Tom Hoel, the plank master. Photo: Submitted
For Danish fitness instructor Tom Hoel, one world record was not enough.
Just weeks after setting a world record by performing the plank abdominal exercise for three hours and eight minutes, Hoel already has his sights set on a new record. But for this one, he needs at least 1,589 others to get down on the floor with him.
Hoel plans to go for the world record for the largest collective plank in August, hoping to smash the current record for simultaneous plankers.
And just to be clear, we’re not talking about the fad that swept the internet awhile back with people posting photos of themselves lying flat in strange locations. No, this is the real deal. The core ab exercise that Hoel says “is great for giving you stability and focus”.
Hoel, a 51-year-old personal trainer in Frederikssund, is hoping to get as many as 10,000 Danes to plank their way into the record books.
“We are gathering people from all over the country who want to get involved,” Hoel told The Local. “This is my new motivation and purpose. I’m very good at inspiring other people to do things. For me, it’s really not about world records – it’s about getting people involved.”
Hoel said he had been incorporating the plank into his training routine for the past couple of years when he decided in January to see how long he could hold the position. Although that attempt only lasted 12 minutes, by April he could hold a plank for an hour.
“That’s when I made the decision to try for the record,” he said. “When I hit the one hour mark, I thought ‘Why not?’”
So on June 13, under the watchful eye of 300 of his friends and neighbours, Hoel put himself to the ultimate test and set out to beat the Guinness world record for the longest plank. He beat it by 45 seconds.
“I had to talk to myself a lot because after an hour it was really tough,” he told The Local. “It’s a real mental thing when you hit that point. But I have an agreement with myself that when I set a goal, I make it. I never give myself the freedom to stop and I sure wasn’t going to do it with 300 people watching.”
Hoel is now gearing up for his next challenge of setting the world record for the largest collective plank. He has coordinated a series of local plank challenges that will take place throughout Denmark on August 31st and on September 13th at Copenhagen's Fælledparken, he will attempt to break the world record. He expects a massive turnout.
“I’m really hoping to get 10,000 to show up,” he said. “We need to get everyone to hold the position at the same time and document it with a photo. I’m confident we will break the record!”
Hoel said that among those who will be planking with him that day will be his nine-year-old son.