Program Review: Ice-Cream Fitness 5×5 (Beginner)

TL;DR – Alright program, a bit overloaded. I personally started here and it worked for the most part. I’d give it a 6/10. It works, but there’s better for both beginners and intermediate lifters.

Protocol:

  • A/B/A – B/A/B split, 3x a week.
  • A Day: Squats 5×5, Barbell Bench 5×5, Bent Barbell Row 5×5, Barbell Shrugs 3×8, Tricep Extensions 3×8, Incline Curls 3×8, Hyperextensions holding a plate 2×10, Cable Crunches 3×10
  • B Day:  Squats 5×5, Deadlift 1×5, Standing Overhead Press 5×5, Bent Row @90% of A day for 5×5, Close Grip Bench 3×8, Incline Curls 3×8, Cable Crunches 3×10

Honestly, I think this program has too much going on for beginners and is a bit mismatched for intermediate lifters. I think the only thing I really agree with is squatting every day, rowing, and low volume deadlifts. I think it spends a bit too much time on accessory exercises when it could be doing more compound lifts instead. When you’re new, you don’t need curls, you need to learn how to use your entire body better.

Pro’s:

  • Frequent Squats.
  • Slowly builds deadlift.
  • Focus on Rows is good for back growth.

Con’s:

  • Doing overhead Press for 5×5 is horrible for getting stronger. Or anything. Might be personal preference, but doesn’t work well with the middle ground approach of intensity/volume.
  • Strange amount of focus on triceps. Close Grip Bench is placed on a more back focused day, and Shrugs are on a more chest focused day.
  • Curls are dumb. But in his video he suggests Chin-ups, which is a better alternative.
  • Tries to hit everything every single day. This is more of a neutral point, could be good or bad depending on how you respond.

My main critique is simple: If you’re going for a beginning program, do something like StrongLifts and focus on the major lifts with maybe some modifications. If you want something more advanced, grab a program that focuses on a major lift every day with appropriate assistance exercises, i.e. front squats and leg press on Squat day, Close grip bench and dumbbell bench press on bench day, and alternating deadlift forms on deadlift day either doing Sumo for your main lift and conventional for volume or vice versa. This program tries to fit too much into too little and ends up with a jumbled bunch of exercises. Simply put, there’s better beginner and advanced programs, so why go with one that unsuccessfully incorporates both?

Aside: Though this does not impact the validity of the program, it’s worth notifying that the author of this program is known for being both unsavory and very possibly fraudulent. I personally wouldn’t support him or recommend his program at this point. For what info he does give, you can easily get it from other people with more reliability. People like Omar Isuf (probably my favorite YouTube/fitness personality), Martin Berkhan (smart, bit stuck up, insanely strong and proves his method via results), Mark Bell (openly admits to juicing, but still knows what he’s talking about), and Layne Norton  (lots of content, seems legit for the most part.) Another good but controversial personality would be Vegan Gains on YouTube. He’s a bit combative, consults a lot of research, sometimes doesn’t understand said research in its entirety, but overall is pretty keen on sifting through truth and falsehood.

See: Blahpedia.

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