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.

Blayden McDonald
Posted on: Thu, 09/09/2021 - 06:15

I'm a young athlete and want explosive strength should i do all the exercises explosive or should i find a different workout plan?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/23/2021 - 13:42

Hi, Blayden. You can focus on explosive strength with the compound movements such as the squat and bench presses. This should help you work on generating that explosive power you're looking for.

Prabhjot Singh
Posted on: Mon, 08/09/2021 - 22:26

I am a beginner going gym for 1.5 yrs and still skinny
FAT . I want to gain mass and strength. Is this workout
Split is better for doing it or can u suggest me some
Other split

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2021 - 09:46

This is a great workout plan for increasing strength. I'd also suggest checking out our How to Build Muscle guide, here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/muscle-building

Jake Binetti
Posted on: Tue, 07/20/2021 - 13:15

Hi! I was wondering how many rounds of this you entire workout you should do.

Posted on: Sat, 07/31/2021 - 14:51

1 round

Posted on: Sat, 07/17/2021 - 13:57

thank you

Posted on: Sat, 07/17/2021 - 13:55

what weight must i start each exercise? 50% of my strength or high or low? do i first set (for example bench press) with 65% and last set 100% of my strength?

how i should warm up ?before after each exercise or first of workout for all exercises?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2021 - 09:55

Hey ali - check out the video at the beginning of this workout for more information

Pete K
Posted on: Tue, 07/13/2021 - 14:37

It's a 5x5 PROGRAM........no real magic secrets here. 5x5's have been a staple in the strength community for a long time. Every once in a while, someone tries to put their own spin on it. Bottom line, they are great for increasing maximal strength and power output.
I usually do a 5x5 after a hypertrophy program now. I used to subscribe to the whole "if you gain strength you will build muscle", which has some truth to it, but doesn't work as well as building bigger muscle, while gaining some strength. Then dropping the reps, upping the weight and really focusing on making those bigger muscles stronger.

p.s. the author is more infamous than respected. I would do a little more homework before you render an opinion on his credentials.

Posted on: Wed, 07/07/2021 - 05:01


I will do Chinups on A instead of Barbell Curls, this should be possible regarding to Jasons Video.

My question is, with 2x Squats, 2x Barbell Row, 1x Deadlift, 1x Hyperext and 1x Chinups (for A & B combined), isn't that too much Back Workout? Should I skip the Hyperextensions when i do chinups, or am I fine with doing them?

Narain Kalicharan
Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2021 - 04:04

Does this program increase muscle mass
And helps in hypertrophy?
I'm a beginner for 2-3 years of no
proper structured training. Skinny fat
At 170cm and 72kg

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2021 - 09:50

Hey Narain - this is a strength-focused workout. It will develop some muscle mass, however, that isn't the main focus.

Narain Kalicharan
Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2021 - 10:11

Thanks miss. It would be very helpful if
You recommend some suitable workout plan
for me. Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 07/07/2021 - 09:47
Posted on: Wed, 07/07/2021 - 05:14

Workout Summary

Main Goal: Build Muscle

This is written just at the beginning of the article. I understand that building strenght is a main focus of that program, but if muscle building is not THE o A main focus, whats the point on naming it as such?

I don't understand.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 07/07/2021 - 09:47

Hey Fred - that's a mistake on our part! I'll update that now.

Posted on: Mon, 06/14/2021 - 12:45

I've worked out on / off for the past 10 years. Never really staying consistent. The past 3 months I've been extremely dedicated and the past 1.5 months I've been doing a 5 day split.

I want to transition to this since ideally my focus is improving my soccer performance. Would moving from a 5-day split to a 3 day full body negatively impact my progress in anyway?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 06/15/2021 - 09:01

Hey Eric - a 3 day split will most likely help you recover more, especially if you're doing soccer as well. Try it out, see how your body reacts, and then you can adjust from there.

Posted on: Tue, 06/08/2021 - 13:41

I was curious how much do you increase on progress days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 06/09/2021 - 09:41

Hey Jordan - the video at the beginning of this workout should explain the weigh increase

Muhammet Arslan
Posted on: Mon, 05/31/2021 - 17:42

Ladies and Gentlemen, I ran the program for 7 months. At the end of 7 months, I left the program due to the arrival of Ramadan and Covid-19, and the halls remained closed, opening tomorrow.

Starting: Black and White: 72kg
Bench Press:40KG 5x5
Overhead Press: 20KG 5x5
Deadlift: 40KG 5x5
Squat:30KG 5x5 (No Squat Equipment, No Power Plant for 3 months)
Bent'Over Row: 20KG 5x5
I also did pull-up exercises, normally I could barely pull one.

7 months later: BW82KG
Bench Press: 85KG 5x5
Overhead Press: 55KG 5x5
Deadlift: 115KG 5x5
Squat:85KG 5x5 (I know very little, but the reason is written above)
Bent'over Row: 70KG 5x5 (Cheat)
My pull-ups: 5x8 with bodyweight

Türkçesi (Turkish)

Beyler, Bayanlar program 7 Aylık bir süre boyunca yaptım, 6 ay sonunda Ramazan'ın girmesi ve Covid-19 yüzünden programı bırakmıştım ulaştığım sonuçlar çok iyiydi.

