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

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.

1.4K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 07/23/2017 - 03:33
Billy Hamilton

Heya,

I am just wondering, by the 5th set 5th rep, should I be struggling to complete the exercise? Is that how I know I have enough weight?

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/24/2017 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi Billy,

Yes, the last rep should be challenging. When strength training in a 5x5 program, it is important to always have a spotter near by to help assist you should you fail during the set.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 07/21/2017 - 23:42
Vince

There was a question about what weight to lift while cutting. What does cutting mean?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/24/2017 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi Vince,

Cutting is a fat loss focused phase of dieting where you put yourself in a calorie deficit (meaning you're burning more calories than you are taking in).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:21
Anas

I feel a slight pain in my right elbow after I have done Deadlift in Workout B, so I'm failing at Close Grip Bench Press.
Can i do Close Grip Bench Press after Squats and before Deadlift in Workout B?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/21/2017 - 09:23
JoshEngland

Hi Anas,

I'd probably swap out CG bench for a neutral grip dumbbell press (or even drop the lift all together if the pain is serious), but it's tough to make a specific recommendation not being there to work with you in person.

You might find this article a beneficial read:
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/6-tips-training-around-cranky...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 07/19/2017 - 12:37
Declan

Hello. I am 15 years old and weigh 110 and 5'6 and I haven't hit puberty fully. I know there are rumors about lifting stunting growth, so should I wait until I am fully finished growing or is it okay to start lifting heavy now? I do not want to affect my growth. Thanks

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Posted Wed, 07/19/2017 - 19:51
Michael

You can start lifting now it wont stunt your growth

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Posted Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:46
Adrien Valere

Hi , I saw that the program says to do 1 by 5 deadlifts , and I wanted to know after how many time and after being to pull how much can I increase the number of sets on the deadlift ? to finally do a 5 by 5 deadlift ?

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Posted Wed, 07/19/2017 - 19:52
Michael

Until after you are done with this program

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Posted Tue, 07/18/2017 - 04:02
Peter McGainz

Hi.

Since you Squat every workout, do you add weight for squats every workout, or do you only add weight every second workout?

And what about the deadlifts?

I watched the video but didn't catch him mentioning it. If he did, my bad!! :)

Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi Peter,

Add weight when you can do so and still be able to hit all of the prescribed reps with perfect form.

A good goal is to progress weekly or biweekly.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 07/16/2017 - 23:36
Joe

Hi, I understand that for the 5x5 lifts you keep the weight the same for each set, but for the extras (3x8) do you increase the weight each set or do you keep it the same? Cheers.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/17/2017 - 09:41
JoshEngland

Hi Joe,

You can or you can keep the weight the same. Whichever you do, you should aim to increase the weight used over time.

It comes down to whichever you prefer and can safely do based on your individual capabilities.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 07/13/2017 - 06:46
efe

Can i do this im 13 yrs old and im around 5'6"

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/13/2017 - 10:05
JoshEngland

Hi efe,

At 13, exercise should still be more about having fun. Don't worry so much about body composition yet, your body will be going through plenty of changes in the coming years that will help you with putting on muscle mass.

Focus on having fun for now, then really aim to implement strength training at ages 16+. In the meantime, focus on educating yourself on nutrition and sleep hygiene. Knowing as much about those 2 topics as possible will give you an enormous leg up on anyone else your age when you do start weight training.

Also, you can check out these articles on teenage bodybuilding, sleep, and building muscle:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/teenage-bodybuilding

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

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/hacking-sleep-9-tips

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 07/06/2017 - 15:47
Fowaz

My knees are very bad, they pop whenever i do squats and after the workout my knee is in sharp pain. Should I completely skip squats? I was thinking of doing weightless squats, or is that basically useless.

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Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 16:19
Luca Nouwen

Okay, so I've been following the program for 2 weeks now and I'm pretty into it. I train on monday, wednesday and friday. Although the most sets are low-rep, I get a pretty solid overal pump.
Since I'm on a cut for the summer, I'm trying (of course) to have a daily calorie deficit. I really, really don't like doing straight cardio so that's like a no-go for me. So here's the question: The novice program is 3 times a week. Could I go to the gym on tuesday and/or thursday and do really really light weightlifting? Like doing supersets of 3 exercises (exercises I'm not doing in the program), with like 10% of my 1rep max and than 20 reps (for example). Since I like going to the gym, it gives me satisfaction and also motivation to keep my calorie intake on point.
Is it possible or would you not recommend me this because of too much volume / it might fucks up my rest? You can be honest with me here, because the result is no. #1 for me, the fun and satisfaction #2! Thx for reading

