The 5BX Exercise Plan


The 5BX exercise plan (5 Basic eXercises) is a combination of aerobic exercises and stretching exercises. It only takes 11 minutes to do and you don’t need any equipment. It’s a workout you can do at home and you’ll be using all your muscle groups, because it’s a whole body workout. As your fitness improves, the exercises gradually become more difficult, although you’ll still only need 11 minutes to finish it. As you progress, you’ll become fitter and you’ll be able to do more repetitions. It was created by the Royal Canadian Air Force to increase fitness levels in its pilots without the need for gym equipment.

People all around the world have been using it for more than 63 years. For example, Prince Philip (the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II of UK) had said it was one of the reasons for his good health despite his age. He had continued to do these exercises even in his nineties! You too can benefit from Prince Philip’s exercise routine.

How to do the 5BX exercise plan

You can do the 5BX exercise plan at home in your room. There are 6 charts, which are arranged from least difficult (Chart 1) to most difficult (Chart 6). Each chart has 5 exercises. You will be doing a particular exercise for a few minutes each. As you progress from one chart to the next one there will be slight changes in each basic exercise. As you will see, there is a gradual demand for more effort.

You only need to do one chart in a day. You can complete any chart in 11 minutes. Start with Chart 1. You should only progress to Chart 2 after you can do all the exercises in Chart 1 with ease. You can progress like this to Chart 6. On the other hand, if you feel uncomfortable doing some of the exercises you can move to the chart before it.

You don’t have to progress all the way up to Chart 6 as there may be exercises you can’t do. If you have pre-existing conditions like heart disease or back disorders, speak to your doctor before starting these exercises.

With each chart, you will see a table at the bottom.This will vary with each chart and it shows the number of times you have to do each exercise. For example, here is the table for Chart 1:

5BX Exercise Plan Chart 1

If you are unable to do Exercise 5, there are 2 alternative options listed in the last 2 columns: you can either walk or run. Do either one of these options in the time stated.

You should progress from D- or C- to A+ in each chart before moving on to the next chart (see below).

5BX Exercise Plan Progression

Are the 5BX Exercises safe?

Recently there has been some concern about the safety of some of the 5BX exercises. This mainly focuses on the sit-up exercises and their effect on the spine. In general, if you suffer from neck/back pain or vertebral disease, it might be best to just omit these sit-up exercises and continue with the other components of 5BX. This advice is also true if you notice persistent discomfort after any particular type of exercise. Speak to your doctor before starting the 5BX exercises to ensure they are suitable for you.