Jason Blaha’s Ice Cream Fitness 5×5 Novice & Intermediate Workout Program

You might have been through the experience or you may know someone who has started lifting weights with enthusiasm but have quit within few months or a year. Mostly the reason behind quitting is lack of motivation and slower results.

Seeing visible and noticeable results of your workout will keep you motivated to continue working out and even pushing your limits. The Jason Blaha’s ice cream fitness 5×5 program is designed keeping this fact in mind.

If you are a novice just starting to lifting weights then the Jason Blaha’s ice cream fitness 5×5 workout program is the perfect fit for you. It will help you gain maximum results in short span of time.

Even if you have already started lifting weights and consider yourself to be an intermediate level lifter, don’t worry, there is an intermediate version of the same program designed to fit your needs.

The ICF 5×5 is an effective and proven program for muscle and strength building in short span of time. If you wish to follow a proven strength progression program or looking for a structured muscle building program for novice or intermediate level then you don’t need to look for anything beyond Jason Blaha’s ice cream fitness 5×5 program.

Who is Jason Blaha?

Jason Blaha is a strength coach who designed this incredible ice cream fitness 5×5 workout program. He is a popular strength coach all over social media channels.

Famous for his strict approach and straightforward bitter truth statements, Jason Blaha gives a different perspective towards working out through his youtube videos. He is very clear in approach. He believe that if you are not willing to perform heavy squats, deadlifts and other compound exercises then you are not going to get results for a long time.

Jason Blaha has designed this 5×5 ice cream fitness program focussing on strength building through squats, deadlifts and bench press, but this program also includes many accessory workouts for hypertrophy to help you grow muscle too.

What Is Jason Blaha’s Ice Cream Fitness 5×5 Program?

The ice cream fitness 5×5 workout program is an adaptation of 5×5 strength progression program. This adaptation is designed by American strength coach Jason Blaha.

This program utilises 5 sets of 5 reps structure, hence the name 5×5. In all over the program you will find no routine that utilises more than 30 reps in a session for any exercise. This is aimed at keeping your form perfect. With lower reps you can focus on biomechanics of each lift very closely.

This program is best suited for new and intermediate lifters. This will help them do quality workout instead of high quantity workout without results. Even advance lifters can use this program in unloading phase.

This well structured rigid program gives you strong guideline about the schedule of your sessions, plan the exercises and choose the weights to these. The plan utilises linear progression that makes it easier to understand and follow.

How ICF Program Works?

This ice cream fitness program is a full body training program. This utilises barbell compound exercises to improve your strength and help you grow muscle mass.

The ICF program utilises strength training in progressive manner to built strength and progress without the risk of injury.

The unique feature of this program is to make you lift heavy without sacrificing on your form. Thus, this program encompasses lower repetitions per session.

The program has three workout days with one rest day in between two workout session, this gives the muscles enough time to recover to full strength for the next workout. Every session of the program has full body workouts thus inducing high frequency muscle training.

Introduction to Jason Blaha’s Ice Cream Fitness 5×5 Novice Program

Jason Blaha's Ice Cream Fitness 5x5

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The Jason Blaha ice cream fitness program comprises of main lifts and accessories. The main lifts are squats, deadlifts, overhead shoulder press, bent over barbell row and bench press. The program includes many accessories to help with hypertrophy.

The main lifts are divided into two sessions. Each session necessarily has both push and pull movement exercises.

  • There will be three workout days in a week with one day rest after each workout. The whole program will run in two week cycles as the program is spread over two weeks.
  • All the main lifts have sets of five reps. The weight selection for the reps of first week depend on your current strength level. In the next weeks the weight will increase in linear progression style.

Workout overview

This ICF 5×5 workout program utilises the basic concepts of bodybuilding. You break your muscle while working out, you feed them with nutrition and you grow them while resting. This program provides you enough rest days to speed up the muscle and strength gains.

Heavier the weight you lift greater will the muscle gain. With this program you will be doing lower reps, enabling you to lift heavy and in turn helping you with greater hypertrophy. This will help beginner and intermediate lifter to get used to heavier weights.

