From overweight smoker to world record holder in planking
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From overweight smoker to world record holder in planking

Kim Muntinga
25-5-2023
Translation: machine translated

The 53-year-old Czech Josef Šálek recently set a new, incredible world record in planking. He lasted significantly longer than the duration of a regular working day in the strenuous forearm support position.

The abdominal muscles tremble. Your head is bright red and you're in the forearm support. You're already counting the seconds. They don't want to pass. You can already feel your body. Every single muscle. How much longer can I hold out? Anyone who has ever tried planking will know exactly this. If you're wondering how long you really have to hold out with planking for the exercise to be effective: not that long. Between 30 and 60 seconds is always enough. It's not the duration of the plank exercise that's important, but above all the technique.

However, it was the duration that mattered to Josef Šálek, nicknamed Joska. The 53-year-old Czech set a new world record for the longest time in the plank position at the Avatar Festival in Pilsen at the weekend with an impressive nine hours, 38 minutes and 47 seconds. The record was previously held by Australian Daniel Scali with a time of nine hours, 30 minutes and one second.

Josef Šálek aka Joska pushes himself to the limit in his world record.
Josef Šálek aka Joska pushes himself to the limit in his world record.
Source: Guinness World Records

Who is Joska?

Joska's story is not only special, but also very inspiring. As he Guinness World Records reports, five years ago he was 15 kilograms overweight and lived a not-so-healthy life. He drank alcohol regularly and smoked a lot.

But a certain moment that changed my life brought me to this transformation. That's why I want to share something with the world: No matter how old you are, you can always make changes to feel happier, more vital and healthier
Josef Šálek in Guinness World Records

However, his transformation was anything but normal and smooth. When Joska was travelling to Sri Lanka at the end of 2019, he wanted to change planes in the United Arab Emirates. However, he was arrested at passport control due to a mix-up of identities. According to his own statement, he had to spend several months in prison until the matter was resolved.

He says he managed to stay mentally strong and maintain a positive attitude during this time, particularly through sport, including a strict personal training programme. He also recorded his experiences in a book entitled "Zlaté dno". He believes that this life lesson helped him to overcome his pain barriers and achieve this record.

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Test yourself!

Of course, you don't have to go on the hunt for this new world record, but you might be curious and want to try your hand at planking. The plank is one of the best bodyweight exercises: Ideal for strengthening the entire body. You can do it anywhere and, in theory, you don't need any equipment. At the same time, a few products can help you. In particular, a gym mat as a base or a plank board should make it easier for you to start training.

Cover photo: Josef Šálek

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My interests are varied, I just like to enjoy life. Always on the lookout for news about darts, gaming, films and series.


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