Learn How to Hold a Plank for 3 Minutes or 3 Hours From The Man Who Set The Guinness World Record In The Plank Exercise
Apparently, this is old news since it happened a couple of months ago (and nobody told me!), but WAY back in April 2013 a new world record was set for the plank exercise (news article here – hat tip goes to Chris). Now, you may recall that I posted a brief article about George Hood performing an elbow plank for an hour and twenty minutes – securing him yet another spot in the Guinness World Record Book. Well, not to be out-done, George Hood was at it again this past April and absolutely shattered his former record. Because being the best in the world isn’t good enough.
For those who care about such abstract numbers, Hood managed to hold a plank for 3 hours, 7 minutes, and 15 seconds (Guinness World Record page here). Just as a means of comparison, I don’t think I’ve ever even taken a nap for that long (new Guinness category?).
Perhaps it’s too obvious to state, but this guy is clearly a machine. So, how does he do it? And what does it look like to prepare for a world record in the plank exercise?
Well, in his own words…
I was doing, on average, 12 to 15 hours of planking a week, the longest of which at any one time was 45-60 minutes. When I do long planks, I have a technical coach and a cognitive conditioning coach with me. Overall, though, I train about four hours a day. That includes plank time, cardio work (three to five miles running or two hours on my spin bike) and the corresponding floor work, which consists of, but isn’t limited to, 150-200 pushups a day, 2,000 crunches a day (20 sets of 100), and upwards of 100 repetitions of curls to make my arms stronger and build up muscular endurance.
Oh, is that all?
And here I was expecting him to train for at least five hours a day. Tsk tsk. After all, it was reported that Hood’s daily routine would take between 5-7 hours a day last time around. So, either he’s getting lazy, succumbing to old age, or perhaps he’s a bit more efficient in his training program and doesn’t need to spend 5-7 hours a day to break his own world record.
So, what’s the key lesson here? Well, I think most obviously is that if you want to set or break a world record in a physical endeavor, it’s going to take a heck of a lot of work, and a lot of time. I mean, by my estimates, this guy spends a whopping 8% of his time, in any given week, in the plank position. And if you think that would be easy-peasy – why not try spending just 1% of your time in the plank position this week. According to my calculations, that would be 14 minutes, 24 seconds each day for you math whizzes. Let me know how you’re feeling on day 3, and send me a postcard if you make it through day 7.
Oh, and then you’d need to keep doing that for a year and a half like Hood did to beat his own record, which he had spent even longer preparing for in the first place. That’s right, folks. Ambitious goals usually take years – not weeks or even months – to accomplish.
Needless to say, Hood’s performance is larger than life. It’s not something most of us semi-normal folks would ever want or need to do. It’s an extraordinary world record that inspires us to work harder in our ordinary lives. And even my super-competitive nature is A-OK with that.
From a practical standpoint, the main lesson I draw from Hood’s story is that you need to practice your chosen feat as often as you can – even daily, if possible. And that’s a lesson I think all of us need to be reminded of from time to time. That daily practice is often what it takes to succeed in any great undertaking in life.
So, what is your chosen feat? Maybe it’s not to break a world record in the plank exercise, but to lose 30 lbs of fat, or gain 30 lbs of muscle. Maybe you want to deadlift twice your bodyweight by next year or compete in kettlebell sport. Maybe your chosen feat has nothing to do with training at all. Maybe you need to give up the sweets, or the alcohol, or the junk food. And just maybe you’re as physically fit and healthy as can be, but your career is a mess, or you have no direction for your future. Maybe you just want to graduate, go back to school, or start that business you’ve been thinking about. And not to be your shrink or anything, but maybe it’s a messed up relationship that you want to turn around.
Every one of us has those things that seem insurmountable – that seem a lot like holding a plank for 3+ hours. It seems impossible, and might be impossible today. But if you make a decision to make things happen and get started today, and never give up each and every day until you’ve reached your goal, then it’s only a matter of time before you do make it happen.
So, go and do that. Make a decision. Write it down. Tell someone who cares enough to ask you about it. And then get to work. It’ll be hard. You’ll want to give up. But it’ll be worth it in the end. Don’t regret not making that all-important decision today. We’re all in this together, and we’re all counting on you.
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. -Mark Twain
Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be when we are without power to change our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistances. This second, we can sit down and do our work. -Steven Pressfield
“Choose one small thing to start with that will move you toward your dream and do it to the best of your ability.” -Darren Rowse
If you missed my last write-up about George Hood, you can check it out here: Another Plank World Record That We Can All Learn From.
Or, if you’re a real go-getter, check out the goods at the links below.
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CST Coach, CST-KS
Health-First Fitness Coach
P.P.S. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/livingfitnessuk/