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.

1.6K Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 06/19/2018 - 19:50
Marcos Soler

What if my squat is 415 but bench is 205 should I follow this routine?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 19:14
Brendon W

I am trying to head back to the gym soon. I am pretty weak but weigh ~180lbs. I have small arms and wrists. I was just wondering what my diet should consist of (I have malabsorption issues with my stomach) so eating a lot is not for me. Maybe 2 meals a day. How many calories should I be taking in and what should my starting weights be? thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/18/2018 - 08:53

Hi Brendon,

I'd recommend seeking professional help in person if you are having digestive issues - both for the digestive help and a dietitian to recommend specific eating patterns. These are issues you want to get help from a qualified individual, not a random commentor on a blog.

I know it's probably not the answer you were hoping to hear, but it's the best piece of advice I can give.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 06/09/2018 - 21:05

Is this program to be run for a year or 12 weeks?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/07/2018 - 21:38

How should i train once i finish with the 12 weeks program?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 06/09/2018 - 15:46

I have the same question, do you have a program to get shreded?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/07/2018 - 19:40

How much weight should i add every week?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/07/2018 - 03:10

I don't se the chain ups at all in the program

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 06/01/2018 - 14:22

Thoughts on running this program as an intermediate?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/01/2018 - 15:57

Hi Michael,

That's completely fine to do.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 06/01/2018 - 14:09

Just wondering do you recommend any pre-workout stretching/exercises or its not necessary at all?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/01/2018 - 15:57
No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/27/2018 - 05:31

I've been on the cutting version, and am planning on going back to the standard version. Should I de-load since I'm going to be adding sets?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:32

Hi Matthew,

I'd recommend a deload.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/17/2018 - 13:39

Can I swap standing press for seated press? I can’t seem to step it up keeping good form with standing press. Also finding it hard to step up my bicep curl. Maybe working out after a hot day at work (highly active job) could be affecting this?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 10:41

can I substitute the barbell bench press for the dumbbell bench press

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 10:54

Hi Kev,

Sure, I don't see why not.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 05/07/2018 - 03:26
Biran Mistuni

Very easy wrkut..... have done it with at a young age... what now to do that is not so easy ? this is only if u r weak and cnnt be strong quickly.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/06/2018 - 18:35

Do you think it would be a good idea to change Bent over rows for deficit deadlifts on workout A?
Would it help more than rows for deadlift strength?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/04/2018 - 15:34

How should one progress on the hyper extension ( or good morning) since with those you can't necessarily progress the same way you would on the heavy compund lifts

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/27/2018 - 08:42
Diego Fernandez

When you say one should do mobility work if you have trouble starting with squats, what do you mean? Is there any guide for this?

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/24/2018 - 22:09

Would you recommend performancing this program 2 early morning around 2 hrs after waking up in an empty stomach.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/25/2018 - 08:56

Hi Bato,

I would not recommend working out on an empty stomach.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/22/2018 - 14:16

Could I change de BB row for another horizontal or vertical pull. Or should I do Stiff Legged Deadlifts instead.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:19

Hi Manuel,

I'd recommend subbing for another horizontal pull.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/21/2018 - 13:50

Hi I am 13 turning 14 in 5 months and want to know if it's ok to run this program. I have been lifting for quite a while and my form and my diet is completely fine. Also in Jason Blahas video where he says what he would change about the program now he says in workout a he would take out the tricep extensions and the barbell shrugs so is that what I need to do just run this program but take them out in workout a ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/13/2018 - 09:49
Rohan sahriar

Hi I've been gyming for Nearly 1.5 years I look a. But aesthetic but I'm not that strong and when I started doing gym I used to do a lot of chest and barely did back and legs . Now I can see that I have rounded shoulders , hunch and anterior pelvic tilt. Can this program help me fix it and and if I included lots of stretching will my posture improve.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:08

if i am not strong enough to do Deadlift what should I do?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/14/2018 - 06:33

Deadlift with the weight you can

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/12/2018 - 09:46

Is 195 bench, 245 squat, 260 Deadlift intermediate

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/11/2018 - 08:12

What to do after this program?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/11/2018 - 09:24

Hi Ni,

You can continue performing this program if you're still seeing results.

