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Who am I? Wife. Mother of 2. "Newbie" to fitness. Personal Trainer-in-training. Lover of health. Fitness. Religion. Family. Gluten and refined sugar intolerant. Welcome to my journey. Learn with me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fun Fact on [The Plank]

According to Wikipedia.org: "The current world record (according to Guinness World Records) for the plank position is 1 hour 20 minutes and 5.01 seconds, set in Naperville, IL on 3 December 2011 by 54 year old George Hood."

Honestly, that is unfathomable to me. That is an incredibly long time! Can you imagine the absolute total body strength that that would take? In case you aren't that familiar with the complexity of the plank (and since I have to give this presentation in my class tonight) here is a rundown for you:


Picture source here

  •  Get in the pushup position, only put your forearms on the ground instead of your hands. Your elbows should line up directly underneath your shoulders. Toes on the ground.
  • Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abdominals.
  • Keep a neutral neck and spine.
  • Create a straight, strong line from head to toes – a plank, if you will.
  • Hold that position. Beginner = 30 seconds, Intermediate = 30 to 60 seconds, Advanced = anything over 90 seconds.
Muscles that are worked:

Specifically, supporting yourself with only your forearms and toes forces the rectus and transversus abdominis of the abs, the erector spinae, trapezius and rhomboids of the back, the rotator cuff and deltoids of the shoulders, the pectorals and serratus anterior of the chest, the quadriceps and gastrocnemius of the legs and, finally, the gluteus maximus to contract and exert force.


Don’t let your hips sag down to the ground. Sagging hips makes the exercise initially easier, but it’s not a plank and it defeats the purpose of the exercise.

Look down at the ground. This is a good prompt for maintaining a neutral neck position.

Keep your shoulders sliding down your back. As you get tired they might start to creep up towards your ears, try to keep them down the whole time!

Don’t forget to breathe, many people hold their breath without realizing it during planks and this will definitely shorten your plank! Tell yourself to inhale and exhale to keep oxygen moving to all those muscles.

When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.


To make the plank easier you can come down on your knees, maintaining the straight plank from your knees. 

To make the exercise harder you can raise one arm or leg or both (on alternate sides) at the same time.

Other main variations include a plank with arms fully extended, reverse plank, and side plank. You can mix up each of these main variations with about a dozen other variations by just moving your arms or legs. 


My current "record" is 2 minutes. My goal would be to be able to do at least 5 minutes eventually. 

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: Have you ever done a plank? What is your longest record? What are your favorite variations? What have you found helps you to do a longer plank?

Loves... Shayla

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