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 it's effectiveness.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Full Body
Beginner
3
Barbell, Cables, EZ Bar
Male & Female

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. Read this.

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.

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About The Author
Jason Blaha is a well respected YouTube celebrity, mastermind of Ice Cream Fitness, and holder of more inter-planetary titles than any bodybuilder or powerlifter in recorded history.

1.2K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:47
Jay

Hello, my problem is similar to Omar in a sense. I currently don't have the funds for a gym membership and I don't think I will for some time. That said I do have a bar at home and some weights but unfortunately not enough to hit my 5 rep max, let alone continue to stack more weight on each week. I know Jason mentioned in his video to not play around with sets/reps but would it be fine in my case to change it to something like a 4x8 or 3x10-12 for all of the 5x5s? As that way I can continue to stack weight and progress. Would it still get me similar results? Or would it be detrimental to the program? Thanks.

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Posted Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:23
Omer

hey, I go to a pretty bad school gym and I don't have any access to a squat rack or a good Olympic bar to deadlift with. I can do the other movements fine other than the fact I have to clean the bar for my press, does that change anything? and what can I do about the squats and deadlifts? I already maxed out the dumbell stack for both of them, I know its a pretty damn big problem but that's all I have and I don't want to resort to bodybuilding pump training. so as an exception can I do leg press instead of squats? (i assume that it's not as good but will it somewhat work?) and how much will I lose if I won't deadlift? hopefully ill find a gym ill be able to afford soon, but for now, any help is appreciated

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Posted Thu, 02/16/2017 - 13:08
Steven Killmar

I am a retired Naval Petty Officer and a current Immigration Officer with USCIS. I am not a novice lifter, but a former power lifter that stopped lifting due to injury. I am now 57 years old with a messed up back, knees and shoulders. I am going to tackle your program here to build the basic strength needed to get into a good place for fitness. I am weighing in a 325, have diabetes, arthritis and fibromyalgia, all that can be negated by an exercise program. I have a straight bar with 100 lbs, two dumbbells with 25 lbs., and a 35 lb. dumbbell, two Swiss balls, a mat and a volley ball I use to alternate under each arm for push ups. With all this in mind, can you think of any modifications I should make or any exercises I should add?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/16/2017 - 13:40
JoshEngland

Hi Steven,

Thank you for your service and I'm sorry to hear you're battling back, knee, and shoulder pain along with diabetes, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. You're right, a solid workout and nutrition program can indeed aid and even help reverse some of those symptoms.

With that said, I'd highly recommend working with a professional trainer (in person) along with your doctor to develop the appropriate plans of attack. Plenty of people can give you online advice without knowing your whole situation (your movement patterns, muscle imbalances, medication history, etc) or without the necessary background required to give you valid advice. Some of which could lead you down a road to injury, which we certainly don't want.

It might be an investment initially, but the payoff will be well worth it in the long run when you're back in great health. I know this isn't the advice you probably wanted to hear, but I hope that it helps.

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Posted Thu, 02/16/2017 - 13:47
Steven Killmar

Fortunately my kid sister is a trainer, masseuse and a competitive bodybuilder, so I will hit her up for some assistance, in the mean time, I ride the bike and perform basic motion lifts with weight I can handle. Thanks for your advise!

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Posted Thu, 02/16/2017 - 08:35
David

Hello. The gym where I work out (Planet Fitness....yeah, I know) doesn't have a free-weight barbell / rack, so doing things like the Bent Over Rows on the Smith machine doesn't seem to give me the correct posture / technique. I was wondering if the Bent Over Rows could be substituted with an Inverted Row, which can easily be done on the Smith machine, but would rely solely on my body weight to target the same muscle group. If not, is there a substitution you could recommend to replace the Bent Over Rows that would be suitable? Dumbbell Bent over rows, maybe?

Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/16/2017 - 09:06
JoshEngland

Hi David,

Personally, in this scenario I would sub out the barbell variations for dumbbell variations to get the most from this workout.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 02/16/2017 - 09:36
David

Ok. Cool. That sounds like a plan. I had already subbed the Barbell Bench Press for Dumbbell Press. Thanks for the quick reply.

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Posted Sun, 02/12/2017 - 08:49
John Moore

Hello there. I've been running this program for a little over half a year, and my arms haven't grown at all. What should I do? I'm doing everything right, trust me, everything. Thank you.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/13/2017 - 09:47
JoshEngland

Hi John,

You may need to train them with more volume. This program doesn't provide a lot of volume for the arms as it is a novice program focusing on promoting overall strength.

If you want to continue on with this program, try adding either extra sets to your arm exercises or additional exercises to the routine to target the arms.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 02/11/2017 - 23:18
Riley

How would I go about adding power cleans to this routine?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/13/2017 - 09:45
JoshEngland

Hi Riley,

Power cleans are not really a novice exercise and this is a novice program. If you really want to add them in, I'd suggest substituting them in for one of the squat 5x5 exercises.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 02/10/2017 - 17:42
Some Randy Lifter

Hi there, I have been running this program for 7 months now, it's the first and only program I've ran. I have several questions if you don't mind.

(1) My bench just won't go up. It's only increased 25kg this whole 7 months, and it's stayed the same weight since the 6th of January (90kg 5x5).

(2) Every single one of my muscles is imbalanced. It's only now that I am starting to notice. Right trap > left trap, right lat > left lat, left pec > right pec, left shoulder > right shoulder, left tricep > right tricep, right bicep > left bicep, left side of abs > right side of abs (YES EVEN MY ABS), left outer quad > right outer quad; right teardrop > left teardrop, right calf > left calf. (Unsure about glutes and hams, hard to know). I think these imbalances are caused from my right arm not being able to extend as much as my left, and my right arm might even be a tiny tiny bit longer than my left, which just messes up every single one of my lifts in the smallest ways but it all builds up over time. Wondered what I can do about this? They're all basically unnoticeable, you can only see the asymmetry when I flex those muscles; relaxed I look fine.

(3) My arms haven't grown at all. I've put on 20lbs in these 7 months, and apparently none of it has gone to my arms. I don't expect them to grow an inch, but they are literally the exact same size, to the exact cm, literally the exact same cm ffs. The only muscles that seem to grow are my lats and my quads, I am dead serious, and my lats and quads were already big (for a noob) when I first started. It seems like all my other body's growth is just the fat from the bulk. What do I do? I am considering just doing a different program altogether because this program just doesn't seem work for me.

FAQ: Yes I sleep enough, yes I am in a 500+ cal surplus, yes I get enough micros, yes I get enough protein, yes I take creatine, yes I am consistent, yes I am actually trying, yes my form is good. For (1) Yes I've tried deloading.

Thanks in advance.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/13/2017 - 09:43
JoshEngland

Hi Randy,

It might be time to try a new workout. If you're not making progress to your goals and you've been using a program for a long duration of time, it's probably time to find a new program that you enjoy and it does help your progress. We have plenty to choose from, below is the link to our workouts database. I'll still do my best to answer all of your questions though:

1. If you want to increase your bench press, you've got to strengthen the primary and secondary muscles involved with pressing. That means the chest, triceps, and front delts. You'll also want strong and sturdy medial and rear delts and lats to help balance the weight so you can press in a smooth and controlled manner. There are several different exercises that can be incorporated into strengthening this, but you must first gauge which muscles need to be a priority for you (which groups you lag in).

2. There aren't many unilateral exercises in this workout. If you want to correct imbalances, one easy way to do this is by incorporating unilateral and isolation movements into your workout program.