Or you can move on to something a little more advanced. The link below would be a solid transition from this program.


Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/11/2018 - 16:00

Is it ok if I go to that program without meeting the goals of this program? I am not yet at 225 bench 315 squat 405 deadlift.. not close. But I have followed this program for 2 months and would like to take a break. I will come back to it, is this okay?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:47

Hi Ni,

Absolutely! Take a break and perform a different workout routine. Come back to this one whenever you're ready.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/10/2018 - 14:47

Hello , I have two questions , my firts question is I measure184 cm for 70 kg so i am skinny but before I did street workout and never do workout room so do you think that this programme is good for me ? and for how long ? and I am 18 years that a problem ? and my last question is what a warm up is good for this programme ? Sorry if I don't speak well becaus I from france

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/10/2018 - 16:09

Hi Karim,

Yes, this is an excellent program to begin with.

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

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/08/2018 - 23:41

Is this program just for a foundation of strength or can you build muscle off of it??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/09/2018 - 09:17

Hi Sjc,

You should see muscle gains from performing this workout program.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/07/2018 - 10:36

What do you recommend after this program?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/05/2018 - 18:03

How about willing to go 4 or 5 days a week to the gym?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/04/2018 - 07:20

Is there any android app to log my workout?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/04/2018 - 00:25

I know that David laid used this program but for how long?
And what did he use right after?
Please reply

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/03/2018 - 22:37

So I’ve been following this program for about 2 months, on and off.. maybe took a week or two off for recovery and injuries.
I would definitely recommend this program.
I have increased my
125 5x5 bench press to 150 5x5 roughly
155 5x5 squat to 185 5x5 roughly
175 1x5 deadlift to 210 1x5 roughly
Still very weak but I believe it’s okay progress for 2 months on and off
I have gone from 120 lbs to 132 lbs in weight
I’m looking to change the program now and do you think I am still a beginner? I feel much stronger than how I look now, and before it was the opposite. My question is what program do you recommend now?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 05/07/2018 - 07:43

You are very much still a beginner. A lot of bodybuilders, fitness you tuber's etc would say your not intermediate until your 1rm are bench 225 squat 315 deadlift 365.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:02
Xavier Bohorquez

hey guys, I've been doing icf for 2 months and I've gotten good results but I still have a few questions. I'm not sure where I should be implementing chin ups and dips in the program, I've just been following the program exactly as it's shown above. Also, when doing curls, what's the difference between using dumbbells and barbells? I've only been using the bar but don't know if I should be alternating.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/01/2018 - 05:39

Hi all. I'm working out for around a month. My coordination for the excersises isn't perfect yet. Since my stats are: 180 cm 88 KG and 26.5 bodyfat Im going to cut first. Trying to eat around 2300 KCAL and get 160 gram of protein every day. Since Im eating 500-600 kcal under my maintance I dropped some of the work from Jason's program. After Ill reach around 12% bodyfat Ill lean bulk and will follow the program without subsitutes however untill that time Im thinking about this routine:

Squat 3x5
(Incline) bench 3x5
Bent over row 3x5
(assited) Chin ups 3x5
Hyper extensions 2x8

Squats 3x5
Deadlift 1x5
(assited) Pull up 3x5
Military press 3x5
Dips 2x8
Face pulls 2x8

Would appreciate feedback

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/02/2018 - 09:59

Hi Hans,

That is a solid way to tailor this program template to better fit your needs.

Good luck!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/29/2018 - 01:06

Can I incorporate some calisthenics into this program, such as push ups and pull ups?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 03/29/2018 - 09:11

Hi Kevin,

Feel free to add them or sub them in for a similar exercises on either workout day.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 03/28/2018 - 09:46

can i bench every sessions