In the 1950’s, the Royal Canadian Air Force asked scientist Bill Orban to create a fitness plan for their pilots. (At the time, a whopping 33% of Royal Canadian Air Force pilots were considered “unfit” for flight.)
Orban was given two requirements: First, the plan must only take a few minutes a day. And second, since many of these pilots were stationed on remote bases, the plan must NOT require any equipment.
Mr. Orban went to work. During his research, he noticed that long periods of exercise did not show any significant advantage over short periods of exercise. Armed with this knowledge, Orban decided that intensity was more important than the duration of time spent exercising.
With that in mind, he created a simple daily exercise program known as “5BX”. The 5BX was eventually released to the public program sold over 23 million copies worldwide.
(Orban received zero money from this worldwide best seller. I guess that’s the pitfall of working with the government.)
The 5BX plan itself is very simple. You can see it for yourself here.
But it got me thinking: What could I recommend if somebody LITERALLY only had 5 minutes a day to get fit and had NO equipment?
Here’s what I came up with:
The Five Minute Fitness Plan
20 Bodyweight Squats
Repeat for as many rounds as you can get within 5 minutes.
Looks incredibly simple, right?
Not only will it get your heart racing, but it works almost every muscle in your body with just two simple, no-equipment-needed exercises.
(Note: The bodyweight squats should be done to proper depth — hips below the knee. If you cut off the squats and make them half or quarter squats, this routine becomes incredibly easy and, by extension, far less effective.)
With the inclusion of one more exercise, the plan gets even better.
20 Bodyweight Squats
I realize not everyone will have access to a pull-up bar so I left it out of the original program. But if you can find a place to pull yourself up, you’re in business. A tree branch, door ledge, I-beam… anything will do in a pinch.
Obviously, a program like this won’t give you 20-inch biceps or the endurance capabilities to run a marathon in under 3 hours.
But this simple program, combined with a smart, healthy eating plan will give you a good-looking physique and a good “base-level” of fitness.
Next time you’re running low on time… or if you’re stuck out in the wilderness somewhere… give this routine a shot.
P.S. This program would work great for college students stuck in tiny dorm rooms.