3. There aren't a whole lot of arm isolation exercises in this workout. If your goal is to increase your arm circumference, you have to train them with hypertrophy rep ranges. That means anywhere between 6-12 sets of 8-12 reps for each muscle group within the arm on each training day. I'd start out on the lower end of that volume range and progress as you need to. We also have some great arm workouts in the database link below.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions!

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

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Posted Wed, 02/08/2017 - 20:54
retep mellur

what adjustments should be made if your older than 50 with lifting experience..??thanks

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Posted Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:14
Lambros Pasal

is it ok to substitute skull crashers with tricep pushdowns with the cable?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:04
JoshEngland

Hi Lambros,

Sure, you could make that substitution.

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Posted Tue, 02/07/2017 - 22:53
Peter Mullen

2 days per week only?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:04
JoshEngland

Hi Peter,

It's 3 days per week. You preform them in a ABA fashion,

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 02/07/2017 - 16:19
Anthony

Quick question - are there no warmup sets done in this program? I feel like I will end up hurting myself if I don't warm up. I plan on starting to follow this very soon

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/07/2017 - 16:33
JoshEngland

Hi Anthony,

You should always properly warm up prior to lifting heavy weights. Check out this article for a few good warm ups you can do:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 02/04/2017 - 20:44
Peter

Is it normal for the lower back to feel exercised when doing bent over rows?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/06/2017 - 09:30
JoshEngland

Hi Peter,

Yes it is. Be careful not to bend over to far when performing bent over rows though. You should feel your core working to stabilize you, but if you're feeling a serious strain, odds are you're either using too much weight for your ability or you're bent over too far.

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Posted Sat, 02/04/2017 - 13:17
Eamon

Hello

Can I do extra direct forearm work on the off days?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/06/2017 - 09:28
JoshEngland

Hi Eamon,

Sure, you're more than welcome to do that.

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 20:09
Filip Bahunek

So, I am confused on how to actually do the 5x5. For example, say my 5 rep max is 155, do I do 5 reps of 155 for 5 sets, or do I work my way up? Like do I start the first set with say 125, then move to 135, then end up at 155 for the last set?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/02/2017 - 10:07
JoshEngland

Hi Filip,

That will depend on your own ability. You could certainly program it this way, although some might struggle to get all of the reps for 5 sets of their 5 rep max. It would be beneficial to have a spotter.

Personally, I like to work my way up to my 5 rep max. So my 5x5 looks something like this:
80%x5, 85%x5, 90%x5, 95%x5, 100%x5.

Hope that helps!

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Posted Thu, 02/02/2017 - 23:13
Filip Bahunek

Yea, Thank you for the input! I feel that this is a pretty fundamental component of the workout routine, and yet, it isn't really covered in the video at all... I wonder what Jason's view on this is...

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 10:11
Cetin

Hey, I have several questions:
- It is expected to incrase the weights 2,5kgs at every training. However, I think that it should be some percentage value rather than a definite value. Suppose, A's inital weight of training is 100kg, B's initial weight of training is 10kg. Adding 2,5kgs may be good for A, but definitely it wil get very close to limits of B and B will probably cannot lift at his 3rd training. How do you interpret this?

-Is it really necessary /possible to add some weights at every single training? Again as in the above example, if your starting weights are around 20kgs, it is pretty easy to come to limits in a month. So then? What do you suggest?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 11:17
JoshEngland

Hi Cetin,

The weight increase mentioned above is simply a suggested. It is important to know your own limits. If it takes you longer to add weight, that is completely fine. The most important thing is that you ARE progressing long-term.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 12:34
Cetin

Sure, it is clear now. Thank you.

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Posted Tue, 01/31/2017 - 21:04
Peter

During hyperextensions the back of my leg (hamstring area) feels sore. Is this normal or am I supposed to have a bent leg whrn doing hyperextensions?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 11:15
JoshEngland

Depending how you are preforming them, you could feel them in your low back, glutes, and hamstrings.

