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: Mon, 07/08/2024 - 12:52

I just want to thank you guys for this program, it’s been 4 weeks and I see significant gains. I started around 130lbs and I have a freakishly high metabolism. This plan has helped me with discipline and the proper steps have now allowed me to now have a normal rate of 135 when empty and anywhere from 137-144 when in it . Great and effective plan for anyone !

Posted on: Sat, 07/06/2024 - 09:58

Hello! I noticed for one of the “How should I lift when cutting?” question. It says that “the cutting version is 3x5 for main lifts, 2x8 for accessory lifts.” If I’m looking to loose weight/body fat but also build muscle. Wouldn’t it be better to do the recommended amount of sets? My BMI is around 31

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/11/2024 - 05:15

Can't answer for the author's beliefs on that, Maximus. I would personally opt in favor of the extra sets as well. I would suggest doing the training as is but focus on keeping your heart rate up by resting less between sets and making sure the diet is on point for fat loss.

Muhammad Usama
Posted on: Sun, 06/23/2024 - 17:55

Hi, I am trying to lose 10kg in the next 2-3 months, will this help me to achieve this goal?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/24/2024 - 06:16

It can as long as you stay focused on nutrition, cardio, and recovery, Muhammad. Keep us posted and check back in when you got questions.

Posted on: Sun, 06/23/2024 - 03:08

How long should i run this program for and can i repeat the program again straight after finishing it or would i have to deload?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/24/2024 - 06:12

Hi VanTha, 8-12 weeks is good for running this one. If you want to repeat, take a week off to recover before running it again.

Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Tue, 05/14/2024 - 08:44

Hello and Greetings...I am 44M, 5'8" weighing 216 lbs. Aiming to lose at least 60 lbs by this year end. Currently on ADF with OMAD, since a month.

I have...
1)2 x 20 kgs KBs
2)1 EZ curl bar with 8 kgs bells (total wt: 16kgs)
3)2 x 10kgs dumbbells
4)an ab-roller
5)weighted jump rope set at home.

Can you please give me a suitable format to do exercises at home. I want to lose fat, get lean with decent muscle mass and gain strength. Appreciate your guidance. Thanks.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/27/2024 - 20:36

This can help you find a program you can do with your equipment.


If nothing else, you can take pieces from the workouts here and piece your own program.

Caleb Michael
Posted on: Fri, 05/03/2024 - 15:17

I suffer from Ulcerative Colitis which caused me to develop illness induced anorexia. About 9 years ago I did an FDA study for treatment for my illness, but it included stopping all medication to support plausibility for the treatment. As preventative treatment the doctors put me on 60mg a day of Prednisone leasing up to the study. I weighed about 90 pounds at the start, and just hit calories and the gym hard to make some gains. I only had a smith machine and dumbells at my disposal, and got up to about 120 pounds in 3 months. a few notes on that;

-I’m NOT suggesting steroid use, mine was medically necessary to repair organ tissue
-A lot of that weight was water weight
-A lot of the gains could be “ill gotten” to the perspective of many due to steroid use
-I’m not suggesting other equipment or exercises would be acceptable. I followed the program to the best of my ability then.

I was 21 then, and I’m 30 now. I achieved remission from separate treatment after the study. The previous treatment almost killed me, and I bled about 92% of the iron from my body and plummeted to 85 lbs. These days I havent taken good care of myself but I’ve decided to start. I’ve taken the medical steps to repair all the physical damage, blood loss, and other things. I plan to have a BCAA blood test done to see if my body will eat the gains due to the IIA issues. If so a BCAA infusion will be in order and should repair that as long as my diet stays consistent.

I look forward to starting this program again. I need to gain about 20-30 lbs, but maybe even 50 would be cool. Thank you for your help thus far Jason, you’re doing the Lord’s work sir.

jesse allison
Posted on: Fri, 05/31/2024 - 20:43

No worries, Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory steroid. It has no effect on your body’s ability to add muscle

Posted on: Mon, 06/03/2024 - 21:21

Hey Dude! Your story sounds like its been kinda rough. You should check out one of my best friends youtube channels. He had UC and healed himself using nutrition and exercise after going through very similar things. His channel is team honnas on youtube. Check it out! Praying you gain all the weight and can get healthy again!

Caleb Michael
Posted on: Fri, 06/28/2024 - 11:57

I’ll check it out! UC is absolutely devastating sometimes. I have massive respect for anyone who chooses every day to stay alive while having chronic digestive problems.

