Prince Philip was spry and strolling and not using a cane proper up till he died at 99 in April. What stored him strolling tall? It was most likely 5BX, the unique functional fitness routine. Standing for Five Basic Exercises, it’s an 11-minute exercise created for the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1956.

“[It] is designed to show you how to develop and hold a high level of physical fitness, regardless of where you are located,” reads the introduction booklet to the exercise. “The 5BX Plan puts physical fitness within reach of every member of the RCAF.”

Several sources report the Duke of Edinburgh accomplished the easy regime of equipment-free exercises every day—the exercise even made an look in an episode of The Crown, a Netflix sequence in regards to the reign of Prince Philip’s spouse, Queen Elizabeth II.


Canadian Bill Orban developed the routine primarily based on analysis he carried out on the University of Illinois within the Nineteen Fifties. By testing oxygen consumption he realized length of train was much less vital to total health than depth. The RCAF knew its personnel weren’t fighting-fit and employed Orban to develop an train routine that troops may do wherever, even in their barracks, and was brief sufficient to do day by day.

“To develop physical fitness, exercises must be balanced and planned,” explains the narrator in a 5BX promotional movie. “They must be progressive. And, above all, vigorous and regular.”

The Five Basic Exercises embrace toe touches, situps, again extensions, pushups and operating. To make it accessible and encourage steady intensification, Orban included six charts that prescribed modification of every train and progress the variety of reps. While the health, energy and stamina calls for enhance, the time spent on every train and the overall exercise size doesn’t. For occasion, on Chart One, the situp is finished with legs flat and calls for lifting the pinnacle “just high enough to see your heels.” A ‘D’ rating is 3 reps in 1 minute; an ‘A’ is eighteen. On Chart Six, the toughest, it’s 35 to 50 V-sits in 1 minute.

The 11-minute length and equipment-free nature of the exercise had been each controversial on the time, however RCAF testing bore out its effectiveness. Orban went on to develop a girls’s-specific model referred to as XBX, which included six strikes accomplished in 12 minutes. And 5BX grew to become fashionable contained in the army and out.

5BX workout

In 1961, the RCAF released the workout to civilians by publishing a guide referred to as Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans For Physical Fitness. Over the subsequent 30 years it was translated into 13 languages and offered 23 million copies. Some credit score it for kicking off the modern fitness culture and it positively impressed trendy health gurus and developments—it feels like a CrossFit exercise.

While Prince Philip will not be 5BXing anymore, his each day exercise lives on. Prince Charles and Prince William reportedly apply the routine too.

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