Başlangıçım: BW:72KG
Bench Press:40KG 5x5
Overhead Press : 20KG 5x5
Deadlift:40KG 5x5
Squat:30KG 5x5 ( Çömelme Ekipmanı yoktu 3 ay boyunca Güç İstasyonu yoktu)
Bent'Over Row:20KG 5x5
Ayrıca Barfiks denemeleri de yaptım normalde 1 taneyi zor çekiyordum

6 ay sonra:BW82KG
Bench Press: 85KG 5x5
Overhead Press: 55KG 5x5
Deadlift:115KG 5x5
Squat:85KG 5x5 (Biliyorum çok az fakat sebebi yukarı da yazılı)
Bent'over Row: 70KG 5x5 (Hile)
Barfiksim: 5x8 vücut ağırlığı ile

Posted on: Wed, 05/26/2021 - 11:06

Hello! English is my third langauge and I don't fully understand what progressing every other day on the cutting version means. Can someone help me out?

I think it looks like this but I am not sure, can someone help me visualize?

A progress
B progress
A progress
B progress

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 05/28/2021 - 10:25

Hey Thezzearn - your example is correct.

Posted on: Wed, 05/26/2021 - 08:02

Hi, I've been doing the 2.0 for 2 weeks now and it feels great, however the days between the workouts (Tuesday, Thursday), I tend to get very bored and would love to hit the gym if possible, is there anything I can in those off-days that you can recommend?

I've been doing an ABS workout which is 10 minutes on Tuesdays but it doesn't feel enough, so is there anything i can do on my offdays? I know i'm supposed to let the muscles rest but still I don't really feel exhausted even doing PRs every workout.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/26/2021 - 09:52

Hey Edwin - it's best to follow the program as written. Abs are great to add in on your off days.

Posted on: Sat, 05/22/2021 - 11:24

Will you see any results aesthetically from doing this workout?

Posted on: Sat, 05/22/2021 - 11:21

How much weight should I start off with? And will this workout actually work for someone who is trying to bulk up?

Muhammet Arslan
Posted on: Mon, 05/31/2021 - 17:53

It will be efficient for you to start with an empty bar, if the bar is an olympic bar, it will already be 20 kg. For Bench Press, Overhead Press or Bent Over Row, empty bar ie 20 KG is sufficient, at the beginning, increase the weight of 2.5 kg every week. After grasping the Deadlift and Squat movement, start with an empty weight, that is, 20 kg. This program is a great program for both getting stronger and losing weight.

Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2021 - 02:58

Hi , :).
Can i do leg workout in my rest day ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2021 - 10:09

Hey Kanan - I would not recommend that. It's best to follow the program as written.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/24/2021 - 09:44

Yes you can

Posted on: Sat, 05/22/2021 - 04:19

Hi, can i do tricep extension with dumbell ?

Dominic Brown
Posted on: Thu, 05/13/2021 - 07:43

I've been doing a simplified 5x5 routine for a while now and have been enjoying it so far. Could I do this routine in 2 parts in one day? Eg. The 1st 3 exercises in the morning and then finish the routine midday or in the evening?
Would that work?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 05/13/2021 - 09:51

Hey Dominic - ideally you'd do all the exercises in one session. But, yes, you could break them up.

derek marcell barron
Posted on: Tue, 05/11/2021 - 16:28

can do a lot of these exercises on a smith machine?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 05/13/2021 - 09:50

Hey derek - for this program specifically, it's not recommended to do these movements with a smith machine

Posted on: Tue, 04/20/2021 - 20:02

Please answer !! I watched Jason’s new video on changes he would make on the 5x5 and switching from 5x5 to 3x5 is that on a per lift basis or once all lifts have reached the threshold he prescribed? for example if I reach a 225 lb squat do I change to 3x5 on that lift and my other lifts are still at 5x5 because I haven’t reached that threshold yet!

Posted on: Sat, 05/08/2021 - 00:14

Just from what I gathered in his video, he stated once you reach 315 for squat it would be optimal to lower the workload to 3x5. I would have to agree with you that you would probably only lower that specific lift you reached the prescribed limit from 5x5 to 3x5

Oisin blunt
Posted on: Tue, 04/13/2021 - 08:58

Hi, what workout can i do after completion? Or do i carry on with this?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 04/13/2021 - 09:07

Hey Oisin - depends on your goals. Are you looking to gain strength, add muscle, lose fat?

Oisin blunt
Posted on: Tue, 04/13/2021 - 09:10

Gain strength and muscle

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 04/14/2021 - 09:37
Posted on: Sun, 04/11/2021 - 18:16

How often do we progress on the face pulls and cable crunches on the novice 2.0?

Piyush Ram
Posted on: Sun, 04/11/2021 - 12:31

Which is better for muscle gain: 5X5 split or the 2.0?

Posted on: Tue, 04/20/2021 - 18:37

I say 5x5 because it has more volume

Posted on: Fri, 04/09/2021 - 14:03

For the novice program 2.0 for the 1 set of 20 how often do I progress and add weight to my face pulls and standing crunches

Ebrahim Salehi
Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 15:19

hi my main goal is strength but will i still gain a decent amount of muscle from this

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 04/08/2021 - 09:53

Hey Ebrahim - if you're diet is on point, you will most likely see some muscle gains as well.

Posted on: Fri, 04/02/2021 - 10:05

Hi! In replace of bent over rows could I use the row cable machine or is the bent over row targeting different muscles? Thank you!

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