5BX: Fitness in 11 Minutes

Ann’s comment about the RCAF fitness plan got me thinking about 5BX plan. I know that I bumped up against this plan — which is “the RCAF plan” for fitness — sometime in my life. I think my mother may have had the 5BX pamphlet at one point?

Here’s what the Chief of the Defense Staff said in his introduction to the plan:

It is your duty and responsibility as a member of the RCAF to maintain a high level of physical fitness and be ready for any emergency which may require the extended use of your physical resources. Positive physical well-being is also closely allied with mental and emotional fitness, all of which are essential in the discharge of normal daily tasks.

Presumably, in the eyes of public school educators in the American north-east, the same thing applied to their students? The entire 5BX plan is online, courtesy of Abraham Provost in Green Bay, WI.

That Green Bay is only 130 miles (say, a 12 hour run?) from Madison, WI, where Ann’s brother calls home, is a coincidence I will opt not to explore the ramifications of.


Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 12, 2003 - 00:19 Permalink

Can you run 130 miles in 12 hours? The math says that you run better than a 6 minute/mile pace 130 times in a row…you should be looking to join the PEI Roadrunners Club and become their greatest star ever. Better still, you would be world class!!

frank's picture
frank on September 17, 2003 - 07:48 Permalink

i need more informatiosn please

ejaz mian's picture
ejaz mian on November 8, 2003 - 10:02 Permalink

i have been regularly doing the 5bx level 4A+ since 1975 and i am 54 and feel like 27. i hv entire record of my exercise

John Leise's picture
John Leise on December 20, 2003 - 21:40 Permalink

I was well in level 3 when I was twenty-something. Slacked off since. Now I’m almost 57 and my good cholestorol’s too low. For two weeks now, trying to resume. Day 5, I finally managed a level-3 push-up. Today I managed 3, but cannot find that old pamphlet.

Brian Hindle's picture
Brian Hindle on January 6, 2004 - 18:00 Permalink

I dug out my old copy of 5BX just after Christmas and vow to keep doing it no matter what. It is a great exercise plan. I do it as soon as I get out of bed in the morning and find that I really don’t need coffee after cuz I’m wide awake from the exercise.

Bill's picture
Bill on February 24, 2004 - 11:02 Permalink

The 5BX & XBX have recently been reprinted. The 5BX is available on Amazon.com now (search Royal Canadian Fitness). I found it because my copy had my dad’s pen notes all over it.

brian j hindle's picture
brian j hindle on April 28, 2004 - 09:57 Permalink

i can run 120 in 12 hours who needs drugs when you got exercise.

Sandra's picture
Sandra on September 15, 2004 - 22:21 Permalink

Hello, I heard about 5BX from a family member, but I would like to know where I can get information on 5BX for women. Thank you.


Moses Moore's picture
Moses Moore on September 15, 2004 - 23:20 Permalink

Just turned 30; been doing 5bx for over a year now. I wish I could do it every morning, but my job pretty demanding so I only do it as soon as I get home (whenever that is). Great program, but the RCAF abandonded it in the 1970’s. I suspect I may see side effects from using improper form or perhaps improper stretching, but in the absence of anything better I’ll keep on going. I’m at level 4B-(43) now, progressing slowly.

When people say “better than drugs,” I can concour that simple regular exercise has been a better antidepressant than any pill. The trick is not how much you do, but how often.

Kelsang Gyatso's picture
Kelsang Gyatso on June 20, 2005 - 07:57 Permalink

hi guys, i came across 5bx on the internet and am in my first week. i also read that it was abandoned about 25 years ago…anyone has more info on that?

Julius Knoetze's picture
Julius Knoetze on August 31, 2005 - 22:10 Permalink

Now 74 , been doing the 5BX for many years at the top level, may take a little longer but it’s my cup off coffee first thing every day, then comes the coffee. Aslo by then all the aches and pains are gone for the day, till tomorrow. A great simple program

Max's picture
Max on April 26, 2006 - 20:04 Permalink

Started doing 5bx in 1/1967. Have maintained for almost 40 years now. It took over 9 months to reach the 4A+ required of a 28 year old. Regular exercise may have slowed the aging process. I can still do exercises at a higher level than when I started. 4A+ 1st four and 3A+ on 5th. They sure haven’t injured me and I am disease free at 67.


peter baumann's picture
peter baumann on March 4, 2009 - 11:36 Permalink

In 11 minutes a day, this is absolutely the best workout program on the planet ; no equipment needed, minimum floor space required, and executed in little time. Eleven minutes a day and you just work up to doing “more” of the same exercises in the same amount of time. I’ve done 5BX for the past 20 odd years. I’m 65 years of age and have a fitness level of a 35 year old. The trick is to stick to the ‘Rules’ as set out in the plan. Beginners should take it easy and stay on a particular exercise level until they are completely at ease with the number of exercises. Note: initially you don’t have to complete the exercises in the stipulated time. Take it easy at first and don’t push too hard! You will get there! But do the exercises exactly as described. Do them every day and do not find excuses for skipping a day!!!
As say say ‘Read The Rules’!
The Royal Canadian Airforce 5BX Fitness Plan can be downloaded from http://www.corvedale.previewur…