If I had a nickel for every time a trainer or fitness expert prescribed planks for a strong core — well, you know. I'd have a lot of nickels. Yes, it's true that planks are super-effective at toning everything from your abs to your obliques to your shoulders and pecs, all the way down to your ankles. But, call me lazy, anything past two minutes on my forearms and elbows (on a very, very good day) is simply out of the question.
Two minutes, it turns out, is pretty embarrassing. A 16-year-old girl named Gabi Ury just set the women's world record for planking, holding the position for one hour, twenty minutes, and five seconds. Yep, she hung out plank style for 80 minutes. She smashed the previous record of 36 minutes and 58 seconds, which was set in 2011 by 71-year-old Betty Lou Sweeney.
While Ury's achievement is incredible in itself, her story is perhaps even more inspirational. According to her website, Gabi was born with VATER syndrome, a condition characterized by potential abnormalities in the vertebrae, anus, trachea, kidneys, esophagus, heart, and limbs. In Gabi's case, the syndrome manifested in pretty serious muscular and spinal-cord issues. She writes, "I have pretty serious scoliosis and am missing some of my muscles (calf, [glutes], and part of my abs). I have had 14 major surgeries in order to live a healthy, happy life."
Gabi says she attempted to break the plank record in part to raise money and awareness for Children's Hospital in Denver. But, it turns out, the plank wasn't Gabi's first rodeo — she's been working on breaking a Guinness World Record since she was in fifth grade. "In sixth grade, my friend Leah and I attempted the longest hopscotch course in my driveway. It wound around and around and we got to 1000 squares," she writes. "Another record I attempted was most socks on one foot. I got 60 socks on my left foot, but unfortunately I was still maybe 15 socks off."
Watch Gabi break the record, surrounded by family and friends, below. And, keep her in mind next time you're trying to achieve your own goals in the gym; I know I will.