Former Marine, Aged 62, Sets 8 Hour Guinness World Record for Planking

Credit: George Hood/Josef Holic
Credit: George Hood/Josef Holic

To hold the plank position for any length of time can be excruciating, but to keep it for over eight hours is incredible for anyone at any age.  But to do it at age 62 makes this feat even more amazing.

George Hood, an ex-Marine, has set the world record for holding the abdominal plank position for men.

He held the position for an astounding 8 hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds, with the time being verified by Guinness World Records.

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George claims to be in the best shape of his life, but this is not the first time that this former Marine and retired special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration has broken this world record.

He first broke the record in 2011, when he was the world record holder for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

In 2016 he made another attempt at the record, but he lost it to Mao Weidong from China, who planked for 8 hours, 1 minute, and 1 second.

Hood, who hails from Naperville in Illinois, was determined to claim his record back again, so for the past 18 months, he has trained for an average of 7 hours a day.

The planking god. George Hood/Josef Holic
The planking god. George Hood/Josef Holic

In an interview with CNN, Hood said that his daily training regime consisted of 2,000 sit-ups and 700 push-ups done in sets of 100, then 500 leg squats followed by between four and five hours of holding the plank position.

To round off the day, he would do 300 arm curls to build his upper body and arms.

Arriving at the platform to undertake his planking record attempt, Hood thought about his three sons and turned up the rock music that kept him focused.

Hood said that he had fantasized about being a rock star during his heydays in the 1980s, so for the time he was holding his plank, he had the music blasting in his ears, and he said he felt like a rock star.

When asked how he felt during the record attempt, he explained that holding the position for so long, he faced hurdles like those faced by marathon athletes.

First comes the burning in his elbows, then the skin breaks, and they start to bleed.  He said he relied on his coach to talk to him and to ensure that he had lots of water to drink.  Then his elbows will go numb, and when that happens, he only must face the desire to give in as tiredness sets in.

Hood went on to say that he was determined not to give in to tiredness as he was undertaking this marathon planking session to raise awareness around mental health issues.

He saw the devastation wrought by mental health issues in law enforcement and the military as these conditions tend to be stigmatized so officials will not report them.

To reinforce this point, he undertook the record attempt at a gymnasium, 515 Fitness, that specializes in using fitness alongside professional help to overcome mental illness.

Hood spoke of how many people found it challenging to handle the violence and shooting found in combat and many law enforcement situations.

The reason for this failure to manage the violence comes from many things, but no-one understands what is happening in the lives of people.

They may be struggling with financial or marital stresses or having difficulty with their children or other family members.

All of this contributes to the stress that these people work under every day, and it is not surprising that some cannot manage on their own.

Hood said that at 515 Fitness, there were trained medical staff as well as physical fitness trainers that could help address all the issues.

When asked why he did not stop planking when he passed the 8 hours and 1-minute mark, which would have given him the new record, Hood said he wanted the record to have ‘515’ in it, so he pushed on to 8 hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds.

When he passed his target time, he did a quick 75 push-ups, just to celebrate!

Hood does not believe that he will tackle this record again in the future, but he has no plans to sit back and not undertake another challenge.

The world record for the most push-ups completed in 60 minutes stands at 2,806, and he has his eye on that record.

Hood is firmly convinced that anyone can do what he has done.

He likened training for this kind of challenge to a tree growing. He said that when a tree was planted and the roots started growing, if you took care of the tree, it would continue to grow and get bigger.

The same holds true to training for a record, you hold a plank for 30 seconds and then 5 minutes and later for an hour.

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As you repeat the process and by taking care of your metaphorical tree, it will grow, and you will improve and get better.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE