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
Beginner
12 weeks
3
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.

1.7K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sat, 11/24/2018 - 17:52
hasan

Hi,

I have a question about what should I do in the resting time between reps for the same exercise ?
should I set idle and do nothing or what ?

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Posted Fri, 11/16/2018 - 12:22
Christian

What do you mean by warm up before deadlifts? Is it stretching because i don't know how to warm up with weights

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Posted Thu, 11/15/2018 - 00:11
Gustavo

Continuing the last question...I squat with 100kg for five reps, so on the monday's first week should i do 100kgx5 ,and then on wendnesday i should go for 102x5, and friday 104x5? increasing 2 kg literally every training session or only the ''A'' session?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/16/2018 - 10:58
JoshEngland

Hi Gustavo,

Only increase on the "A" session and when capable of doing so. Don't jeopardize form to move up in weight. So long as you increase over time, you'll get results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 11/15/2018 - 00:04
Gustavo

Hey Jason im doing your program and im on the second week.Should I increase weight every training session? I mean, if i start squatting with 100x5 ,should i end the week with 106x5? Also i am noticing that my squat is improving but my bench isn't , what should i do? Thanks man nice program

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Posted Wed, 11/14/2018 - 15:10
Joost

What do I do after the 12 weeks of this program?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/16/2018 - 10:59
JoshEngland

Hi Joost,

You can continue with another phase of this program or give PHUL a shot:
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/phul-workout

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 11/18/2018 - 04:16
Joost

What is the other phase of this program?

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Posted Tue, 11/13/2018 - 07:36
Gorg Stovin

Could I do a Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday split? And how should I lift when cutting?
Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 11/13/2018 - 10:54
JoshEngland

Hi Grog,

Yep, that is fine. For cutting, the sets are dropped to 3 x 5 (mentioned in the text of the article).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 11/11/2018 - 17:27
Kevin

Also can I do 3x5 on deadlifts if my deadlift is rlly weak?thanks for the help

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/12/2018 - 11:23
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

That should be fine.

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Posted Sun, 11/11/2018 - 17:06
Kevin

Hey if I’m still pretty new to lifting about 6 months In can I still do the 5x5 while eating a maintenance and recomping since I’m not too strong yet and still new to lifting

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/12/2018 - 11:25
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

In another mesocycle or you can sub them in for plank and dumbbell shrug.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 11/20/2018 - 17:31
KEvin

Sorry but can u say that Again i don’t undertsand your response to my question?

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Posted Fri, 11/09/2018 - 03:57
Hasan

Hi,
I am really thankful for your answer Josh. It's really motivating.
I have another question, is it okay to shuffle the exercises in the same work out or the arrangement is a must ?
Because, for example, it felt easier for my to do the shoulder press and increase my weight in it before doing the deadlift.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/09/2018 - 14:08
JoshEngland

Hi Hasan,

That should be fine, however be sure to perform your strength based movements prior to accessory work.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 11/08/2018 - 21:52
Samuel

How can i know what weight to use for each exercise, i started with some recomended weights but i want to know how to calculate them

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Posted Wed, 11/07/2018 - 07:27
hasan

Hi,
After one month doing this program I can say that I am becoming stronger. Starting from 10 KG all the way into 50 KG in squat is pretty amazing. However, I am a bit lacking in isolation exercises such as biceps, triceps and shoulders.
I am still unable to go beyond 15 KG in exercises includes straight bar I tried to use alternatives including dumbbells but results still the same. I can barely lift 30 LBS dumbbell in incline curls. Is this normal or I am doing something wrong?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 11/07/2018 - 16:45
JoshEngland

Hi Hasan,

Yes, it is normal for the smaller muscle groups (such as the biceps and triceps) to lag in comparison of much larger muscle groups.

Stick with it though. Being able to move more weight with the larger muscle groups will eventually lead to smaller muscle groups getting stronger as well.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:16
Rehab

What should my macros and calories be if i’m 120 lbs?

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Posted Sun, 11/11/2018 - 17:26
Kevin

2280 for bulking and 1800 for cutting depends how active u are also

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Posted Sun, 11/04/2018 - 09:34
Casey Drogin

I've been doing this workout for 1 month. I'm definitely getting stronger, but 3 days a week feels a bit too light for me. Would it be alright to switch over to a 4-day split like PHUL?

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/05/2018 - 08:36
JoshEngland

Hi Casey,

Sure! PHUL would be a solid program to transition into following this program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 11/01/2018 - 20:49
Har

What are recommended starting weight for each excercise

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Posted Sun, 10/28/2018 - 15:22
Drake

Hi I am very sore still should I still workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/29/2018 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Hi Drake,

Depends how sore - it won't hurt to hold off until you're fully recovered.

