We have been talking a lot about the plank around here lately. A certain young lady claims to be able to hold the position for 4 ½ minutes. A certain older lady can only do 1-½ minutes. Most exercisers aim for 30 seconds, and work up to 1 or 2 minutes. In light of our recent “plank-offs” I was surprised to see an article about the current Guinness Book of World Records holder, who stayed in the plank position for an astounding 3 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds!
The plank is a very effective abdominal exercise that can be done anywhere.
Start in pushup position, with your elbows bent, and your weight resting on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body should be perfectly straight from your head to your toes. Without arching your back, brace your abdominal muscles and hold the position for a specified period of time. Yes, it is possible that you are shaking and ready to quit in a matter of seconds.
Now imagine doing this for several minutes, let alone hours!
George Hood, the 55-year-old ex-Marine and fitness trainer who broke the record, shared this tip for prolonged planking:
Distract yourself from the realities of the clock. Hood uses a team to help him do this, including a cognitive conditioning coach, who chats among the group and shares snippets of the conversation with him. He thinks about his day, his family and anything other than the passage of time. Hood also does not allow anyone to tell him the time unless he asks.
Mental toughness is key, with the body being able to do more than the mind generally allows.
The first record for holding the plank was 19 minutes, 59 seconds. Mr. Hood has exceeded that record twice previously, with times of 50 minutes, and 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Take the challenge…How long can you hold a plank?