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.

1.5K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 02/19/2018 - 16:51
Kevin

Hello,
Could I add in some calisthenics in addition to the workouts, such as pull ups, push ups. dips, etc?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:26
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

Sure. That should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:29
diego

Hello, just had a quick question, If i dont have access to weights, can i sub out some exercises to bodyweight, or is it best to lift weights over bodyweight

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Posted Wed, 02/14/2018 - 06:49
Josh

Hi,
Sadly the only gym near me is Planet Fitness and they don’t allow deadlifts. Any substitutions? Really want to try this program but not sure my gym that sadly I have to go to has what I need. Thanks !

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:04
JoshEngland

Hi Josh,

Nothing sad about that! Any gym is better than no gym at all, and if someone can't get a good workout in at Planet Fitness, that says more about them than the facility itself.

I'd recommend subbing them out for dumbbell deadlifts. Alternatively, you can perform deadlifts on the smith machine, although it's not ideal.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

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Posted Sat, 02/10/2018 - 06:37
Clay

Hey Jason, cheers for this mate. One question - do you suggest we use lower weights in any of the exercises to warm up first, or do you usually just go straight in? I'm coming off Bigger Leaner Stronger programme which has quite detailed warm up instructions. Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:05
JoshEngland

Hi Clay,

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

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:11
Nikola

Hi , can I substitute barbell curl with chin ups?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:06
JoshEngland

Hi Nikola,

Sure, you can.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 02/09/2018 - 06:45
HALİL

Hİ, DO WE MAKE AS DEEP SQUAT IN THIS PROGRAM?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:06
JoshEngland

Hi HALİL,

Squat as deep as you comfortably can any time you squat.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 02/06/2018 - 11:30
Kav

Sir would you recommend this for fat loss ? Im 20 kgs overweight

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Posted Sat, 02/03/2018 - 22:25
Justin

This program has me doing squats 3 days a week, and this is my third day. (Workout A) I'm still sore from last time, and my legs hurt a lot. What should I do?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 09:34
JoshEngland

Hi Justin,

You could start off with 2 days per week and progress to 3 days per week.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 02/02/2018 - 20:43
Jocelyn

Hi, so this program has me doing squats 5x5 every time I go to the gym... that’s a lot. Today was my third day on the program (day A)
I did squats and I knew it was going to hurt, but I still tried it, I could not even do as much as I did last time, my legs were so sore from last time. I only did 2 and the third set I went down in weight a little and after that I couldn’t move my legs. What do you recommend I try for this issue? Will it be okay on it’s own or should I only do it twice a week instead?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 09:33
JoshEngland

Hi Jocelyn,

Yes, that should be fine. Start off performing the program twice per week and then aim to progress to 3 times per week once you feel you're ready to do so. At that point, you can start to make adding weight to the bar your goal.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 01/31/2018 - 23:31
Cornelius

Am I supposed to do increasing weight on each set for the 3x8s?
Also for the compound exercises, I can’t really increase 5 lbs-10lbs every time I do the exercise... maybe every 2 times I do it. Is that normal? My protein intake is just what it should be.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/01/2018 - 08:48
JoshEngland

Hi Cornelius,

Everyone will progress at different rates and progress isn't always linear. So long as you're making your workouts more challenging for yourself over time, you'll see results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 02/01/2018 - 14:41
Cornelius

Okay, but for the sets of 8 reps, should I increase the weight every set or stay on the same weight?
Like the close grip bench press. Increasing weight every set?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/01/2018 - 16:26
JoshEngland

Hi Cornelius,

Either way works. Personally, I start out with all them the same weight and then each week I try to increase the weight used on one of my sets, generally starting with my last set and working to the first set.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/30/2018 - 20:32
Julius

Can I have protein shakes on days I don’t go to the gym?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/31/2018 - 14:57
JoshEngland

Hi Julius,

Sure, if it helps you meet your daily calorie and protein needs.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 10:11
Rob

Can I add in an extra day for some accessory work like:
Lat pulldowns
Dumbbell press
Cable flys
Chest press
Dumbbell curls

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 12:26
JoshEngland

Hi Rob,

This workout is simply a template, feel free to alter it however you see fit.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 13:48
Rob

Do you think it would be overtraining?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 14:11
JoshEngland

Hi Rob,

Depends. Depends on your experience level. Depends on how much sleep you're getting each night. Depends on what your diet looks like and your total calorie intake. Depends on what kind of job you have and how active you are outside of the gym. Depends if you lead a stressful lifestyle.

