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George Hood, a former US Marine, broke his own world record this month. Heres how you can improve your technique

This month, George Hood a 62-year-old former US Marine broke the world planking record with a time of 8hr 15min 15sec, adding an extra 14 minutes on to the previous record. Hood had originally claimed the record in 2011 with a paltry 1hr 20min, before losing it in 2016 to Mao Weidong, a police officer from China, who broke the record with a time of 8hr 1min.

Eight hours is a long time spent doing anything, especially with your face hovering 20cm away from the floor of a gym, but the benefits of a good plank go a very long way. The plank is excellent because its all about stability, says Chris Magee, the head of yoga at Psycle London, and a former personal trainer, rugby player and martial artist. Thats key to an active, healthy lifestyle. You want to feel when youre walking around, running around or even sitting down that your spine is strong and protected.

With a good core, youd imagine, comes a cut six-pack; the sort of Brad-Pitt-in-Fight-Club abs weve all dreamed of. But thats just surface level, with the real money coming from working those deeper muscles, the ones you cant see.

To reclaim his world record, Hood spent the last 18 months training seven hours a day. I do 700 pushups a day, 2,000 situps a day in sets of 100 and 500 leg squats a day, he told CNN. For upper body and the arms, I do approximately 300 arm curls a day, adding that he uses loud rock music Rammstein are a favourite to help push through the pain, while the torn skin on his elbows is manageable once the rest of his arm has gone numb.

If youre an experienced planker, its your prerogative if you want to go in quite as hard as Hood, but Magee estimates that even beginners can improve easily if the technique is right.

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