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:

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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.

1.3K Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/23/2017 - 14:31
Joel

Why are there no pull-ups/chin-ups? Wouldn't it be more logical to do weighted chin ups on day B rather than bent over rows a second time?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/23/2017 - 15:23
JoshEngland

Hi Joel,

This program is simply a template. You are more than welcome to modify it to better fit your needs and to make it work better for your individual goals.

You could sub in pull ups/chin ups for either bent over rows or curls if you wish.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 05/22/2017 - 23:23
Sean

If I wanted to turn this program into more of a muscle building hypertrophy routine could I use the same exercises and just decrease the number of sets and increase the reps

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/23/2017 - 09:09
JoshEngland

Hi Sean,

Sure you could do that. But you should still see some hypetrophic response by doing this workout in the way it was developed, especially if you're a beginner.

If you decide to alter the program to focus more on hypertrophy, keep in mind that (generally speaking) hypertrophy set and rep ranges fall in between 3-5 sets per exercise, 6-12 reps per set, 2-4 exercises per body part utilizing 75-85% of your 1RM.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 05/22/2017 - 20:55
CJ

If I were to replace hyperextensions with stiff legged deadlifts how much sets/reps would I do?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/23/2017 - 09:05
JoshEngland

Hi CJ,

It will depend on your goals and experience level, but to start things off, I'd stick with the 2 sets of 10.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 05/22/2017 - 13:50
Joe

Hello!
I've been having issues with my squats. My gym only has smith machines. I've heard that doing a squat on those isn't the best option. I was wondering if I should just do leg presses or if there is an alternative, please let me know. Thanks in advance!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/22/2017 - 16:41
JoshEngland

Hi Joe,

Neither is ideal, but you've got to work with the equipment you have available to use. If you have dumbbells available, a dumbbell or goblet squat would probably be a better alternative. If not, the smith machine or leg press is your next best bet.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 05/20/2017 - 01:16
usman

hi i was wondering if i can do laT work like a laT pull down and when i should add This

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/22/2017 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi usman,

Sure you can add that in, although it isn't exactly necessary. As the article mentions - this workout doesnt focus on isolation work since it is a novice program. You'll get a lot more into isolation exercises as you become more advance and start tailoring programs to better fit your needs.

If you're going to add them in, I'd add them in after your 5x5 lifts on whichever day you prefer.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 05/12/2017 - 15:41
Benjamin

can i add cable flyes for an extra chest hypertrophy?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/17/2017 - 16:07
JoshEngland

Hi Benjamin,

Sure, I don't see why not.

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Posted Thu, 05/11/2017 - 21:25
Andy

Hi
I'm 20 years old and I have an ectomorph body, tall and skinny. I was wondering if this routine works and helps with my body type. I'm dieting in the way I should with my body type and just want to do things right

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 05/12/2017 - 09:38
JoshEngland

Hi Andy,

Somatotypes (ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph) are a dated theory. Our good friend Mike Wines does an excellent job in explaining it in the Muscle Building Guide I've linked below.

Accomplishing your goals will greatly depend on your calorie intake. This program can help you both gain weight and/or lose fat depending on how you are eating and if your nutrition is aligned with your goals.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/muscle-building

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 05/11/2017 - 16:59
Graham

Hi,

I know you don't really recommend changing the routine, but I feel like the arm work is not adequate to help me reach my goals. They're not developing very well. I believe compound exercises work better for me, so I'm just wondering if I could change up the curls with weighted chin ups (bi's) and weighted pull ups (mostly for back and bi's a lil bit). I'd do pull ups on A, chin ups on B days. Already started doing weighted dips on B days and they've helped me a lot. As for skullcrushers, do you think I should keep them in as it is, or do something else for maximal triceps strength gain? What do you think?

Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 05/12/2017 - 09:34
JoshEngland

Hi Graham,

Everyone's goals are different. Everyone's body is different. And everyone reacts differently to certain forms of training.

This is meant to be a template to get you started. The more advance you get and the more you understand your body, the better you will be at incorporating specific exercises that help you reach your goals and it sounds like you're already taking the steps to get there.

