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 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?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/01/2018 - 10:13
JoshEngland

Hi Mike,

Seated Press would be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/23/2018 - 17:28
Kevin

So on squats should I increase the weight every workout A and B so like if I increased the weight on A day do I increase more on B day

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/24/2018 - 10:38
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

Increase weight when possible. Once per week or every other week should suffice.

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 09/27/2018 - 09:19
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

Per the article: "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."

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 09/26/2018 - 00:04
Kevin

Also I’m having trouble getting the weight up by 5 doing straight bar curls what should I do?

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Posted Wed, 09/26/2018 - 00:06
Kevin

Thanks for answering my question btw

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Posted Sun, 09/23/2018 - 14:15
Davis

What would you recommend for a diet plan while doing this workout routine?

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Posted Sun, 09/16/2018 - 15:49
Blake Sharpe

is it alright to totally swap the flat bench for incline.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/17/2018 - 09:05
JoshEngland

Hi Blake,

Yes, that is fine.

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Posted Tue, 09/11/2018 - 15:12
Antoni

If my body is aching and muscles are sore, do I continue to do the workout as laid out or take more rest days to allow the muscles to repair before breaking them down again?

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Posted Sun, 09/09/2018 - 06:51
quim

Could I do Normal Squat on day A and a variation on day B? Say Front Squat?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/10/2018 - 08:54
JoshEngland

Hi Quim,

Yep!

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Posted Sat, 09/08/2018 - 13:12
Ni Neu

"rm calculator? x% of 1rm? Sorry to be a NOVICE but that is what the title says. Regardless of the bad sound, the written "aclarations" do not clarify.

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Posted Sat, 09/08/2018 - 12:37
Ni Neu

You're about to discover that I'm a real novice: what the hell are "sets" and "reps". The first WALL a gym fearsome FATTY LUMP (That is Me) has to climb is the Gym JARGON. Reps sounds like repetitions but repeating what; "sets"?

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Posted Tue, 09/11/2018 - 10:41
Drew

Reps are repititions and sets are how many reps are done in a single go. For example this program is 5x5 so take the squat,you do 5 reps, which is squatting 5 times then you’re done and you just finished 1 set. Do another 5 reps a few minutes later, and once u finish that, thats 2 sets.

So a set is the name for finishing a certain number of reps, (in this case 5 reps) and when u finish, u did 1 set.

Hope this helped

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Posted Thu, 09/06/2018 - 10:01
Fredo

Hello, im really fat and weigh around 95-100kg I have alot of fat around my body, for example my cheeks, my ass, my thighs are really big with alot of fat and my stomach aswell. Is this the right program for me?

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Posted Sun, 08/26/2018 - 19:56
tejkaran

Ive been going to the gym for almost 3 years now but it has been inconsistent. my first year probably being the most consistent. I havent really gained much weight but i have gotten a bit stronger. Is this program for me?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/27/2018 - 08:47
JoshEngland

Hi Tejkaran,

Yes, this would be a good program for your goals.

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Posted Fri, 08/24/2018 - 08:51
Dennis

Can i do deadlifts 3 times a week instead of squating 3 times a week?
Im really trying to get my deadlift up

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Posted Sun, 08/19/2018 - 07:38
Alex

So for the weight increases: add 5lbs when you do the workout again? Like, workout A, workout B, workout A+5lbs, workout B+5lbs, workout A+5lbs etc?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/20/2018 - 08:49
JoshEngland

Yep! That is correct - however, progress isn't always linear. Don't get discourage if you can't add 5lbs on a given week.

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Posted Fri, 08/17/2018 - 00:38
Iko

Can I do hack squat instead of normal back squat? As it's very taxing on my knees.

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Posted Wed, 08/15/2018 - 15:46
Masud

When should I add more weights?
Like what’s the right time to increase the weight?

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Posted Wed, 08/15/2018 - 13:48
Erich

So on workout A there is the bench press, and workout B has a close grip bench press. Do I increase 5 from A to B, so that I go up 10 lbs a week on bench press or do I go up in weight independently for each?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 08/16/2018 - 08:26
JoshEngland

Hi Erich,

Try to increase from workout A to workout A, not every workout.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:49
Erich

Perfect thanks for your help

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Posted Thu, 08/02/2018 - 19:16
Bato

I can’t deadlift at my gym. What exercise should I preform instead? Romanian deadlift with dumbbells or pulls up? Thank you

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Posted Tue, 08/07/2018 - 15:52
Anonymous

GO TO A REAL GYM

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Posted Mon, 07/30/2018 - 15:23
Masud

This program is for 12 weeks.But plan is given for only two weeks.So How should I follow it.?
Also,should I follow progressive overload here?

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Posted Sun, 08/05/2018 - 02:07
Josh

It's a 2 week cycle that is presented here. So you perform the 2 week cycle six times. 2x6 is 12 so there is your 12 weeks. The actual progression is in the weights. You add 5lbs every workout.

P.s I think you should follow the program for a year or at least hitting 135 press, 225 bench, 315 squat and 405 deadlift.

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Posted Thu, 09/20/2018 - 22:46
Frank

Are these goals for 1rm or 5rm?

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 03:36
Anastasia

You should repeat those 2 weeks 6 times and that is how you follow this 12 weeks program