You could do something light (like walking, yoga, stretching or a combo) to help circulate some blood flow to help possibly recover faster.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 10/28/2018 - 00:04
REHAB

Yesterday was my first day after a long time, and today I am very sore. Should I still go on Monday?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/29/2018 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi Rehab,

You can give yourself some additional days to recover if you feel it is necessary to do so.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/23/2018 - 22:25
REHAB

Hello, if I have worked out before consistently and non consistently,(Like I did this program before for like 5 months properly) but I am still very weak, and I haven't gone to the gym or eaten properly for months now, am I a beginner? I lost like 20 lbs over the last 2 months just because of malnutrition. My bench is barely 150lbs now and squat and deadlift are terrible now. I decided to get back into the gym, and do this program. Will I still recieve the same gains as if I was beginning if I am not strong enough yet? I started very low.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 10/24/2018 - 10:31
JoshEngland

Hi Rehab,

Yes, but it will take time. Get your nutrition, lifestyle, and sleep in order as best as possible.

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Posted Tue, 10/23/2018 - 07:12
Jan

Hi!
Can I change the tricep extension for an overhead extension? Or is the tricep extension better for a novice?
Thanks in advance!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/23/2018 - 09:51
JoshEngland

Hi Jan,

Sure, that is completely fine to do.

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Posted Tue, 10/16/2018 - 05:32
Nikola

i have one more question, when im doing 5x5, all 5 sets should be the same weight, or i do first set 75% of my 1rm, and then increasing the weight set by set?
Thanks in advance! :D

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Posted Mon, 10/15/2018 - 05:35
Nikola

Hi Man,
I'vee been training for like 1 and half year, i made some nice gains , went for 60kg's bodyweight to 82kg bodyweight, i would like to try this program now, can i do it and make some gains with this program or is it too late for runing this prograam? and i can i add one day in week for shoulders and arms, my arms and shoulders are kinda lagging, i have put a lot of focus on my legs, back and chest in this 1 and a half year of training, so smaller muscle groups are obviously lagging :D

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/15/2018 - 13:21
JoshEngland

Hi Nikola,

Yes, you can use this program at any fitness level. Sure, you can add in an additional day so long as it doesn't negatively affect your ability to recover from your key workouts.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/09/2018 - 04:07
Soso

Hey man, love the routine. I'm thinking about starting it tomorrow. Does it have to be Monday - Wednesday - Friday? And also, I would like to work 4 days/week. Can I skip a rest day and start another cycle, and work 7 days / 2 weeks? If not, can I add some abs and calf workout (i'm a 6'4 "chicken legs") on the last rest day (Day 7)?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/09/2018 - 10:07
JoshEngland

Hi Soso,

I'd actually recommend giving this program a try: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/upper-lower-workout-for-tall-...

No, I'd recommend taking your rest days. Sure, on your rest days, you can include core, mobility, or light cardio work in.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/09/2018 - 00:22
Andy

Should you do warm up sets or just go right into your sets?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/09/2018 - 10:05
JoshEngland
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Posted Mon, 10/08/2018 - 06:53
Blake S

Would Monday, 5x3, Wednesday, 3x5 and then Friday 5x5 be a good form of progression. Progressing 5x5 every workout has gotten extremely difficult

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/08/2018 - 12:55
JoshEngland

Hi Blake,

Absolutely! You can make some solid gains setting it up like that.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 10/05/2018 - 18:03
Ying

Hi Jason,

Thank you for you advice about warm ups. I have another question. During break times between sets, I used to wait few minutes. Can I do other exercises at break time? Like when I break between squarts, I do bench press, So it will save times.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/08/2018 - 14:08
JoshEngland

Hi Ying,

That is not recommended with this particular program. You might enjoy this program, however: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/fast-mass-program

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Posted Wed, 10/10/2018 - 16:34
Ying

Thank you so much.

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Posted Thu, 10/04/2018 - 03:24
Ying

Hi Jason Blaha,

Thank you for your program. I tried 1 month, I gained 4 lbs and looked fit than before. Do we need warm up and strech before and after workout. If need, how to Do it?

Thank you, Ying

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:17
JoshEngland

Hi Ying,

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

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:56
Ying

Than you so much, I will try it next workout.

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Posted Sun, 09/30/2018 - 15:53
ori

hey jason i tried your program and its fire!
but i have one problem with the program
all the workouts routine starts with squat and when im moving on to the bench i cant get the max potential on the bench, my question is can i start one workout trough out the week with bench insted of squat. to get the max potential on the bench?

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Posted Sat, 09/29/2018 - 13:02
mikelee

can i substitute standing press for seated press as my ceiling is too low?