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From overweight smoker to world record holder in planking

Kim Muntinga
Translation: machine translated

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

Your abdominal muscles are trembling. Your head is flushed and you are in forearm support. You are already counting the seconds. They don't even want to pass. Yet 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 keep planking in order for the exercise to be effective, it's not that long. Every now and then 30 to 60 seconds is enough. The decisive factor in planking is not the duration of the exercise, but above all the technique.

The duration of the exercise is the most important factor.

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. Previously, the record was held by Australian Daniel Scali with a time of nine hours, 30 minutes and one second.

Josef Šálek aka Joska geht bei seinem Weltrekord bis an seine Grenzen.
Josef Šálek aka Joska geht bei seinem Weltrekord bis an seine Grenzen.
Foto: Guinness World Records

Who is Joska?

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

Aber ein bestimmter Moment, der mein Leben veränderte, brachte mich zu dieser Transformation. Deshalb möchte ich der Welt etwas mitgeben: Egal, wie alt man ist, man kann immer Veränderungen vornehmen, um sich glücklicher, vitaler und gesünder zu fühlen
Josef Šálek in Guinness World Records

However, his transformation was anything but normal and smooth. When Joska was on a trip to Sri Lanka in late 2019, he wanted to change planes in the United Arab Emirates. But in the process, he was arrested at passport control due to mistaken identity. According to his own statement, he then had to spend several months in jail until the matter was resolved.

Mainly through sports, including a strict personal training programme, he had managed to stay mentally strong during this time and maintain a positive attitude. He also recorded his experiences in a book entitled "Zlaté dno". From his point of view, this life lesson helped him overcome his pain barriers and get this record.

Schildkröt Fitnessmatte (15 mm)
28.72was 41.90

Schildkröt Fitnessmatte

15 mm


Test yourself!

You don't have to chase this new world record, of course, but you may 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 theoretically you don't need any equipment. At the same time, some products can help you. Above all, an exercise mat or a plankboard should make it easier for you to start your training.

Titelfoto: 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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