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Posted Tue, 01/31/2017 - 10:34
Alfie Hak

Does anybody know if i could include beck press in workout a and b? I know CGB is in b but i really feel im lacking in my chest and want to work on that more. Thanks

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Posted Fri, 01/27/2017 - 13:49
Daniel

Hi! I know you've said that cardio isn't needed for weight loss, if I follow a good diet. But is it ok to do some HIIT running once or twice a week with this program? If yes, should it be done on the resting days or before/after doing the weightlifting?

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Posted Thu, 01/26/2017 - 00:42
Oliver Scott

Hi. Im a novice, 15 years old, and ive been inconsistantly working out for about a year or so, only using plans when I am conditioning for waterpolo. I have been doing the 5x5 for about a month and a half, but I am never sore afterwards. I am constantly pushing myself to higher weight, but I NEVER feel like I did any work the next day. I get the correct amount of rest, and around my iifym count..
Thanks, Oliver

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Posted Wed, 01/25/2017 - 13:10
Francisco Michel

Good morning.
I want to help me in relation to the program three days a week that I am working with this routine and my question is directed, how long can you take this routine 2,3,4, etc. months. Or with the increase of weight that is given there are results for a long period, that is my doubt and I would appreciate supporting me with the question of whether it can be done long time or has some time limit to change to another type of routine.
Thank you and I hope to support me.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/25/2017 - 16:38
JoshEngland

Hi Francisco,

As long as you're still making progress and are enjoying the program you are doing, there is no need to switch things up. It would be wise to take a deload week periodically to avoid an overuse injury or overtraining.

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Posted Mon, 01/23/2017 - 17:14
Ryan b

So I have been with this program and lifting for about over a month now. I have been pretty consistent with getting knthe gym 3 times a week. I just wonder do you have to follow a MWF schedule. I have been during those days at times so I switch it around to like a T, TH, S schedule is that still okay. Like do you need the two day rest as well?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/23/2017 - 17:35
JoshEngland

Hey Ryan,

Switching to a T, Th, S schedule is perfectly fine.

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Posted Mon, 01/23/2017 - 00:21
William

So the workout timetable was
AxBxAxxBxAxBxx

Can i do
AxBxAxBxAxB and not have 2 rest days in a row?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/23/2017 - 14:14
JoshEngland

William,

I wouldn't recommend it. You want to make sure you're getting plenty of rest. Your gains are going to be made by how you spend your time recovering outside of the gym, not increasing your workload inside of it.

The best way to speed up your progress is by making sure you're eating right and getting plenty of sleep each night.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 01/22/2017 - 21:20
Ruzbeh

How many times am I supposed to do each workout? Is it just a once run through? I read in the FAQ it should take an hour to hour and half to complete but it takes me about 30min

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/23/2017 - 14:12
JoshEngland

Hey Ruzbeh,

You may not be taking long enough rest periods. The goal with a workout such as this one is to increase maximal strength. to do this, your 5 rep lifts should be followed by a 2-3 minute rest period.

Workout A and Workout B should be done on alternating days and performed 3 days a week.

I hope this helps answer your question.

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Posted Tue, 01/17/2017 - 21:50
Hannah

Is this a good program if you're not trying to get ripped and just trying to get lean muscle?

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Posted Tue, 01/17/2017 - 18:22
Mason Armstrong

I don't have a spotter can i substitute barbell bench press with dumbbells?

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Posted Sat, 01/14/2017 - 13:26
Tamjid

Can i superset some of the accessory movements such as tricep extensions and bicep curls to save time?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/16/2017 - 09:12
JoshEngland

Tamjid,

Sure, I don't see why not.

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Posted Sat, 01/14/2017 - 13:22
Tamjid

I'm really confused how much weight I should be adding?and when?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/16/2017 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Tamjid,

Add 5-10 pounds (depending on the exercise) to the bar whenever you feel you're ready to progress from the weight you're currently using (aim every 1-2 weeks if you're a beginner and progressing quickly).