As you will be doing full body workout in each session, the frequency of working out a particular muscle group will be more than any other program.

Benefits of the 5×5 Strength Program by Jason Blaha

Among the many possibilities of ICF 5×5 workout program, here are few key benefits listed.

  • Faster raise in raw strength of the body
  • Greater hypertrophy
  • Better form due to lower reps
  • Builds a foundation for advanced goals
  • Helps create muscle memory that lasts

ICF 5×5 General Guidelines

It is always exciting to start a new workout routine. But in order to get faster results without any injury out of any program, along with the excitement we need to know the complete guidelines about it. Here are some general guidelines you need to follow to optimise the results.

  • The break times between the sets should be consistent. For the five rep sets the break time between sets can be 2-3 mins and for 3×8 rep sets it can be 1-2 mins
  • The most of the workouts can be done with 70% of one rep max. if you don’t know the exact one rep max for you can use the weights that feel moderately heavy
  • Start any workout session with good warm up. Observe the number of reps for each workout. If some workout has low number of reps then do it with heavy weight.
  • Your biomechanics are the most crucial factor in determining the result of the exercise. The program encompasses low rep exercises to make you workout in perfect form. Make sure you do each rep in the best form
  • Do not add, remove or alter the exercises, reps or anything about the workout. You need to follow it as it is. If you can not do any exercise due to medical reasons, then and only then you can skip that particular exercise
  • Each workout session is expected to last around 90 minutes

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Workout Schedule

As stated earlier, the program is split into two weeks. There are two workout groups, workout A and workout B which you will do in ABA sequence for first week and BAB sequence for the second week. This two week cycle will keep repeating.

The day one of the week can be Monday or Tuesday as per your preference. So, if the day one is Monday, you will be performing workout A on Monday, B on Wednesday and again A on Friday of the first week.

On second week, Monday will be workout B, Wednesday workout A and workout B on Friday. You will be resting on the other days of the week.

Week 1

Week 2

Day 1 – Workout A

Day 1 – Workout B

Day 2 – Rest

Day 2 – Rest

Day 3 – Workout B

Day 3 – Workout A

Day 4 – Rest

Day 4 – Rest

Day 5 – Workout A

Day 5 – Workout B

Day 6 – Rest

Day 6 – Rest

Day 7 – Rest

Day 7 – Rest

Weight Selection & Progression

The ICF 5×5 workout program has the simplest weight selection and progression strategy. You start the program with lifting moderately comfortable weights. Then you start adding weights on each workout next. The amount of weight to be added every new session is constant. Thus, the progression will be linear.

  • The weight to be added to your lower body lifts is around 5-10 pounds and you can add 2-4 pounds to your upper body lifts every session.
  • If you find it difficult to keep up with the new weight, you should continue with the same weight on next workout. If you still not able to finish the workout with this weight then you should reduce the weight by 10% on next workout session rounding it down to feasible number. After stabilising again start adding weight to the next workout.

Workout Plan

The workout schedule above mentions two workout plans to be carried out in alternate fashion. The workout A and the workout B. following tables give you the complete list of exercises to be performed and sets and reps to be completed in each plan.

Jason Blaha's Ice Cream Fitness 5x5 Program

ICF workout A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Main lifts

Barbell Squats

5

5

Bench Press

5

5

Bent Over Row

5

5

Accessories

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

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Main lifts

Barbell Squats

5

5

Deadlift

1

5

Standing Press

5

5

Accessories

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

Jason Blaha’s 5×5 Accessory Workout Substitutions

The workout plan and the schedule given above is more than enough to help you make massive gains in terms of strength and muscle mass. But depending on your personal preference and in order to spice up your workout a little more, you can use some or all of the substitute accessory workouts too.

  • You can add some sets of calf raises at the end of workout.
  • Lateral raises and front raises can be done to put a little extra work
  • The cable crunches can be substituted with some other ab exercise.
  • A complete ab workout day can be added on one of the rest days.
  • Close grip bench press or push ups can be used as substitute or additional accessory exercise.
  • Low intensity cardio can be helpful if you are on heavier side.

