Imagine that you’ve been in plank position for a minute. Most of us would be sweating, straining to keep our rear ends in the ear, our muscles twitching and crying for relief.
Now multiply that experience by 240. That’s what Montreal, Quebec, superwoman Dana Glowacka went through a few weeks ago when she shattered the world record for the longest female abdominal plank, holding the position for an incredible 4 hours and 20 minutes.
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The abdominal plank is considered one of the greatest tests of core strength. As Scott Laidler, the trainer at the Daily Telegraph, explains: “the core is the group of muscles that make up your torso. It includes your abdominals, internal and external obliques, your glutes and a host of smaller stabilizing muscles.”
As though this weren’t enough, planks also work “your lower back, hips, and buttocks.” Basically, as Laidler told the Telegraph, “the plank is the quintessential abdominal/core exercise. Any workout regime that left it out would be a little hollow.”
But if most people who are considered to be in good shape can only hold this position correctly for a few minutes, how could Glowacka do this for over four hours?
Glowacka, a mom and fitness enthusiast, got a huge boost in her training program from the legendary George Hood, a former DEA agent and Marine corps veteran officer. The world record for abdominal plank for men had first been set at 4 hours and 26 minutes by a SWAT team officer in China named Mao Weidong back in 2014.
But then in 2018, George Hood set the bar so high that it’s possible no one will ever reach it. As reported by Patch, the record-breaking effort took place at the Indian Boundary YMCA in Downer’s Grove, Illinois, where the 60-year-old Hood works as a fitness director. He took on a challenge to support Chicago’s Urban Warriors, an organization that works to prevent violence in the city.
Dedicating his efforts to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Hood proceeded to hold his plank for an astonishing 10 hours and 10 minutes!
This was the muscle that Dana Glowacka wanted behind her as she took on the female plank record. Inspired by George Hood’s record, she trained with him relentlessly in preparation for her own superhuman feat.
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As for the previous women’s record, it had been set by Cyprus woman Maria Kalimera for 3 hours and 31 minutes in 2015. Kalimera was a fierce bodybuilder who also had set the record for longest time in abdominal plank with a 60-pound (approx. 27-kilogram) weight on her back, according to the Cyprus Beat.
So when Dana Glowacka started training for the record, she knew she had her work cut out for her. In order to get her into shape, her mentor, George Hood, didn’t hold back any challenges. “There are many nights ending with last set plank around 10pm,” she posted on Instagram.
He wanted to make sure Glowacka was as strong as possible and came up with lots of creative ways to do so—even having her get into plank on the mat and getting himself into plank on top of her. With his feet on her shoulders and his hands on her feet, she had to carry his weight plus her own!
When Dana got into plank on May 18, 2019, in Naperville, Illinois, she knew she could do it. She had George Hood right by her side, along with her son, whom she dedicated her attempt to. “Mom, you can do it!” he told her, as she posted on Instagram.
That support, along with that of her brother, who traveled over 24 hours to be with her, as well as her friends and other family who came all the way from Canada, propelled her to the record 4 hours and 20 minutes.
Dana’s advice on Instagram to other women who want to know how to improve themselves: “find something that makes you feel stronger and healthier and then, happiness will follow. You have to move your body and eat better, so you start feeling better. Your body and mind will be grateful to you.”
Words of wisdom from an incredible mom, an incredible athlete, and an incredible person!