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 16:26
JoshEngland

Hi Luca,

Sure you could do that. But, you might be better served doing cardio or working on your mobility. Doing reps with 10% of your max isn't really going to do a whole lot. However, foam rolling, mobility drills, and even light walking will help you recover, increase your mobility, keep you more heart healthy, and will probably burn more calories.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 16:44
Luca Nouwen

Thx for the quick reply! I'll give that definitely a try! You might have a link of a program / youtube video for the things you just mentioned, if it's not too much effort. The mobility training thing is absolute new for me so.. Thx again!

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Posted Tue, 07/04/2017 - 15:15
PiMontana

Hey i have watched the video and i have some Questions.

Should i really put on 5lb on every training for Squats? so When i do 100lb tomorow, should i do 105lb 2 days later and than 110lb 4 days later? or should i progress 5lb every workout A?
And should i Warmup in 5reps sets too? How much Calories do i Burn in 1 Workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:55
JoshEngland

Hi PiMontana,

Everyone will progress differently. A good goal is to add 5lbs every week or every other week. So long as you're adding weight over time, you should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 07/03/2017 - 13:06
Will

Hey, I am about to start this workout routine on July 2017. I have about 2 weeks into intermittent fasting, considering that this workout is to build muscle and the IF will allow me to loose weight, is it a bad combo to follow? I'm 6ft i currently weigh 205lb when i started IF i was at 212lb. Most of my fat is stored on my belly that's my main concern to get rid of and build muscle.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:54
JoshEngland

Hi Will,

Both are fine to follow so long as you are able to eat the amount of calories you need to accomplish your goals.

Find out your caloric needs here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 16:40
Luca Nouwen

Same problem here bro, also IF and belly is the problem!

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Posted Fri, 06/30/2017 - 12:40
Justin Maher

I just watched this video again and noticed that you said for setting your weights at 75% for the 5 x 5 max and 65% for the 3 x 8 workouts which is super helpful. In the video at the end, it has a different workout program than the routine listed underneath the video. Would you recommend rotating one week between skullcrushers and tricep extension? I'm going to try this workout for the next 6 months and I'll deload once I hit a plateau. Also, is that alright if I had 10 mins of cardio before my workout and I typically do a short warm-up set before most of the major workouts like squatting, benching, and deadlifting. Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:29
JoshEngland

Hi Justin,

Yes, all of those things sound like fine adaptations to the program.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

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Posted Thu, 06/29/2017 - 12:52
Rey

Hey, I'm around 120 pounds and want to gain muscle I need advice on a diet I have no problem following this workout , just need to know how many times I should eat

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 06/29/2017 - 13:03
JoshEngland

Hi Rey,

Figuring out your calorie needs is a good place to start. You can do that with our BMR calculator here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

After you figure out that number, simply add ~250-500 calories on top of that to put yourself in a calorie surplus. This will help you gain weight.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/27/2017 - 04:30
Marzuk Khan

Hey is it okay to take out the shrugs as I'm not interested in growing my traps right now? Also, I've been doing the program for 3 months. When should I stop and move on to something else? Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/27/2017 - 09:18
JoshEngland

Hi Marzuk,

Sure that is fine. It may be time to take a week to deload.

Check out this article: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-deload

After you take a moment to recover, you can continue with this program if you feel it is still helping you reach your goals. If not, it might be time to try out a new workout program. Here is a link to our full database of workout routines: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 06/26/2017 - 23:04
LC

Hi there,

I'm a novice and wanted to start lifting to build some muscle as I'm "skinny-fat". But I'm unsure whether I should follow a reduced calorie diet or whether I should eat to bulk. Would appreciate any tips.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/27/2017 - 09:16
JoshEngland

Hi LC,

You might find this article helpful: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/skinny-fat

There's a subsection relevant towards the bottom of the article.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 06/26/2017 - 18:34
Luca

It's not clear to my about how much weight I should pick. Should I be doing 5 sets of 5, while lifting the same weight in these 5 sets? Or should I increase the weight in these 5 sets? And what is recommended for warming up (of course for the 3 main compound movements? Really excited to finally start a program and not fuck around

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/27/2017 - 09:12
JoshEngland

Hi Luca,

Everyone's starting point for weight they should use is different. I can't give you a precise number. I recommend starting with a weight you know you can do for the prescribed number of reps. If it's too easy, move up slightly. If it's too hard, move down slightly.

