Denmark is once again home to the world record holder in planking, the core strength exercise of holding a difficult position for long periods.
51-year-old fitness instructor Tom Hoel reclaimed his title – as he confidently told The Local he would back in October – after holding the plank position for four hours and 28 minutes over the weekend.
With that feat, performed during a cultural event in the Zealand town of Jægerpris on Friday night, Hoel topped his own previous world record by a full 80 minutes.
“It's a wonderful feeling to get the title of world champion back. The best feeling is actually not the title but meeting the hopes and expectations of all my friends and club members, who were there to share both my pain and happiness,” Hoel told The Local.
“I have never pushed myself that far. I had a serious crisis for almost two hours. After mentally arguing with myself, I finally asked for the time at three hours and 41 minutes. I thought that I was still under three hours and was ready to quit but when I realized I that had beat my former record and the goal was within sight, I mobilized every resource in my mind and body,” he said.
Hoel said he was able to knock China's Mao Weidong off his perch as the global master of the abdominal core exercise thanks to a strict training regimen.
“The new record time is a result of nine months of structured training. My first record was made after four months with little or no planning. I've had no alcohol the last four months, have eaten healthy foods and focused a lot on getting enough sleep. Sleep timing was a challenge for me, basically because it's easier to find time for long planks when my family is asleep,” Hoel said.
Hoel's family was there in Jægerpris to cheer him on and the fitness instructor told us he couldn't have done it without the support of his wife Kirsten and sons Frederik and Kaj.
How long Hoel will be able to hold his crown is unknown, as the Dane said that he wouldn't be surprised if Weidong answers the call.
When he's not setting world records, Hoel is a personal trainer in the Frederikssund area.
Hoel celebrates the world record with wife Kirsten and sons Frederik (15) and Kaj (9). Photo: Jørgen Bohn Christoffersen