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: 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!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 07/01/2023 - 07:28

It depends on how long you've been training. If you're new to this, then you're going to see results regardless. If you've been at this a while (over a year), then you may be better off with a split system. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Mon, 05/29/2023 - 12:48

Hello, I wanted to ask if all the sets are working sets or they also include warm sets? For example 5x5 squads are 5 work sets? Warm sets I have to do apart? Asking because a lot of people say that beginners have to do only 1-2 work sets per exercise.
Thank you!
Thank you !

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 08:32

All sets listed are work sets. Add warmup sets at the beginning if you like, but this program emphasizes more strength than getting bigger. If size is your desired prize, then two sets each would be fine. However, you won't suffer any loss by doing the entire program as is.

Posted on: Wed, 05/17/2023 - 15:24

Not getting bigger/stronger biceps or chest. What to do? I do eat plenty and get a lot of protein and sleep. I’ve had progress everywhere else except these 2

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 08:31

It may be time to change it up, Martin. Check out this article to find another program to consider, and if you don't find something here, then maybe I can find you another option.


Posted on: Wed, 05/17/2023 - 01:03

Can I do DB Chest Press instead of Chest Press?
Alternate DB Curls instead of bar Curls?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/17/2023 - 06:25

If you don't have a barbell, then dumbbells will work until you get your hands on a barbell.

Devansh nawani
Posted on: Wed, 04/26/2023 - 15:50

Can I run this program every alternate day

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/02/2023 - 13:14

The author suggests running the program as is, but if you must train every other day, it beats not doing anything at all. Go for it, and please let us know how it works for you. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Mon, 04/10/2023 - 23:09

What to do when you fail a lift in 5x5?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 04/24/2023 - 22:06

Decrease the weight next time until you get the 5x5, then go back up. If you get stuck again, stick with the same weight and keep trying.

Posted on: Sun, 04/09/2023 - 10:12

Will you lose weight during these workouts?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 04/24/2023 - 22:05

Not designed for that purpose, but if you eat to support weight loss while keeping the protein high, then you might notice yourself getting leaner.

Posted on: Sat, 04/01/2023 - 18:14

My goal is to gain more muscle and get stronger. Right now I can bench 135 for 4x5,is this the right program for me. Right now im doing this program its, bench 4x5, squat 3x5, pull ups 3xfailure, incline press 2x8-12, rows 3x10,lateral raises 3xfailure, and pec fly 3xfailure

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

Is this a powerlifting split or powerbuilding?

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 02/26/2023 - 21:52

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

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 04/24/2023 - 21:59

Then I think you will be satisfied with this program. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

Posted on: Sat, 04/08/2023 - 14:16

I have a few months of experience, not much.

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

M&S Team Badge
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

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
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!

M&S Team Badge
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?