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: Wed, 03/22/2023 - 20:42

Is this a powerlifting split or powerbuilding?

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Posted on: Thu, 03/23/2023 - 19:18

It could be considered either, but I would call it a powerbuilding split, myself.

Posted on: Wed, 03/15/2023 - 17:45

Hey, I’m 12 years old, skinny, and trying to build muscle. Is this the right plan for me?

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Posted on: Thu, 03/23/2023 - 19:17

You should probably go through it with a trainer, but yes, it can help you build muscle and get stronger.

Posted on: Sat, 03/11/2023 - 20:54

Is there any videos I can watch that demonstrates on how to specifically perform each exercise ? Or can I just search for vides form other YouTubers on how to perform each of them in YouTube?

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Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2023 - 10:15

We have a whole exercise section with instructions and videos on how to perform them. Just click that Exercises tab at the top of the site.

On many of our programs, the exercises are directly linked to the page so you can watch them.

Posted on: Mon, 03/06/2023 - 19:41

I am a high school junior. I've been lifting but only recently started doing heavy weight for a couple of months now. My bench is around 165. I had an ankle sprain about a month ago so I haven't been able to squat. However, it has healed. My squat was around 215. Not sure what it is now. Definitely less. And my deadlift before my ankle injury was 255-260. Since I have been doing some heavy lifting for a couple months, should I switch it up and do hypertrophy work for higher reps, or is this program (or any other 5x5) great for me?

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Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2023 - 10:14

Hey there, Al. I would say go with hypertrophy training for around 4 weeks, then go back to a program like this one. Just long enough to get back into training regularly and boosting that confidence again. Then, get back to the heavy weights and give them all you got!

Posted on: Wed, 02/22/2023 - 11:15

Hi Im trying to build muscle and get stronger. Would this workout work for a teen?

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Posted on: Sun, 02/26/2023 - 21:52

It might if your nutrition supports the training, Angel. Are you new to training?

Posted on: Fri, 02/17/2023 - 13:25

I’ve been using this training program and have seen a lot of growth. I think it’s about time I changed it up. I would also like to build my back and chest more. I don’t mind sticking to full body

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Posted on: Mon, 02/20/2023 - 21:14
Freddie Denin
Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2023 - 07:02

Hi, I’m 17 years old and I’m trying to get big I weigh in around 58kg and I’m 5 foot 9 , I’m trying to find a workout plan as I this is my first time going gym

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Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2023 - 07:27

You got one in this one, Freddie. I will offer this one as an alternative if you like.


Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 14:54

I’m trying to get into this program but I simply can’t progress on squats. Even with an empty bar, it seems like I can’t get full range of motion due to tightness in my hips. Any tips?

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Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2023 - 13:21

If you're healthy, then you may need to work on your flexibility by doing other movements and stretching. Consider bodyweight lunges, pause squats with only bodyweight, and other stretches that will force you to work on that range of motion.

If you're dealing with a health issue, disregard all of that and see a doctor.

Posted on: Mon, 01/02/2023 - 05:44

Hey I'm a beginer and I want to get bigger and stronger.
There is one problem, I am 12 years old, would this workout
work or affect me considering I haven't passed puberty yet?

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Posted on: Sat, 01/14/2023 - 18:13

You need something a lot simpler than this, Ben. Training is great, even at your age, but I suggest talking with a local trainer or coach to show you the basics of the weight room. Learning form and how to train with proper weight alone would help you this early on. Once you get familiar with a weight room, then come on back here to M&S, and we can help you take that knowledge to the next level.

Posted on: Fri, 11/25/2022 - 16:46

Hello, I am 14 turning 15 soon, weighing about 190. And I am also around 5,11. I want to focus on losing fat, and building muscle. What should I do nutrition wise? And is this workout good for what I am attempting to achieve? I mostly have fat in my thighs rather than my belly. Also, how long should I continue this workout for? And what should I do afterwards? Ultimately, I just want that number on the scale to decrease. Thanks for reading!

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Posted on: Sat, 11/26/2022 - 12:59

This should help with the nutrition part. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/fat-loss

This workout can help, but you should also consider this one. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/12-week-fat-destroyer

As for what to do afterwards, wait until you finish the one you do now, and then set new goals to pick a workout for.

Posted on: Sun, 11/27/2022 - 20:46

Alright sounds good, Thank you very much Roger!

Posted on: Tue, 11/01/2022 - 00:37

Laying beside my sleeping wife so I cannot watch the video right now. But I am currently cutting I read that the cutting routine for this is 3x5 main 2x8 other. Can someone explain to me the reasoning for this? And should I not do the 5x5 and 3x8 if cutting?

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Posted on: Mon, 11/07/2022 - 11:40

Hey Pete, not sure what the explanation would be. As long as you're eating enough to recover from the training, I personally feel 5x5 and 3x8 would be fine.

Posted on: Sat, 10/15/2022 - 11:51

Hello, I’ve been following this program for exactly 2 months now. Never worked out before, but I want to make sure that I’m on the right track because I feel like my numbers are barely improving. Mainly bench press and OHP.

