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The 5BX plan: King Charles’ workout routine explained

The 5BX plan: King Charles’ workout routine explained

King Charles III has continued to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime, which includes a specific workout routine: The 5BX plan.

On 5 February, Buckingham Palace released a statement to announce that the King has cancer. “During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted,” the statement read. “Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.”

The statement also specified that Charles will “continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual” at this time, before the palace shared how grateful the King is to his “medical team for their swift intervention”. The palace then discussed Charles’s positivity, amid his diagnosis, and explained why he chose to publicly share his health condition.

“He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible,” the statement concluded. “His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”

Before the King’s cancer diagnosis was announced, there have been multiple reports about his workout routine, referred to as the 5BX plan, which consists of doing five basic exercises twice a day.

Here’s everything we know about the 5BX plan, and the ways that the King reportedly abides by it.

In 2020, The Telegraph first reported that he performed a 12-minute Royal Canadian Air Force exercise plan, which is something that his two sons – Prince Harry and Prince William – had encouraged him to do. The 5BX plan, with the five representing the five basic exercises, was first developed by Dr Bill Organ in the late 1950s, with the regime designed for pilots who need to be able to exercise without a gym.

For the format of the exercise plan, shared by the University of Waterloo, all workouts can be done in the comfort of your own bedroom. There are many different goals of the routine, from increasing strength in the muscles you use everyday to improving the “efficiency and capacity of the hearts, lungs, and other body organs”.

The plan itself is “composed of six charts arranged in progression,” with each chart composed of “five exercises which are always performed in the same order and in the same maximum time limit”. However, as people move from chart to chart, there are some changes in the exercises, “with a gradual demand for more effort”.

For example, chart one starts with people putting their feet astride and lifting their arms up, before bending to touch the floor and then stretching upward. As the basic exercises continue to change, the chart ends with stational run and scissor jumps. They can then repeat the exercise process, resulting in up to eleven minutes of exercise a day.

Each exercise in the chart is also described on levels, based on how many times you do the exercise and for how many minutes each. According to the 5BX plan, people are encouraged to progress through all steps of chart one, working from level to level, before moving up to chart two.

Throughout charts two and six, the exercises gradually change, with some of them including hand-knee bends, semi-squat jumps, and semi-spread eagle jumps.

In his explosive memoir, Spare, Harry went on to describe his father’s workout regime, claiming that the King regularly performed half-naked headstands to manage his chronic pain from old polo injuries. The Duke of Sussex wrote that Charles carried out these exercises daily while wearing a pair of boxers while “propped against a door or hanging from a bar like a skilled acrobat”.

In 2020, now Queen Camilla also revealed that the King was an avid walker. She described her husband, when he was in his early 70s, as “probably the fittest man of his age I know”.

“He’ll walk and walk and walk,” she said,  during an appearance on BBC Radio 5’s The Emma Barnett Show. “He’s like a mountain goat. He leaves everybody miles behind.”