You can do either or, whichever you feel more comfortable with. Personally, I'd gradually increase the weight each set if possible, but not everyone will be able to do so. The important thing is that you progress with the weight you use over time for long-term results.

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

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 06/25/2017 - 22:53
BLatant

Any recommendations for additional ab work on rest days?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/26/2017 - 09:14
JoshEngland

Hi Blatant,

Ab work can be highly individualized. Different people will see different results to different exercises. Also, ab specific work doesn't always result in building a six pack (assuming that is your end goal).

I'd recommend reading these 2 articles:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/understanding-core-training

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/six-pack-science

After you read those, here is our ab workouts database, it is a good starting point to help you put together your own ab routine.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/abs

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 06/24/2017 - 05:25
Jamie

How do I know what weight to do on the accessory exercises? I know my squat/DL/bench etc weight from doing SL 5x5. Also when do I increase weight? Doesn't seem clear to me unless I missed something. Also I think my chest is lacking size compared to all other parts of my body. Is there anything other chest exercise I could sub in for something else so I am increasing frequency of chest workout? Thanks :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/26/2017 - 09:19
JoshEngland

Hi Jamie,

Everyone's starting point for weight they should use is different. I can't give you a precise number. I recommend starting with a weight you know you can do for the prescribed number of reps. If it's too easy, move up slightly. If it's too hard, move down slightly.

Progression for this program is meant to be linear. You should be adding weight to each exercise as you are able to do so. This will vary from person to person, but a good goal is to move up in weight either every week or every other week. ~5lb increases are standard with how weights are made, but if you can move up slower and need to, that is fine as well. The important part is that you make progress over time.

You're more than welcome to add in additional chest work if you feel you need to. Here's our chest exercise (with video demonstration) database. Feel free to browse it for additional chest supplementary lifts: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/chest

Hope this helps and best of luck!

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Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 11:04
Robert

Hey there,

so I'm pretty new to lifting and been doing ICF now for a good two months. However, I found myself switching to the cutting version of 3x5, 2x8 soon after starting as I felt like I was not properly regenerating with the "full" program. Now I'm considering raising the volume a bit again, however I'm hesitant to go for 5x5, 3x8 - Would it be feasible and efficient if I e.g. did 4x5, 2x8? Also, what about doing the last set AMRAP (as many reps as possible)?
Additionally I've been starting to do 2x8 in chest press on non-bench days and shoulder press 2x8 on non-ohp days to work these muscles on all 3 days. Is that feasible, or do you think it will be too much work in the long run?

Best regards!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 16:29
JoshEngland

Hi Robert,

While I don't know for sure since I can't work with you in person, all of these adaptations seem fine to me. So long as you feel you are recovering properly from the additional workload, adding back in some of the volume you've taken out seems like a good progression.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 06/18/2017 - 19:49
AQ

Hi, I'm a female starting out this program.
I'm more focused on gaining muscle tone and fitness rather than gaining bulk. I heard that for my purposes, I could do more reps but with less weight. If so, what would be the number of reps and sets and the % 1RM that you'd recommend? Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 09:28
JoshEngland

Hi AQ,

I'd recommend starting here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/muscle-and-strength-womens-wo...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 06/18/2017 - 12:05
Chris

Hey, I have been lifting weights (4kg and 8kg) for about 3-4 months and used my body weight for the other exercises. Do you think I should still do this program?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 09:30
JoshEngland

Hi Chris,

Sure, I dont see why not. This is a novice program and was designed to be beneficial to those with less than a yr of weight training experience.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 08:37
Chris

Thankyou :D

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Posted Thu, 06/15/2017 - 18:20
Jc garcia

If u don't have a machine for hyperextensions what would an alternative

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:17
JoshEngland

Hi JC,

Supermans would be a suitable alternative. See the video linked below for a demonstration on the variations of supermans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc6UVRS7PW4&t=74s

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 06/14/2017 - 09:13
Robert

Hi, would it be acceptable to do:
Day 1 Workout A
Day 2 Workout B
Day 3 Rest
and Repeat?

I'm doing the maximum weight I can on 5x5 and 3x3 that at the end of the final set I'm completely dead. But I don't feel like I need 48 hours recovery time. On the next day muscle are sore, but only lightly and I feel that I can go for another day of workout.

I am only a novice, so I need a more professional opinion before making such changes to this workout schedule.