I’m 24, 5’8 - my bench press is now (after 2 months) 45kg 5x5, started the
program with an empty bar, OHP is 30kg 5x5.

Rest of my workouts seems acceptable, especially squats.


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Posted on: Sun, 10/16/2022 - 19:37

Some lifts improve faster than others. It depends on the individual. Nonetheless, 15 kg in two months isn't bad. Most advanced people would love to have that level of improvement so quickly. I think you're on a solid pace.

Posted on: Sat, 10/15/2022 - 11:10

I'm trying to focus on size, so I altered the Jason Blaha 2.0 program a bit. Is this okay for a beginner?
Back squat 4x8
Bench press 4x8
Deadlift 3x5 (Workout A)
Pendlay Row 4x8 (Workout B)
antagonistic superset:
Standing press 4x8
Pull-ups 7 reps (odd number superset)
Chin-ups 7 reps (even number superset)

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Posted on: Sat, 10/15/2022 - 11:37

As long as you focus more on form instead of weight, then you should be fine. Let us know how it goes for you.

Posted on: Wed, 10/12/2022 - 18:24

As the article says, Lateral raises are okay to add, but can add Pec Dec or Machine Chest Press?

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Posted on: Thu, 10/13/2022 - 08:18

They should be fine, David.

Luke Russell
Posted on: Mon, 10/10/2022 - 21:14

Is there any exercise that works the lats? Can I do pull up/chin up work as well?

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Posted on: Tue, 10/11/2022 - 07:14

The rows are intended for the lats as well as the upper back, but yes, you can certainly do pullups as well.

Posted on: Mon, 10/10/2022 - 14:34

What program should I do after this? I want to get bigger but also quite a bit stronger as well. Are there programs that incorporate strength and hypertrophy for after I am done with this?

I play hs football and rugby btw.

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Posted on: Mon, 10/10/2022 - 17:08
Posted on: Mon, 10/10/2022 - 19:52

And I should do this after the 5x5 correct?

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Posted on: Tue, 10/11/2022 - 07:13

When you finish up with the 5 x 5 program, then yes, move on to this.

Luke Russell
Posted on: Sun, 10/09/2022 - 23:22

Is this enough for leg development?

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Posted on: Mon, 10/10/2022 - 17:08

It is for leg strength, and you could see development to go along with it. If you're more concerned about development and size, then you may want a different program.

Posted on: Wed, 10/05/2022 - 12:11

I've been doing the program for 2 weeks and I love it. But there is many compound exercises in every workout. I've been doing 2 warmups for every large compound exercise so far. Am i doing it correct or are you not supposed to have an warmups after the first excercise?
And what are the procentage rates on the warmups?

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Posted on: Sat, 10/08/2022 - 17:25

You can do them if you feel you need to, but they aren't mandatory after the first exercise.

I recommend 50-60% on warmups, but you may find that 40% works. If so, go with it.

Posted on: Fri, 09/30/2022 - 20:48

Could I swap traditional deadlift for trap bar deadlift? Also is it 75 % for all 5 sets of the heavy lifts and 65% on the 8 rep sets?

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Posted on: Tue, 10/04/2022 - 07:22

Hi, Steve. You can, but if you have the double handle trap bar, use the lower handle for the best range of motion. You're correct on the percentages.

Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 13:05

I am new to training, currently in week 10 of 5x5 Stronglifts. I train every other day and like it.

I'm planning on switching to this program once 12 weeks of 5x5 are up. Is it feasible to carry on doing every other day, or does the program *require* the 2 days rest at the end of the week?

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Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:11

I would suggest starting with the 2 days of rest starting out. If you notice your energy is high and recovery is going well, then you could switch it to training every other day.

Posted on: Fri, 09/23/2022 - 14:09

If you are done with the novice jason blaha program. And you would for example start a for example 4 week or any other intermediette program. How would you use the deloading technique?

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Posted on: Sat, 09/24/2022 - 09:13

I would either take a full week off, or I would do 50% volume for a week, Christopher. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Fri, 09/23/2022 - 13:05

I'm 190cm tall and I got quite low body fat and weight about 80kg. Right now I only bench 80kg x 5. Is this workout plan good for me?

Ussualy i did a workout i believe is called power + bodybuilding.

For example a push, pull, legs where you have 1-2 power exercise as deadlift etc in the beginning and then do body-building part after that.

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Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:00

I think this would be a good one for you, Christopher. You will definitely get stronger, and you may notice some size as well.

Posted on: Thu, 09/15/2022 - 11:07

Have been away from the gym life for a while. Mainly was mainly into powerlifting. I see you recommend this for beginners.but would this workout also be a good for a getting back into working out?
As well Thanks for all the great content you provide.

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Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2022 - 16:20

Yes, Richard. This would be great for someone making a comeback to the iron life. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Fri, 09/09/2022 - 09:53

Can I replace bar curls with dumbbell curls? I seem to struggle with even empty bar, but I can easily curl 25lbs dumbbell