I’d also like to say, I’m thankfully the heaviest I’ve ever been and entirely natural. I’ve put on 17 pounds since the OP. 21 to go. I have admittedly switched some of these exercises for a couple machines, and the barbell stuff besides deadlifts I’ve done on the smith. I have a silver plan with no guest privileges and no spot so it feels a bit safer that way. I switched bench for machine flys. I had absolutely 0 development of my chest though. I also want to start muay thai again and I wanted to build hook strength. I just switched 2 weeks ago from flys to bench and I’ve put on like 5 pounds. It’s nutty. Started legs with leg pressing 90 fkn lbs for my rep weight. I just finished repping 210 for a 5x5 squat. I switched bent over rows for lat pulldowns. I will probably start BO rowing instead soon. I’m feeling stagnant on the pulldowns. I have been a tough guy, and decided I’d just deadlift the 1x5 3 days a week. I have a 10mm belt, and deload 15% every other workout. May take a two week break on lower back and follow program more closely. Definitely not a smart move. It’s as if the world champion lifter understands what he’s talking about. Which is wild, right?

I’m not even doing this program completely right, and I’ve seen so much progress. Overwhelmingly grateful for the wealth of knowledge in this post.

Rajveer Singh Sahni
Posted on: Mon, 04/15/2024 - 00:36

If I do this 6 times a week will it be a problem

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 04/15/2024 - 10:14

Yes because you need time to recover.

Posted on: Sun, 03/03/2024 - 18:00


I am interested in this program for many reasons. 5'11" 208lbs. Currently in physical therapy for shoulders, and don't have the range of motion for squats, can't hold the bar behind my head. Can I do hack squats on a machine till I get my range of motion back? Or is there another workout I should be looking at? Thanks!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/12/2024 - 19:15

Hey Darrin, thanks for reading M&S!

Love that you're trying to find a way. I think a hack machine would work as long as your PT is cool with the padding on the shoulders. A leg press may be a better option, but run that by the PT. I think overall this one would help you. Good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2024 - 17:23

Almost 30, 200lbs, 60 already lost with light diet and exercise. Ready to dive into the harder workouts. What should my diet look like with this? I tried 1,200kcal and it's not enough. I got very tired and angered easily. 1,500-1,800 kcal with 70-100g protein has gotten me where I am today. Would it be fine to continue that? Should I up the protein? Thanks for any advice and help.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2024 - 19:20

Hey Rae, yep, go up. 1800-2000 with 120-150 of protein would be my recommendation. Start there and if you find it to be too difficult to eat or maintain, go back down.

Posted on: Wed, 02/28/2024 - 09:08

Thanks Roger! Appreciate it!

Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2024 - 10:57

Just wondering if I am able to do this workout even with 2 years of experience, there's always something to learn, but I don't to waste my time either. Thanks alot.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2024 - 11:28

You should be fine doing this, Nakruf. If you take it on, let us know how it goes. Thank you for reading M&S!

Posted on: Thu, 02/08/2024 - 04:08

I’m just finishing up this workout I’ve been grinding it hard for 8 weeks now I’m wondering what the next workout could be to keep the results flowing as I’m quite prone to stalling. I want the same kind of stuff when it comes to the strength training and muscle mass gain I’m still looking to keep bulking and perhaps if possible add an extra day to make it 4 day split if that helps at all? Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 18:51

Check this out James. We have plenty of options here. If you need extra guidance, let me know.


Chris M.
Posted on: Tue, 02/06/2024 - 18:55

I'm getting back into working out after about 3 years off due to shoulder surgery. I wanted to "ease" into it with this three day split, but I don't see enough focus on the quads aside from the big lifts.

Since there's one less workout on Workout B, would be it okay to add 3x8 leg curls to the workout? Not going for anything extreme, but would like that accessory.

Also, coming off of the shoulder injury, would face pulls be an OK swap for shrugs? I'd like to build the rear delt and back muscles a bit further, but don't know where this could fit in.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 18:51

Hey Chris, both of your suggestions are good with me. Glad you're getting back into it and I appreciate the methodical approach. Let us know how you progress on this. I have confidence you will do very well.

Christopher S
Posted on: Sat, 01/27/2024 - 10:51

As a complete beginner, I'm skinny and weigh about 107lb can this program help me gain weight and strength? Is this the ideal program to start with, for me?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/30/2024 - 09:23

It can, Christopher, but you may want to try something else to get your feet wet with training. It may help to start with the program I am linking below, then taking this one on. Either way, best of luck, and keep us posted on how you're doing.


Christopher Singh
Posted on: Mon, 01/15/2024 - 14:11

Hey, this all seems interesting but as a complete beginner that wants to gain weight and muscle, how do you know what amount of weights to start lifting at first?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/25/2024 - 06:43

Hi, Christopher. Thank you for reading M&S!

The only real way to do this is through trial and error. Start with weights that you absolutely know you can use with good form and gauge your strength accordingly. As you continue with the program, you'll develop a better understanding of how strong you are and can pick the weights on instinct in the future.

Also, advice since you're a complete beginner. Have a spotter help you on your work sets. It can be a game changer.

Michelle Norman
Posted on: Thu, 01/11/2024 - 22:12

Hi! I'm not new to working out or lifting & compared to most women my age (55) I'd consider myself intermediate to advanced with what I know about fitness but never done 5x5 stuff. I'm looking for a simple, structured, basic routine to lift HEAVY & build strength. I know most of my 1RM for most of the big lifts here so I think I'll be able to calculate my starting weights. I only see mostly boys/young men tackling this program. Do you see any concerns with someone my age/gender doing this workout? If so, what might they be? Thanks!!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/14/2024 - 18:15

Hi, Michelle. I see no issues with you taking this one on, and I'm excited to see how you do if you choose to do so. Let us know what you decide and please keep us updated on the results. Show these kids how it's done!

Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 09:11

Hi there,

I have been working out on and off for a long time and have good form and knowledge of moves but according to strength level standards for men, I am currently at high beginner/low novice.

I was doing a Bro split before discovering this workout program, would it be beneficial to go for this workout since I’m categorized as a beginner/novice lifter until I become stronger? I wanted to do PHUL but realized it’s categorized for Intermediate lifters.

Any advice would be super helpful and thank you so much

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 20:36

Hi Abdullah, I would say go with this one and then move on to PHUL after a few months. If you take this one, let us know how it goes for you.

Rayan Alsinan
Posted on: Sun, 01/07/2024 - 15:16

Hi, I (17 and 58-60kg) just got a gym membership, and also just recently started boxing. I plan to do boxing Sunday and Tuesday (maybe some heavy cardio on thursday), and this plan on Monday, Wednesday, Friday - Having my rest day on Saturday. Do you think this is a good idea?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 20:35

It depends on what your goals are, Rayan. If you're wanting to add size, then you don't need so much cardio. Definitely take off Thursday. If you need to get lean and if boxing is a priority, then it may help as long as your nutrition and recovery are proper.

CT Wade
Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2023 - 18:33

I like this workout. When I try to watch the video it will freeze up on me. Some questions. 1. Can I do pull-ups and/or dips to replace tricep extensions and curls? 2. Or can I replace with dumbbells tricep extension and DB curl? 3. Thoughts on doing 10,000 meter row daily or 60 minutes elliptical daily? (Yes I do enjoy the row machine and elliptical)

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:32

1 and 2. You can do the pullups and dips if you like.

3. If you enjoy it and it doesn't affect your recovery, go for it!

Posted on: Sun, 12/10/2023 - 04:31

Is there an updated version of this program as per Jason Blaha's video from 2017 saying he would make changes to it? Was looking to get that more effective program.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:30

No updates we know of.

Posted on: Tue, 12/05/2023 - 23:18

I wake up and go to gym so what should I eat or drink before going to gym since I have to gain weight and if I go with empty stomach it will affect my lean muscle.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:30

You shouldn't lose muscle by training on an empty stomach, but definitely eat asap once you're done.

If you choose to eat before, a protein shake and a banana is simple and effective.

Posted on: Mon, 12/04/2023 - 09:49

How long to do this workout for and What workout can i do after this ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:05

Go until you feel progress has stalled, then check this out.


Posted on: Thu, 11/09/2023 - 12:39

I do have 2 herniated disc on my lower back but I don’t mind doing squats. At some point I’m concerned that too much weight may cause some more damage. Is there something you recommend I do for squats once I’m putting on some real heavy weight? I’m still able to squat and the only time Iv had a problem was with bent over rows

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 11/19/2023 - 19:17

Hey Josue, before I write this out, any doctor's advice overrides mine because they can make decisions based on what they see when checking you out.

I would suggest focusing more on speed of the reps over weight used. That tension will benefit the legs while minimizing the load on the back. Also, obviously skip bent-over rows.

Jacob Breeden
Posted on: Wed, 11/08/2023 - 21:35

Hey, so I am 19 years old 5 foot 5 male weighing only 105 pounds, will this workout routine help me gain weight, and what should I do after this program if I want to continue to gain weight.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 11/16/2023 - 21:29

This will help you, and I suggest focusing on only this for now. After a few months, reassess your progress before worrying about your next goal. Keep us posted on how you do with this!

Posted on: Thu, 11/02/2023 - 07:35

Im thinking of trying this program, it looks to be fun!
I just have one question.
Many exercises seems to have barbell, can I switch to dumbells but still do the same exercise?
Have a great day!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 11/15/2023 - 18:09

If you don't have access to a barbell, then that is okay until you can get one. If you run this program, let us know how it works for you.