Guide To The Jason Blaha ICF 5×5 Workout Routine

Guide To The Jason Blaha ICF 5×5 Workout Routine

6 min read


03 Nov 2020

Have you wanted to start a weightlifting program that can help you build muscle and get stronger while teaching you the fundamentals of fitness? The ICF 5×5 workout by Jason Blaha may be exactly what you need. Expanding on the original 5×5 workout made famous by Reg Park, the ICF workout combines strength training with bodybuilding principles.

Are you new to weightlifting? Do you want to build muscle, get stronger, and develop a leaner physique, but you aren’t sure where to start? The Ice Cream Fitness 5×5 training program by Jason Blaha is a unique take on the traditional 5×5 program that was popularized decades ago.

Ideal for beginners, the typical ICT 5×5 results you can expect to see include more muscle, less fat, and leaps in strength simultaneously. Let’s take a look at what the ICF 5×5 system is, the man behind the program, Jason Blaha, and the complete ICF workout to get you started.

What is ICF 5×5 Workout Routine?

Do you remember when the original 5×5 workout took the interwebs by storm? Comprised of three exercises – barbell squat, bench press, and deadlift – the 5×5 system popularized by Strong Lifts became the introductory workout for many aspiring muscle builders. But it was not the first production of the 5×5 workout. Reg Park, a famous bodybuilder and actor who starred in the Hercules’ movies during the 60s, was the first person to publish the 5×5 workout.

Since the Golden Age of Bodybuilding, the 5×5 workout has evolved to include more exercises, acute variables, and intensity levels, but its foundation is still the same: you’ll always perform squats, bench presses, and deadlifts for 5 sets of 5 repetitions.

The ICF workout takes the original 5×5 workout and adds on to it, combining strength-focused training with bodybuilding principles. In other words, you’ll focus on the exercises that require the 5 sets of 5 repetitions, then you’ll move into more exercises with fewer sets and more repetitions, ensuring total muscle fatigue and preparing an ideal environment for hypertrophy.

Who is Jason Blaha and Why Did He Create this Program?

The ICF 5×5 workout was created by YouTube-based strength coach, Jason Blaha. His adaptation of the original 5×5 system allows for both strength and muscle building progression while offering plenty of variety. Jason Blaha created the ICF 5×5 routine to help beginners learn the fundamentals of muscle and strength building.

While the ICF 5×5 workout routine is solid – in fact, it’s very similar to several other 5×5 adaptations – it should be noted that Jason Blaha is a controversial figure in the online fitness community. Blaha has made many claims about his ability and past that cannot be verified such as being a champion bodybuilder and training in secret martial arts. The unflattering pictures of Jason Blaha are taken as proof by many that he has never been in competitive bodybuilding.

Again, while the program is legit, the creator of it has been under fire in the comment sections of YouTube and Reddit many times.

Benefits of Ice Cream Fitness 5×5 Program

man picking up heavy weight off a rack

With the potentially shady history of the creator aside, let’s discuss the real-life benefits of following the ICF 5×5 workout routine.

Building a Base: Everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s imperative that you get off on the right foot when learning the basics of weightlifting and muscle building. The Ice Cream Fitness 5×5 workout is designed to teach bodybuilding and muscle-building newbies how to safely and effectively perform compound exercises that generate the best results.

Muscle Building: The 5 x 5 style of this workout has been shown to trigger muscle growth. Since you’ll be using a heavier weight for fewer repetitions but more sets, your muscle tissue is receiving the stimuli it needs to activate hypertrophic results. Studies show that this multi-set approach with heavier weights is effective in building muscle mass.

Strength Gains: Every ICF 5×5 workout begins with throwing around the heavier weights, which is going to be excellent for strength gains. Studies show that by focusing on several sets with fewer reps and heavier weights (75% to 90% of your one-repetition maximum), you’ll be able to consistently improve levels of strength.

ICF 5×5 Workout Routine Schedule

The ICT 5×5 workout routine is broken up into two different cycles of alternating workouts. Here are the Ice Cream Workouts that you are going to perform:

ICF Workout A:

  • Squats: 5 sets of 5 repetitions
  • Bench Press: 5 x 5
  • Bent Over Row: 5 x 5
  • Barbell Shrugs: 5 x 5
  • Tricep Extensions: 3 x 8
  • Straight Bar or Incline Curls: 3 x 8
  • Weighted Hyperextensions: 2 x 10
  • Cable Crunches: 3 x 10

ICF Workout B:

  • Squats: 5 sets of 5 repetitions
  • Deadlift : 5 x 5
  • Standing Press: 5 x 5
  • Bent Over Row (10% less weight than Workout A): 5 x 5
  • Close Grip Bench Press: 3 x 8
  • Straight Bar or Incline Curls: 3 x 8
  • Cable Crunches: 3 x 10

In a simple plug-and-play format, you’ll perform the workout that corresponds with the days of the week in the following schedule. Keep in mind that these days are up to you. For example, the most common “Day 1” is Monday, but if you’d rather start your workout schedule on a Sunday, that’s okay. It’s important to start and be consistent than begin on a specific day.

Week One:

  • Day 1: Workout A
  • Day 2: Cardio / Rest
  • Day 3: Workout B
  • Day 4: Cardio / Rest
  • Day 5: Workout A
  • Day 6: Cardio / Rest
  • Day 7: Rest

Week Two:

  • Day 1: Workout B
  • Day 2: Cardio / Rest
  • Day 3: Workout A
  • Day 4: Cardio / Rest
  • Day 5: Workout B
  • Day 6: Cardio / Rest
  • Day 7: Rest

Principles Used in ICF 5×5 Program

Want to know more about the Ice Cream workout? Here are the principles that the ICF 5×5 program is based on:

Quality – Not Quantity: Since the primary focus of the Jason Blaha 5×5 workout is to help the beginning bodybuilder develop an in-depth understanding of foundational muscle building principles, the program does not have a repetition count greater than 30 total reps per exercise. This is to ensure that the lifter can focus on their form and execution, not hitting a target number.

Go Heavy First: Think about it: When would you prefer to push the heavier weight? At the beginning of your workout or towards the end? Naturally, you’re going to have more fuel in the tank at the beginning of your workout, especially if you just had a pre-workout supplement. You want to push through the tougher exercises first and the ICF 5×5 workout is designed to do just that.

Fatigue the Muscle: After the major muscle groups have been put through the wringer with strength-focused exercises, you’ll move on to bodybuilding-style lifts. Using this format, you will fatigue the muscles and promote an anabolic environment for growth, but you must be following a protein-rich diet that is geared toward repair, recovery, and muscle growth.


The ICF 5×5 workout designed by Jason Blaha is a program that is as straightforward as they come. Not only will you learn the essentials of fitness – squats, bench presses, and deadlifts – but you’ll also improve in three key areas: muscle size, strength, and performance. The ICF 5×5 workout is a great way for beginners to get started on the road to muscle growth.

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