I'd say go for it and test it out.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 05/10/2017 - 11:09
Marko Radić

I have big lower Chest (Geneticaly). Can i do Incline bench press instead of flat bench press on day A?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/11/2017 - 09:01
JoshEngland

Hi Marko,

Sure, that substitution should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 05/10/2017 - 02:51
Jay

Hi,
I did workout A and today I'm supposed to do workout B, but my muscles are still sore.. What do I do? Can I train sore muscles? Will this F up the programme?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/10/2017 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Hi Jay,

It depends how sore you are. If you feel like you can make it through workout B without a problem, go for it. If you need a little extra time to recover, do some form of low intensity active recovery to increase the blood flow to your sore muscles and then foam roll and stretch them out. Then, hit workout B on Friday.

There's no harm in working out 2x's per week until you build a good base strength. At that point, you could add in the extra workout and go 3x's per week.

The important thing is that you consistently progress in your workouts in the long term.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 05/08/2017 - 17:36
Paul Swaine

Hi,
I'm a 17 year old male who started weight lifting june of 2016. I have never followed a program, but I have gone to the gym 6-7 times a week consistently since then. I have been benching since I started, and have barely made any progress. I also barely ever do legs, and barely ever squat. Even though I have worked out for so long, I have mostly been doing isolation exercises just for aesthetics. For example: I do seated military press instead of overhead press. Would you consider me a beginner even though I have been working out for so long? Also, do you think three times a week is enough for me? I ask that because I am very aesthetic, and don't want to lose my aesthetic looks.
Thanks,
Paul

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/09/2017 - 10:29
JoshEngland

Hi Paul,

I'd say yes, you'd be classified as a novice lifter.

You'll be fine building muscle only working out 3 times a week. Especially since these are full body workouts. With the increase in training frequency and including leg work and more compound exercises, you will likely even experience some solid muscle and strength increases.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 05/05/2017 - 12:23
Mahmoud

I'm 24 y and I'm on this routine for about five months I'm on the cutting version which is 3*5 for main exercises and 2*8 for accessory exercises
I'm 182 cm
My weight went from 109 kg to 97.5 kg
Fat from 34% to 24%
Muscle from 31% to 37%
My leg muscles progressed pretty well
My arms are well too
My shouldehrs and traps start to make progress
I want to know should i keep doing the program or start another program which train muscle groups per day
My goal is to be just in shape and get to fat percentage about 15%

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Posted Tue, 05/02/2017 - 15:34
Nick

I tried bench press for the first time ever today and I wasn't strong enough to do it. I even tried the lowest weights I could find, 2.5kg on each side of the bar. 5kg in total. I feel so embarrassed and discouraged right now. I managed to do the squats for the first time (it was hard for me) with 5kg on each side of the bar but now I just feel useless. Can anyone advise me on how to get stronger to do the bench press. Feel like giving up right now :(

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/03/2017 - 09:10
JoshEngland

Hi Nick,

Your strength will progress over time. It's nothing to be embarrassed about, we all have to start somewhere.

Have you tried performing a dumbbell variation? You'll likely find that they have lighter weight options you can utilize in the dumbbell section. A lot of training to strengthen the bench press has a lot to do with performing the movement or similar ones. Dumbbell bench press or simply performing push ups until you've experienced enhanced strength will be your best choices here.

Based on your comments, I'd highly recommend having a spotter available to you while lifting. There are tricks a spotter can help you perform that will help you build your bench press strength such as focused eccentrics or negatives.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 05/03/2017 - 15:09
Nick

Thanks Josh. I will try that and hope I get stronger

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Posted Sat, 04/29/2017 - 12:45
Zivagus

is it allowed to do smith machine squats ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/01/2017 - 09:09
JoshEngland

Hi Zivagus,

Utilizing smith machines with this workout isn't ideal. If you do not have barbells to work with, dumbbell variations of the exercises would be a better substitution. However, if you don't have access to either of those, than the smith machine should be fine to use.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 04/29/2017 - 12:35
Zivagus

