Exercises for the RCAF

Running in place is one part of the final exercise in the RCAF exercise program.
i Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Dr. Bill Orban developed the Royal Canadian Air Force 5BX exercise program in the late 1950s for men. Known as the RCAF exercise program, it centers on five basic exercises and a collection of six performance charts. The female version, known as the XBX, was developed in the late 1960s. It includes 10 different exercises. Each exercise in both programs has a certain amount of repetitions that you perform in a certain amount of time. In each chart, the only things that change are how many times each exercise is performed in the given amount of time. The XBX program for women is outlined here.

RCAF XBX Exercise Plan

    Step 1

    Determine which performance chart you should use to begin with. Each level is based on age and fitness level. Once this is determined, you will know how many repetitions of each exercise must be performed in a certain period.

    Step 2

    Start with exercise one. Stand with your feet at shoulder width and your arms in the air above your head. Bend forward to touch the floor. Raise your body back up to the starting position and then bend backward slightly. Repeat the amount of repetitions on your appropriate chart in the period listed for this exercise.

    Step 3

    Begin exercise two in a standing position with your arms to your side. Raise one knee as high as possible while using your hands to pull your knee and shin toward your body. Make sure you keep your back straight. Lower your leg down to starting position. Repeat this movement with the opposite leg. Continue for your required repetitions.

    Step 4

    Still standing with your arms at your side, place your feet about 12 inches apart. Bending at the waist, slide your left hand down your left leg as far as you can stretch. Return to the starting position and repeat with the right hand. A repetition requires both sides. Repeat for your required repetitions.

    Step 5

    Begin exercise four standing with your feet 12 inches apart and your arms at your side. With your left arm, make a large circle by rotating your shoulder in a forward motion. Repeat this with the right arm. Do the same again but this time move your circle in a backward motion. Each circle marks one count. Repeat for your required repetitions.

    Step 6

    Lie flat on your back with your feet 6 inches apart and your arms at your side. With your legs straight, lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Continue lifting until you can see your heels. Return to the starting position and repeat.

    Step 7

    Lie on your stomach with your palms underneath your thighs. Raise your head and one leg off the floor. Your leg must stay straight and your thigh must clear your palm. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. This counts as one repetition.

    Step 8

    Lie on your side with your legs straight. Extend your lower arm below your head and place your upper arm in front of you, palms down on the floor, for balance. Raise your upper leg 1 to 24 inches and then lower to starting position. Do half of your required repetitions with the first leg and then switch to the other side.

    Step 9

    Lie flat on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and palms flat on the floor. Straighten your arms and lift your upper body off the floor. Keep your knees on the floor but fully extend your arms. Sit back onto your heels. Lower your body to the starting position. Repeat your amount of repetitions.

    Step 10

    Lie flat on your back with your legs together and straight. Your arms should be at your side with palms down. Raise your left leg so that it is at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Lower to starting position and do the same with the right leg. You must do this with both legs to count as a full repetition.

    Step 11

    Perform the final exercise. This exercise is a combination exercise that includes a stationary run and hops. For the stationary run, simply run in place. Lift your feet approximately 4 inches off the floor with each step. Count one step after each foot has been lifted. Every 50 steps, you perform 10 hops. To hop, lift both feet off the floor at the same time. You should be lifting them at least 4 inches. Only count the running steps toward your repetition amount.


    • As with all new exercise programs, consult with your physician before starting the 5BX or XBX programs.

    Things You'll Need

    • XBX Plan Charts

the nest