Ice Cream Fitness Novice Program 2.0

This can be called as improvement or an update over the original workout program. The ice cream fitness novice 2.0 program is more compact version of the original ICF 5×5.

It is recommended that this program should be followed only by those who are healthy and young and have no medical issues. As the intensity of this program is a little higher than the original one. In this version you are supposed to lift heavier weights in small time as the reps and workouts and the time required per session are further reduced.

Novice 2.0 ICF workout plan B

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Barbell Squats

3

5

Bench Press

3

5

Bent Over Barbell Row

3

5

Overhead Standing Press

3

5

Barbell Curls

2

8

Facepulls

1

20

Standing Crunches

1

20

Novice 2.0 ICF workout plan A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Barbell Squats

3

5

Deadlift

1

5

Bench Press

3

5

Overhead Standing Press

3

5

Barbell Curls

2

8

Facepulls

1

20

Standing Crunches

1

20

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Jason Blaha Intermediate Program

The Jason Blaha intermediate program is an advanced version of the main ICF 5×5. The intensity of the program raises in terms of the frequency of the workout. In the intermediate program you work out 4 days a week instead of 3 days a week with the rest days spread evenly in between.

Same as the novice plan the intermediate program too is based on linear progression. You raise the weights you are lifting by about five percent every third week.

As shown in the table below the schedule for the intermediate program will look similar for every week. The ideal set up would be; workout A on Monday and Thursday, B on Tuesday and Friday and rest on Wednesday and weekends.

Week 1

Week 2

Day 1 – Workout A

Day 1 – Workout A

Day 2 – Workout B

Day 2 – Workout B

Day 3 – Rest

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Workout A

Day 4 – Workout A

Day 5 – Workout B

Day 5 – Workout B

Day 6 – Rest

Day 6 – Rest

Day 7 – Rest

Day 7 – Rest

Jason Blaha Intermediate Program Guidelines

If you have recently moved to intermediate program you need to be extra careful about the raised intensity. You must follow the following guidelines strictly in order to avoid injury and maximise gains.

  • You start week 1 with 70% of 1 RM weights
  • Do not modify even the accessories
  • Be ready to put in more time in the gym
  • In any condition you can not skip warm up
  • Increased frequency means you have to be more careful about your form

Jason Blaha Intermediate Workout Plan

Workout A

Workout B

Squats

Bench press

Deadlifts

Barbell rows

Accessories

Overhead press

Accessories

Unlike novice program the number of reps and sets are not constant in the intermediate program. It involves gradual changes in rep and set combos every week. The combo remains the same for all main lifts throughout the session.

Refer the table below for selection of number of reps per set, sets per session and the weight to be lifted in that session.

Week

Sets

Reps

Weight % of 1 RM

Week 1

3

10

70%

Week 2

4

10

70%

Week 3

5

10

70%

Week 4

3

8

75%

Week 5

4

8

75%

Week 6

5

8

75%

Week 7

3

5

80%

Week 8

4

5

80%

Week 9

5

5

80%

Week 10

3

3

85%

Week 11

3

1

90%

Week 12

3

5

50% Deload

When is The Time to Switch from Jason Blaha 5×5 Novice Program to Intermediate Program

Moving to the intermediate program from novice program cannot and should not be within short span of time. You must be lifting for six to twelve months before moving to intermediate program. You must have put in regular thrice a week session for that period to be able to move to more intense version of the workout program.

The exact time when to move on to intermediate version of Jason Blaha’s ICF workout program cannot be determined as it depends on many subjective things. If your goal is to just stay fit and you have limited time to spend in the gym then you can continue following the novice version as long as you want. If you are serious about bodybuilding and want faster results you can switch over as soon as you finish three month progression cycles.

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Final Thoughts

The day you start your journey towards being fit through gym exercises from that same day you need a structured plan to follow. Even if your goal is just to stay fit you need a plan to keep yourself regularly working and have some check on the process.

This Jason Blaha’s ice cream 5×5 workout plan will help you achieve the strength and muscle gains faster. And in turn this program will keep you motivated to do more.