Starting this year, Marines will have the option to do an abdominal plank in place of their crunches on their annual fitness test. In order to max out the score for the plank, Marines of either gender will have to hold the plank position for four minutes and 20 seconds… but if you think that sounds rough, you’ll really be impressed with Marine veteran George E. Hood’s latest world record.
Hood held the abdominal plank for an astonishing eight hours, fifteen minutes, and fifteen seconds in order to secure yet another world record. That’s right, this isn’t the first incredible feat this Marine has mustered, in point of fact, this record is his twelfth.
“I believe in the plank as a total body-conditioning exercise,” Hood told Marine Corps Times on Friday. “I have learned a lot from training in that pose. It’s the best exercise I have ever done.”
This isn’t even the first plank-related record Hood has owned. He first took the title for longest time in the plank position way back in 2011 with the comparatively paltry time of just one hour, 20 minutes, and 25 seconds. This time, however, he had to break the 8-hour mark in order to unseat Mao Weidong of Beijing, China — who beat Hood in a previous competition with a time of eight hours and one minute.
Adding fourteen minutes to the previous record may well help Hood keep the title for some time, but that’s not the only reason he held on. He also wanted to get the time to 8:15:15 so it would have “515” in the number, in honor of 515 Fitness, a gym he attends that places a large emphasis on addressing mental health through exercise.
“I got involved in this because I was training anyway with the Marines,” Hood said. “At the beginning, this is about me, training to do my best. It runs in my blood!”
But don’t let Hood’s accomplishments fool you into thinking this was an easy day for the Marine turned Drug Enforcement Administration supervisory special agent. According to Hood, he trained seven hours a dayfor the past 18 months in order to reach his goal.
“It’s 4-5 hours a day in the plank pose,” Hood told CNN. “Then I do 700 pushups a day, 2,000 situps a day in sets of a hundred, 500 leg squats a day. For upper body and the arms, I do approximately 300 arm curls a day.”
According to Hood, training for long-duration planking isn’t all that dissimilar from training for long-distance running. He compares the phases of difficulty in the plank to the “wall” runners often talk about hitting early in their races.
“The burning will set in those elbows. The skin will break and they will bleed,” Hood said. “When that happens, (my coach) talks me through it and I take lots of water and eventually they go numb. When the numbness sets in, I’m generally pretty good. It’s just a matter of being tired and wanting to stop.”
Hood said he doesn’t expect to return to planking for another record, and has instead set his sights on taking another record: most push-ups executed in one hour. After Hood finished his planking record, he even rattled off an additional 75 push-ups for good measure.
Of course, it’ll take a lot more than that to secure the title. The current one-hour push-up record is 2,806. Hood’s not daunted by that, nor does he think he’s particularly special. According to Hood, the only difference between him and the next guy is hard work.”Anybody can do what I do,” Hood said. “Everybody has to start somewhere. Every tree that’s planted has roots. Once that tree is planted and those roots start to grow, whether it be 30 seconds or a minute or 5 minutes or an hour (of holding a plank), you start repeating the process and taking care of your tree, it will grow and you will improve and you will actually get better.”