I am lifting for like 5 months and I am doing pretty well actually with split workout programs. but lots of friends suggested this program to me. I need to gain size and strength. I am able to do this right? and one more question. how long I am gonna go with this program

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/01/2017 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Hi Zivagus,

Yes, this program is intended for Novice trainees. You can run it for as long as you feel that it is helping you achieve your goals and are enjoying the program. A minimum of 6-8 weeks is a good point to gauge your progress to see if you should continue performing the program or give something else a shot.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:15
Tyler

Would substituting lat pull downs for the 90% row on B days be acceptable? I understand rows are a powerful overall workout but I don't see the point in doing rows at 90% -- especially after having done squats and deadlifts that day.

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Posted Thu, 04/20/2017 - 15:48
Leo

Is it ok if for workout B i perform 3 x 5 squats and 3×5 deadlifts?? Because I dont feel like I benefit much when i do only 1 set of deadlifts

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:43
JoshEngland

Hi Leo,

Sure. As long as you're performing both with excellent form and you prefer to set up your workout this way, I don't see why not.

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Posted Thu, 04/20/2017 - 13:39
BLatant

Are the dips that you substitute for close-grip bench press triceps focused dips?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:42
JoshEngland

Hi Blatant,

Yes, that is correct.

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Posted Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:49
Brett

What difference would it make if I did 3x5 on the compounds and 2x8 on accessory's? I feel like I would make faster strength progression, would recover better and have a shorter workout.

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Posted Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:07
Art Webb

I'd prefer chins to bent over rows on workout B, acceptable?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:31
JoshEngland

Hi Art,

Chin ups are more of a vertical pull while rows are a horizontal pull. However, this program doesn't have any vertical pulling motions, so I'd say that'd be a pretty good substitution to make.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:40
Brett

In the video, Jason says to do chin ups on workout A instead of BB curls, He says if you cant do 5 chin ups then do BB curls. I think this program has been written out incorrectly on this website

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Posted Mon, 04/17/2017 - 14:57
Tom

I really like to bench, is it ok to bench during the B workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:32
JoshEngland

Hi Tom,

You can, but it's not exactly necessary.

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Posted Mon, 04/17/2017 - 00:38
Antonio

Will I have a faster progress if I do Workout A on the first day then B on the second (consecutively) then rest on the third, and so on?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/17/2017 - 09:14
JoshEngland

Hi Antonio,

No, not necessarily. Progression is slow. It takes time. And it happens more outside of the gym than inside of the gym. Make sure you're eating right, getting enough protein AND carbs, sleeping 7-9 hours a night, and giving your muscle groups 48-72 hours to recover in between training sessions. Do that consistently over time, and you'll see amazing results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/18/2017 - 13:28
Ahmad

Can I add two isolation exercises for biceps at the end and do 3 sets of deadlifts instead of one ???and are hypertension necessary ??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:09
JoshEngland

Hi Ahmad,

This program is a template. You're more than welcome to adapt it to better fit your needs and goals.

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Posted Sun, 04/16/2017 - 18:29
Sean

I've been doing this program for about a month on a Smith machine and cables. I needed to take a week to deload this week. I'm switching over to free weights now. Should I restart with the weight that I'm lifting since it's hard to tell how much you're lifting with the Smith machine?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/17/2017 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Hi Sean,

Free weights will require you to use a lot more of your stabilizing muscles than the smith machine will. I'd definitely take the slow approach and dial back the weight until you're used to the range of motion. You'll get a good idea after a couple of sessions on what is a good weight to use and how to progress that weight each session to fit your needs.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 04/16/2017 - 06:20
Brad

I feel like my grip is lagging due to my small wrists, is it ok if I add farmer walks and wrist curls to the end of each of my workouts??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/17/2017 - 09:03
JoshEngland

Hey Brad,

Absolutely! Although, Farmer's walks and static holds will probably help you build grip strength better than exercises involving flexion (wrist curls) will.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 04/14/2017 - 23:44
alex brisca

I have a bench press, a pullup bar, and a ton of weights (dumbells aswell).

I dont have a squat rack however, are there any squat variations I can do with dumbells or a straight bar?