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: Tue, 06/28/2022 - 13:17

I am a 15 year old competitive swimmer and I wanna start lifting alongside swimming to increase my strength in the water. Is this program good for strength and especially for swimmers? I am not lifting for aesthetics but for strength in the water just to clarify.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 07/01/2022 - 23:21

What's up, Khaled? Swimming, strength for swimming, got it.

Yes, this will help you starting out, especially if you do it during an offseason. After a couple months on this program, I would suggest moving up to something else more advanced. After you run with this for 8 weeks, let us know how you do, and we can suggest another program for you based on your results.

Posted on: Mon, 06/20/2022 - 18:25

Is there a recommended program to move onto after this one is completed?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 06/21/2022 - 08:32

Depends on what the next goal is, John.

Posted on: Sun, 07/03/2022 - 10:43

Thank you Roger!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 06/26/2022 - 10:01
Posted on: Thu, 06/23/2022 - 14:08

I am a skinny guy looking to pack on more size. Can you suggest a program I should be looking into?

Posted on: Sun, 06/19/2022 - 00:22

What can I substitute the kneeling cable crunches for? I have tried incline sit ups but I don’t believe Emmy gym has the machine for it.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 06/21/2022 - 08:33

Hi, Kazi! Try weighted crunches with a plate on the floor or on an exercise ball.

Posted on: Tue, 06/14/2022 - 20:27

I’m a 5’3 female with an athletic build and I’m looking to body recomp - is this a good program for me? Or should I do more reps, less sets with less weight?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 06/15/2022 - 09:14

If you want to recomp and get stronger, go with this one, fitgirl.

Posted on: Mon, 06/13/2022 - 17:54

Should I be doing doing them until failure for the LAST rep for all of them? If not all of them, which ones?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 06/15/2022 - 09:13

Hi, Andy. Last set should be performed to failure. Use the other sets to prepare your body for the heavy work to come.

big cheese
Posted on: Thu, 06/02/2022 - 23:56

If I fail a rep or set, do I just stop the exercise altogether? Or do I use a lower weight? Or do I keep attempting the weight I failed?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 06/08/2022 - 09:45

Go with a lower weight. Make the adjustment and go again on the next set.

Posted on: Sun, 05/29/2022 - 14:26

I cant really get a spotter because my gym near my house Im always the only one there and there are no equipment with safety measures so is there another way other than weightlifting I can build my body very well withought having to do all these workouts where if I fail I may get hurt withought anyone there with me

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 05/29/2022 - 19:57

Dumbbell squats, leg press, or whatever machines you have access to that trains quadriceps would work well in your case.

Posted on: Sun, 05/29/2022 - 14:20

Hello. I would like to ask is there an alternative to squats because my gym is very tiny and old and the straight bar is very low cause its for bench press and if I want to pick it up with leg weight (way heavier then what I can carry up) between sets it gets really hard and it hurts my joints putting it all the way up to my shoulders.

Posted on: Sat, 05/28/2022 - 05:52

Hi, just starting off with the gym and found this great looking plan. I’m 15, 178cm and 61kg so on the skinnier side, not that fat and I’m just wondering if bulking up straight away would be acceptable along with this plan. Thanks!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 05/28/2022 - 21:12

Sure, Phaidon. That would be a great plan. Let us know how it goes!

Posted on: Wed, 05/25/2022 - 08:46

hello. Would it be bad to start lifting as a 15 yrld teen? Im pretty skinny and I dont rlly want to be skinny anymore. Also if I were to start the workout and after one month from now I have to go summer break to a place withought a gym what would I do?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/25/2022 - 18:44

Hey Taco, nah. 15 is a good age to start. Do the best with this one that you can for the month you're able to. Then, try this M&S bodyweight workout to help you stay active until you get back into a gym again.


Posted on: Thu, 05/19/2022 - 08:49

Why are calf raises missing? Should I add them to my workout?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/23/2022 - 08:31

Can't explain why he didn't, Alex, but you can certainly do them if you like.

Posted on: Wed, 05/11/2022 - 15:16

Hi, I have been doing this progrm for a while now, and i really like it. I want to also focus on my nutrition, I am currently skinnyfat 17yrs old, 69kg, 175cm. I am skinny, but i also have a decent amount of fat on my stomach. Do i bulk or do i cut?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/25/2022 - 18:42

Hi, Singh! You cut first, so you can see the muscle you have. Then, you build up.

