If you've ever done the plank to strengthen your core, you'll appreciate Jim Ogg's accomplishment. In June, he held the position for 33 minutes, 28 seconds in a handball court at the Southdale YMCA, shattering the previous Guinness world record of 19:58. Unfortunately, an Australian held the position 38 seconds longer than Ogg did. But he says he'll be back at it again in the next round.
A natural: "My wife had paid for training sessions at the Southdale YMCA. As part of the sessions, the physical therapist did an evaluation of where I was, and he had me do the plank, which is pretty commonly used to assess a person's core body strength. So I did it, and after a couple of minutes the trainer said, wow, that's pretty good. I asked him how long he could do it, and he said six or seven minutes -- so I did it for seven."
Seven-minute legend: "The next time I came in he said I'd become a legend for doing that 7-minute plank. So I did 14 minutes at home, and then I looked up the record and it was 19:58. So the next time I went to the Y, I said, let's do another plank. I did it for 25 minutes, and that convinced us I could break the record."
The fine print: "Guinness gives you rules to abide by, and in this case they required two video cameras: one with a front view and one with a side view. They also required still photos, two witnesses and two timers. All I thought about was keeping my position correct. We put pieces of tape on the floor the width of my shoulders so they could see on the film. And you could not clasp your hands together, so I was careful not to let my hands touch. I had a watch in front of me so I could see a clock."
No training: "It was nothing I had specifically trained for. But I've been a runner for about 40 years, and that will build up back muscles and cross-country skiing strengthens upper back muscles. I routinely do situps, and free weights and pushups. I asked the trainer if there are any exercises you can to do develop endurance for the plank, and he said just do the plank. But even after I'd determined I'd take a shot at the record, I just did one a week and kept running. I figured whatever got me there would probably work."
Clock watching: "It was pretty easy up to about 30 minutes. Between 30 and 33 minutes I was working to hold it. I was definitely sweating and breathing very deeply and very conscious that I was breathing hard. It's not like any other physical exertion I'd ever done, and I've done a bunch of marathons and Birkies. I wasn't sore at all the next day -- I went out for my daily run, and felt kind of loose."