The program as written is a fine program for most individuals looking to get fit. Adding more doesn't always equate to more muscle size, and a lot of times, can lead to the opposite results.

Try to maximize minimum effort in the gym. Do that by making sure the more important factors to muscle growth - those outside of the gym- are all on point. Do that and you'll be solid.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 07:58
Enes

Hi, If I complete the 5x5 program for 12 weeks, What should I do next step, because I won't be a beginner.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 09:00
JoshEngland

Hi Enes,

After 12 weeks of working out, you'll still very much be in the beginning stages of working out. Which is a good thing - more gains! :)

You can continue on with this program or find a new program to switch things up. Whatever you feel you need to do to stay motivated and keep making gains.

Check out some of these programs to find one you like: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 10:43
Enes

If I go on this workout program, can I add muscle and lose my fat, so does it work after 12-24 week

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 12:27
JoshEngland

Hi Enes,

Absolutely, especially if you're still in your first year of training. Feel free to run this program for however long you are still enjoying the program and seeing results from it.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 00:28
Samuel

Hi.
I am a smaller man. Though my abs look normal like the rest of my body, they apparently are ripped already, cable crunches aren't working for me.
There has to be something better than sets of twenty at 100 pounds . . .

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Posted Sun, 01/28/2018 - 23:22
Hard

So i’ve Been working out for a while but not consistently. I just started being consistent, and my bench is 160 lbs. squat is 190 lbs. deadlift is 205 lbs. Is this program for me? I weigh 125 lbs.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/29/2018 - 09:02
JoshEngland

Hi Hard,

Sure, this is a great program to help you continue building muscle and strength.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/23/2018 - 09:28
HALİL

hi, can ı do elliptical 30 minutes after this workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 01/23/2018 - 10:48
JoshEngland

Hi HALİL,

Sure, I don't see why not.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 16:35
Smitty

Couldn’t do cable crunches due to knees. Watt can I substitute with?

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Posted Tue, 01/23/2018 - 16:08
Smitty

Is there something different I can do?????

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Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:19
Bret

Can I do t bar rows instead of barbell
Rows?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:53
JoshEngland

Hi Bret,

Sure, that should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:59
Tim DeCosta

I am runner but would like to add lifting into my training. On rest days on the schedule will my running affect anything negatively?

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Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:19
Adam Sharpe

What would be a good follow up to this program

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:50
JoshEngland

Hi Adam,

Depends on your goals, how many days you are capable to make it to the gym, and your exercise preference.

For a program slightly higher in volume and similar to this one, check this workout out: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/total-package-workout

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 01/10/2018 - 18:12
Nick Brinsmade

Hi:

I guess I misunderstood the video for what weight to start with. I jumped right into doing 5x5s and for squatting I got 155 with a 2 min break. (Using squat numbers as an example) I used an online calculator and it said my 1 rep max was 178...75% of that is 133 but I already did a 5x5 of 155 so should I just add 5lbs to my squat next workout or drop it down to 133? I feel like if I drop the weight I'll end up getting weaker if I am doing a lower weight of the same reps.

Thanks in advance.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:49
JoshEngland

Hi Nick,

If you're used to 133 and are capable of performing that weight with perfect form, stick to it and progress from there.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 01/11/2018 - 23:11
Nick Brinsmade

I can preform 155 (now 160) with perfect form, 2 minute rest time in a 5x5. Based on my one rep max though I should start with 133 but that seems counterproductive as I can already easily do that.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:34
JoshEngland

Sorry Nick,

What I meant to say was If you're used to 155 and are capable of performing that weight with perfect form, stick to it and progress from there.

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Posted Mon, 01/08/2018 - 15:45
Brando

Hi, my question is this, can I start doing the 5 × 5 routine if I have been training for more than 1 year? I have progressed little physically but I have increased my weight burdens. So I would like to start something new like this routine, however they say it is for beginners, please be honest with me, thank you very much.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/08/2018 - 16:28
JoshEngland

Hi Brando,

Possibly. It depends on a number of factors, and primarily depends on how you've been training in the past. I'd say a 5 x 5 program would be a solid change of pace for someone coming off a typical bro split.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/02/2018 - 00:53
Herman

Hello! I have a question, how if i’m stuck on a certain weight?

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Posted Tue, 12/26/2017 - 21:48
Gerald

Hello, i also train boxing for 2 days a week, do this program still worked if i’m bulking for muscle size?