3 Mental Strength Tips Used by a Plank World-Record Holder

By Anthony O'Reilly March 11th, 2020 | Image Source : Muscle And Fitness

Find out how George Hood envisioned his 8-hour, 15-minute, 15-second plank.

George Hood had to undergo a lot of physical training to hold a plank for 8 hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds and set a new world record. The 62-year-old former Marine told CNN he trained for about seven hours a day—4-5 of which was spent in the plank position—for 18 months.

While that preparation was vital, the mental training was even more crucial to accomplish the incredible feat. “There are times you get self-doubt,” Hood told CNBC. “You get bored. You wonder if it’s worth anything.”

That’s why Hood turned to Renae Cobley, a world-renowned mindset coach who has helped top athletes and business executives unlock their full potential. The world-record holder—who now has his eyes set on breaking the record for most push-ups in an hour (2,806 is the number to beat)— would call the Australia-based mental coach to discuss how to break through barriers, such as his ego.

“Ego gets in the way so much,” Cobley told Muscle & Fitness. “Having ego could be a good thing, but in a lot of cases it prevents us from accomplishing what we really want.” Ego, Cobley says, is the biggest obstacle people face when trying to accomplish something—such as having a good workout, resolving a personal issue, or holding a plank for more than eight hours.

She went on to explain that the ego is the image of self-importance, which can cause stress. “Stress causes us to overfocus on our bodies, time and the environment,” she says. “Wisdom takes us to that place and cleans our ego. The concept of self can be an obstacle, as it’s only thoughts. Wisdom shows you the pitfalls of the ego, our innate intelligence.”

Below, we run through some of the tips Cobley gave Hood during his training to break through his ego. Use them to conquer any obstacles that might be in your way.

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Imagine yourself as a tree

This tip is rooted in Cobley’s training as a Reiki Master (one who channels positive energy into another’s body). Hood would visualize himself as a tree with deep roots that ran through the Earth. (Try it for yourself, either while planking or with both feet on the floor. Be sure to picture long roots coming out of you and into the ground)

“A tree that has deep roots can outlast almost any condition, ferocious storms, extreme heat and cold and the sheer brutality of life and its obstacles,” Cobley says. By doing this mental exercise, she says, people are able to tune out any external distractions, including pain and discomfort. “To have more control in our life, we need to feel grounded,” she says.

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Become someone else in your mind

During the world-record plank attempt, Hood listened to hours of rock ‘n’ roll music. But he wasn’t just rocking out to the tunes to pass the time, he was also envisioning himself as a rock star. “I always just wished I could be a rock star, just for 24 hours to live that dream – the limo rides, the buzz, the hype,” he told the BBC. “I can assure you, for those eight hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds, I was that rock star.”

Becoming that rockstar, Cobley says, allowed Hood to recondition his body to a new mind and push past any walls he encountered. “George knows that every thought he is thinking creates a state,” she says. “It’s why he became the rock star; It created a state that fueled his performance. Thoughts are the language of the brain and feelings the language of the body.”

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Exercise your body, too

This one might not be a mental healthcare tip per se, but it does have a positive impact on the mind.

By training the body, Cobley says, you’re also training your brain. “[Exercise] is a potent prescription for dialing down stress and changing our brain waves,” she says. We’ve outlined how exercise can affect your mental health and mood many times, and this is just one more reminder of that.

Aside from planking 4-5 hours per day, Hood also did 700 pushups, 2,000 situps in sets of a hundred, 500 squats and 300 curls per day.

Author: Anthony O’Reilly


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