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: 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?

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
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.

M&S Team Badge
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.

M&S Team Badge
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

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/15/2022 - 21:00

Go for it, Jack!

Posted on: Sat, 08/20/2022 - 09:22

what workout is most suited to follow this one?
total package or m&s fullbody for begginer?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 08/20/2022 - 14:55

M&S Full Body because after doing this, you're not going to need a beginner program.

Posted on: Sun, 07/31/2022 - 17:01

I have cardio with friends Tuesday Thursday. I wanted to take some off days in the work week and workout Saturday Sunday. Would it be okay to do back to back workouts? Would I need to modify the exercises or power through? So far it would be:
Monday: off
Tuesday: cardio
Wednesday: lift A/B
Thursday: cardio
Friday: off
Saturday: lift B/A
Sunday life A/B

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 08/11/2022 - 08:05

The author suggests doing his workouts as he instructed. However, if you find this is working for you, give it a full go, Marques. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 16:03

Do i increase the weight of squats by 5 lbs every session or every other session?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 08/09/2022 - 08:18

Try for every session, Joe. If you need to fall back to every other because you miss it, that is okay.

Posted on: Sat, 07/23/2022 - 06:09

Hello, I’m not free on mondays so could I just do this on tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays? Also im about 100 lbs at 5’7 should I add 5 pounds every session?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 21:21

That is why they are listed as Day 1, 2, and so on. Abdul. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are fine.

Add 5 pounds when you feel strong enough to do it. Don't force it because you may get hurt.

Posted on: Thu, 07/21/2022 - 09:22

What should I do on days when my body just can’t perform (Feeling weaker,wrist injury) but still want to lift and progress?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 21:09

How ya doing, Marco? First and foremost, see a doctor about that wrist. Anything a physician says overrides my advice as a dude on the internet.

If you get cleared to train, it seems like a simple answer, but go in and give the best you got that day. Put on a wrist wrap, use whatever substitutions you can, and reduce the weight. Focus on contractions and stretches more than what you're working with.

Posted on: Mon, 07/18/2022 - 21:50

Hello I am not that good at English but I don’t know what I should lift for everything how much ???

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 07/26/2022 - 19:59

That is based on how strong you are. You should at least feel challenged on all sets.

Cesar Villa
Posted on: Mon, 07/18/2022 - 20:38

On my days off. Can I do a kickboxing class?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 07/26/2022 - 19:58

In the article, he suggests no additional cardio. That said, I think there would be a benefit to doing a kickboxing class once a week. You definitely need one to two days off without doing anything.

Cesar Villa
Posted on: Tue, 07/26/2022 - 20:03

Thank you for the advise!!

Posted on: Mon, 07/11/2022 - 18:32

Woudl i be considered a beginner? I have been working out since late november of 2021 i would sometimes miss a few days, i ran a pplpp program for around 12 weeks, before the program i made my own workouts that weren't as effective. i am currently 15 years old weigh 140 and have gone up around 18lbs since i started. my current pr are 135 for bench 225 squat and 330 for deadlift

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 07/17/2022 - 15:25

For a workout like this, I would suggest you train as a beginner, David.

Posted on: Wed, 07/06/2022 - 20:12

Im confused, so I start the workout with weights that are 75% of my 1rm... am I using that 75% weight the whole time each set? Or am I supposed to add weight until I reach my 1rm at the last set?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 07/17/2022 - 15:26

75% for all of the sets. Don't use your 1RM at any point. If you lifted your 1RM for 5, it wouldn't be your 1RM anymore.

Posted on: Sat, 07/02/2022 - 09:28

Hey guys when he says in the video increase the weight by 5lbs every workout. Does he mean add 5lbs on day 1 3 and 5 every week ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 07/10/2022 - 16:36

It means every time you repeat a workout, try to add five more pounds than you did the last workout.

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: Wed, 07/06/2022 - 09:53

Thanks so much! I have one more question. By results you mean how much I can lift after 8 weeks right?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 07/17/2022 - 15:19


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.