This guide will help with the fat loss.


Posted on: Sun, 05/08/2022 - 21:18

Hi. could this program be used to lose weight? im 5'2 and 135lb and just starting, could I use this program if not is there any other program you can lead me to that will work for me?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/24/2022 - 21:26
Posted on: Sun, 05/08/2022 - 17:59

Hi. The best days for me to train are monday, tuesday and thursday. Is that too bad that I don't rest between the 2 first days? I could change the monday workout to saturday tho.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/23/2022 - 08:33

That should be fine, Nuno. Let us know how it goes for you!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/23/2022 - 08:33

That should be fine, Nuno. Let us know how it goes for you!

Posted on: Thu, 04/07/2022 - 17:48

Hi. I'm in my third week of this programme and I'm wondering if the each workout has to be done in the order Jason has put them down? As in do I have to do Squats first on both A and B? My gym can be very busy at times and I have to wait for equipment to free up so I'd rather skip certain workouts and come back to them.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 04/10/2022 - 20:02

Hey Paddy, if it's better for you to call an audible and switch days because the gym is busy, go for it. Just don't do the same workout more than twice in a row without doing a different one.

Posted on: Tue, 04/05/2022 - 17:26

Can this program be done daily? Maybe limit squat to every other day? Would daily hinder gains? I've been lifting daily for the last 6 months without soreness and would like to continue—I look forward to getting out of the house every day over lunch since working from home!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 04/10/2022 - 20:01

Hi, Michael. Days off are very highly recommended so your muscles can recover properly. Props for training daily for six months, but you should seriously consider giving yourself time to rest.

Posted on: Wed, 03/30/2022 - 13:56

My age is 23-24 and I AM too under weight only 48 kg should I Follow it for good result?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 04/10/2022 - 19:59

Hi, Lokesh. This would be a great plan for you.

Joe Carman
Posted on: Tue, 03/29/2022 - 11:42

Does it matter what order I do the exercises? Like would it be ok if I did the workouts in reverse order?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 03/31/2022 - 10:11

Your strength in what would be the last exercises may be affected because you exhausted them with the other movements. That said, you can do them in reverse order if you like.

Posted on: Thu, 03/24/2022 - 23:24

I am a skinny 14 yr old who wheighs just under 100 pounds. Will this work for me and what foods should I eat to gain the most weight.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/29/2022 - 20:13

Hey Andronico, this would be a good program. Just make sure you have someone showing you how to perform the exercises correctly so you can make the best gains.

As for food, follow this guide to pack on quality mass.


Paddington Tembo
Posted on: Wed, 03/09/2022 - 20:38

I am a novice and looking to build muscle, what weight should I start with and how much do I add every week ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 03/14/2022 - 20:00

You have to go by trial and error, Paddington. Start with something you're confident you can do and add or subtract accordingly. Make notes of what you do and how well you can lift it so you can start with adjustments next time. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Wed, 03/02/2022 - 08:45

If I’m wanting to do 5x5 deadlifts and 1x5 squats, what do I change about the program? Am I still only doing deadlifts on B days? Or now only squats is done on B days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 03/10/2022 - 19:08

Yes, still do deadlifts on B Days. Simply switch the two exercises. Easy!

Posted on: Mon, 02/28/2022 - 07:11

Hello! When I do the Over head press and come down with the bar I have a kind of zap in my right lower arm that shoots down. This only happens when doing this exercise and when I lay the bar down it stops hurting. Does anybody have any advice.


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 02/28/2022 - 08:13

Answering this so everyone can see it. If you experience pain, discomfort, or other unknown feelings while training, go see a physician. We're knowledgeable about fitness, but issues like this sway towards medical, which is meant for doctors.

Posted on: Mon, 02/14/2022 - 23:28

Is it fine to the do the barbell versions of some exercises (bench press, bicep curls)? I think my left and right sides have unequal strength and want to get them at the same level first

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 02/18/2022 - 19:27

Hey Andrew, focusing on dumbbells would actually be better for helping you even out your strength because the weaker side would have no assistance. That said, you can do the barbell versions if you prefer.

Posted on: Mon, 02/14/2022 - 16:10

Can I do straight bar curl in Workout A, and Incline curl in Workout B?