? Was looking to get that more effective program.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:30

No updates we know of.

Posted on: Tue, 12/05/2023 - 23:18

I wake up and go to gym so what should I eat or drink before going to gym since I have to gain weight and if I go with empty stomach it will affect my lean muscle.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:30

You shouldn't lose muscle by training on an empty stomach, but definitely eat asap once you're done.

If you choose to eat before, a protein shake and a banana is simple and effective.

Posted on: Mon, 12/04/2023 - 09:49

How long to do this workout for and What workout can i do after this ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:05

Go until you feel progress has stalled, then check this out.


Posted on: Thu, 11/09/2023 - 12:39

I do have 2 herniated disc on my lower back but I don’t mind doing squats. At some point I’m concerned that too much weight may cause some more damage. Is there something you recommend I do for squats once I’m putting on some real heavy weight? I’m still able to squat and the only time Iv had a problem was with bent over rows

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 11/19/2023 - 19:17

Hey Josue, before I write this out, any doctor's advice overrides mine because they can make decisions based on what they see when checking you out.

I would suggest focusing more on speed of the reps over weight used. That tension will benefit the legs while minimizing the load on the back. Also, obviously skip bent-over rows.

Jacob Breeden
Posted on: Wed, 11/08/2023 - 21:35

Hey, so I am 19 years old 5 foot 5 male weighing only 105 pounds, will this workout routine help me gain weight, and what should I do after this program if I want to continue to gain weight.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 11/16/2023 - 21:29

This will help you, and I suggest focusing on only this for now. After a few months, reassess your progress before worrying about your next goal. Keep us posted on how you do with this!

Posted on: Thu, 11/02/2023 - 07:35

Im thinking of trying this program, it looks to be fun!
I just have one question.
Many exercises seems to have barbell, can I switch to dumbells but still do the same exercise?
Have a great day!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 11/15/2023 - 18:09

If you don't have access to a barbell, then that is okay until you can get one. If you run this program, let us know how it works for you.

Posted on: Tue, 10/17/2023 - 21:26

Is this workout also intended for women? Do I need to change anything?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/23/2023 - 20:27

Women can do it and no changes needed, Kodi.

Posted on: Mon, 10/16/2023 - 19:36

Trying to find a more optimal strength plan to help with inline speed skating. Focused on strength, not size. Looked at this plan as a alternative to my cobbled together current one, but the leg work seems somewhat limited compared to others, possibly. Will this be enough alone, or should I be adding things like RDLs, split squat, front squat, leg extension, leg curls? Leg strength is the main goal, but of course need to balance the upper body some as well.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/23/2023 - 20:27

If leg strength is the main goal, then this one ain't it for you. Try this instead.


Posted on: Wed, 10/25/2023 - 13:36

Thank you for the suggestion! I will look into that program as an option. Any thoughts on a full-body M/W/F program that would be a good? Hoping to use the off-days during the week for dryland and conditioning if possible. Thanks for the help!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 10/26/2023 - 07:08

I can see why that would work. Here is a 3-day program we have. You don't have to be in a Planet Fitness to do it, obviously. Make changes in exercises based on what equipment you have access to.


Posted on: Fri, 09/22/2023 - 23:52

Hello, just the beginner. This is my first week started with 10 lbs so how should i increase the weight??? Adding by 2.5 lbs every week or more than that. I am 32 years old. The last question on rest time after each set and after 5x5??
Thank you

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2023 - 14:12

2.5-5 pounds works, Sam. Rest can be two minutes between the 5 x 5 sets and 90 seconds with everything else.

Posted on: Sat, 09/09/2023 - 21:05

I have a pull up bar at home and am wondering whether it would be beneficial to work it in and if are there any exercises I should I should replace for pull ups.

Any help would be much appreciated

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 09/17/2023 - 09:44

I don't think you need to replace but feel free to add it in. Go for 5 x 5 on either day.

Posted on: Thu, 08/31/2023 - 05:31

I am a 17 year old underweight male, 178cm tall, 54kg trying to gain weight.

I've been working out for a few months but haven't noticed much difference. So I decided to pay more attention to my diet and try 5x5 programs for at least 12 weeks to increase my strength so it could be better for the hypertrophy based intermediate programs after the 5x5.

I plan to do 5x5 squat, bench press and deadlift like this program, but due to my hesitation about any injuries, I'm thinking about chest supported t-bar rows instead of bent over rows and machine shoulder presses instead of standing presses, meanwhile especially my shoulders are weak, I'm working at the lowest weights on the shoulder press machine. Also an isolation exercise for both biceps, triceps and laterals. What do you think?

And finally, doesn't ICF 5x5 look more like a lower body focused program rather than a balanced one, you do squats every day but bench press only 2x a week? What if you bench press 3x?

English is not my first language. Please forgive any problems.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 09/12/2023 - 11:01

Hi, Esat. I think this program I am sharing here would actually be better for you. Check this out, and let me know your thoughts. To answer your question about shoulders, machines would serve you well in that situation. As for injuries, talk to your doctor before taking on this or any program.


Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2023 - 16:47

Hey can I add Bulgarian split squares to further my leg development 2x8

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 08/26/2023 - 21:55

Hey John, work them in after squats on Workout A. Good luck, and let us know how this goes for you. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Wed, 07/19/2023 - 20:45

How do I modify this program for twice a week? I would definitely like to bench, squat, overhead press, and deadlift twice if possible. Are 5 compound movements too much for 1 work day?

I'm thinking 5x5 squat, overhead press, bench press, and 1 x5 deadlift. Coupled with 3 x 8 barbell row, a super set of bicep curls/tricep pushdowns for 2 x 10 and standing cable crunches for 3 x 10.

Please advise

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 07/21/2023 - 20:43

I would advise you to find a different program if you can only train twice a week. This may help.


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 07/21/2023 - 20:43

I would advise you to find a different program if you can only train twice a week. This may help.


Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2023 - 03:26

sir, i have a question i had a bit of a herniated disc/degenerative disk disease situation some time ago and my doctor at the time said not push extensive pressure on my lower spine.even though now iam fully healed and feels fine.i was wondering is there any exercises that i should leave out because of this. Thank you very much looking forward to hear from you.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 07/01/2023 - 07:29

Skip the squats and stay light on the deadlifts. Those would be the two adjustments I make to this. As for what you can do, talk to your doctor because that person knows your body and issue better than I do.

Rakhat Abish
Posted on: Wed, 06/28/2023 - 18:57

Hello, i wanted to ask about what would be better in order to gain a muscle mass, whether this workout plan(full body) or split system? i am currently 180cm tall and my mass fluctuates between 52-53 kilograms. i would be very pleased if you answered my question. thank you in advance!