When I Say Plank You Say How Long!

How long can you hold a perfect abdominal plank for? 30 seconds, a minute, maybe longer? Well get this, the world record for the longest abdominal plank clocks in at 3 hours, 17 minutes, and 15 seconds. Sorry … pardon? 3 hours! Yep, that’s right, George Hood from the States holds this record that he set on April 20th 2013.

Now as amazing as that is, we want to shed some light on the current woman’s world record holder for the longest abdominal plank. 16-year-old Gabi Ury holds this record at 1 hour 20 minutes and 5 seconds. She seriously killed it, the old record was 40 minutes and 1 second, and Gabi tore that up. A one hour plank is an amazing accomplishment in itself but what is even cooler has got to be Gabi’s story.

Here’s a pic of when Gabi was breaking the world record!

It turns out that Gabi was born with “VATER Syndrome”, a condition categorized by potential abnormalities in the vertebrae, anus, trachea, kidneys, esophagus, heart, and limbs. Gabi says, "I have pretty serious scoliosis and am missing some of my muscles (calf, glutes, and part of my abs). I have had 14 major surgeries in order to live a healthy, happy life." So Gabi had another plan while taking on the plank challenge. She wanted to raise money for a children’s hospital in Colorado that helped her with overcoming VATER syndrome. So far the donations have reached $50,000! Way to go Gabi!

Gabi with her family after she broke the world record!  

How Do We Plank Like Gabi?

Okay, so let’s be honest here, planks are tough. Like I’m talking, body shaking fall to the floor when you reach 2 minutes tough! So how do people get past the pain, and hold the dreaded plank for longer than a few minutes? We have a few tips to help you out so you can plank as long as Gabi! (Okay, well not that long, but hey we might be able to crush the 1 minute mark!)

Tips for a Better Plank:

1. POSITION: Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Now it’s time to hold this position for as long as you can. 

2. BREATHE. Everyone is so focused on how bad their body is aching that they forget to do the simplest most important part of a plank (or any exercise for that matter), breathing! So stop holding your breath and take some long deep inhales and exhales while planking.

3. WORK THE CORE. Really engage your core when you are in the plank position, what I mean by this is suck in your belly button to your spine, and feel the burn!

4. WIDER BASE. The wider your base is the easier it will be for you. Keep your feet and arms far apart and even spread all your fingers out.

5. LOOK AHEAD. Fight the urge to look at your feet when you are in the plank position as it throws off your core and balance. Instead look in front of you.

6. TABLE TOP. You need to pretend that your back is a tabletop. It needs to be flat all the way through. Do not pop your bum up either; you’re such an even surface that you could balance water on that back!

7. FLEX. Make sure you flex your heels. Not only is it a nice way to stabilize your body but it is actually a pretty nice stretch too.


Tricks for Planks:

1. Distract yourself. Sometimes if you aren’t totally focused on the thing itself you forget you are even doing it, the same goes for planks. Try watching TV, listening to music, or reading, while in the plank position. You’ll be less focused on the planking, and it will get you to a longer time.

2. Practice makes perfect. The more you plank the better you’ll be at it. People you are able to do pushups, pull-ups, squat and deadlifts are more likely to find planking easier.

3. If you can’t hold a full plank yet no worries, you will get there! To build up your strength for the time being try a bent knee plank (the same position you would do to do a half push-up, and once that becomes easy for you start to progress to the full plank.

4. Challenge someone to a plank! A challenge always makes you work harder, and you don’t want to give up after just 30 seconds if the person you are challenging is going to stay planking for a minute!

If you want a crazy rock hard-core, you need to start doing planks! It’s an easy technique to get down, you can do them pretty much anytime, anywhere, no equipment necessary, and while they work your core like crazy they also work the rest of your body too. Give planking a try today and maybe set your own person record!