Recently a new world record was set by George Hood. He set a record by holding the abdominal plank exercise for over 5 hours! If you’ve ever done this exercise – you know how impressive this feat is.
He trained for over 9 months for the task and did it to raise funds for the Semper Fi fund for wounded Marines.
This is an amazing story because the plank requires a significant amount of core strength to hold for any length of time, let alone several hours. As you can see in the story, he required helpers to give him ice for his elbows/arms and to simply distract him as he passed the time. Watch the news story below…
The Best Ab Exercise for your Low Back
The plank exercise not only is hard to hold for 5 hours – it is also a great exercise for your abdominals AND lower back. I wrote about this a few months ago and also gave a brief video tutorial on how to perform the plank.
It’s worth noting that you don’t need to plank for 5 hours to benefit from it. Shoot for 5 minutes a day instead and it doesn’t need to be all at once. You can spread this out over the course of the day. Your lower back will be more stable, your abdominals will become more defined and you will feel stronger in most all aspects.
Studies have shown that when you perform any movement the first muscle in your body to fire is the Transversus Abdominus (TA) muscle. This is the primary core stabilizer and it helps maintain a stable center of gravity. This prevents you from tipping over when you reach for a glass of water, pick up a bag of groceries or bend to pick up the newspaper.
The plank exercise specifically targets the Transversus Abdominus and that is why I recommend it as the basis for any exercise regimen. Since the TA is the first muscle to fire with any movement it should be trained first before any other movements. If you cannot hold a plank – it may be adviseable to hold off other exercises until you can do so.
“My strength comes from the abdomen. It’s the center of gravity and the source of real power.” Bruce Lee
As always – ask your chiropractor or doctor about planking and your exercise capabilities/limitations. For some, shoulder issues make holding the plank next to impossible. You will need to do some other variation to work the core, but this is key to maximizing the benefits of other exercise.
Any spinal alignment issues should be addressed prior to stretching/strengthening as well. These are best done in conjunction with one another so that you are not potentially worsening an underlying condition.
Of course, if you have any questions about the plank or any other exercise – give us a call or set up a consultation. We love to help people get more active and learn how to implement activity into their lifestyle. Fitness and activity are a part of leading a chiropractic lifestyle – find ways to be active daily and you will be rewarded!