A man from the Czech Republic has performed the longest abdominal plank ever recorded, as confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records. Josef Šálek, known to his friends as Joska, undertook the physically grueling challenge on May 20, 2023, maintaining a strict plank position for 9 hours, 38 minutes, and 47 seconds.
The world record for longest abdominal plank was previously held by 62-year-old George Hood in Illinois in 2020, and then subsequently broken by Daniel Scali from Adelaide, Australia, who set the previous record in 2021 with a then-historic time of 9 hours, 30 minutes and one second.
It was this time that Joska had to break, drawing on every last reserve of personal discipline.
‘I felt mentally ready, not physically, because my longest uninterrupted training took three and a half hours and I had major complications when I tried to stretch the time staying in a plank position,’ he told Guinness World Records. ‘I knew that in my case it’s not about demanding physical training, but rather about mastering the process… about my mindset.
‘My favourite mental technique, which I was using during the longest plank, was acceptance,’ he continued. ‘When you embrace the difficulty of the exercise together with the fact that life is not only about the pleasant and easy stuff, but also about the unpleasant elements. Sure, there were critical moments. The most critical came between the seventh and eighth hour. I started to feel quite dizzy, in severe pain, but I had faith too and people believed in me, and these powerful feelings blended together and helped me to perform and complete the task successfully.’
Joska described how he used to be overweight and ‘fond of alcohol and cigarettes’ before a ‘life-changing’ experience four years ago, when he was imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates due to a case of mistaken identity. He spent his time in prison — amounting to several months — adhering to a new exercise regime in order to keep his mindset positive, and he continued to do so after his release.
‘A certain life-changing moment brought me to this transformation, so the thing I want to give to the world is that no matter your age, you can just make changes to feel happier, more vital, and healthier,’ he said. ‘It is, in fact, the very message I wanted to spread by breaking the record.’
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