Crunch Time: Woman, 71, Breaks Ab-Burning Plank Record

Betty Lou Sweeney held the plank position nearly 37 minutes.

By Lesley Kennedy • Reporter
Betty Lou Sweeney, 71, held her plank for nearly 37 minutes. Our abs ache just thinking about it.
Photograph: Anytime Fitness

Now, normally we aren’t ones to brag about our physical prowess, but, if you must know, that was us at the gym last week holding our plank pose for an entire 60 seconds.

Sure, our arms were trembling and our abs ached for days, but that was one whole minute of core power, baby. And then Betty Lou Sweeney had to come along and not only steal our thunder, but pretty much destroy it.

Pending review by the Guinness Book of World Records, Sweeney nabbed the title last month for Longest Time in an Abdominal Plank Position by holding steady for 36 minutes and 58 seconds. Oh, and did we mention she’s 71 years old?

The Plover, Wisconsin, dynamo, a part-time nurse, has been training at her local Anytime Fitness since 2009, dropping 110 pounds, according to a release from the fitness chain.

“When I walked into Anytime Fitness, my only goal was to get off my medication and start living a healthy life,” Sweeney says in the release. “I had never imagined being able to work out every day, let alone break a world record for planking—I did not even know what planking was.”

The former Guinness record was 33 minutes, 40 seconds, and was set in May by—get this—a 68-year-old man. You know what they say: Abs, like fine wine, get better with age. What? They don’t say that? Well, maybe Sweeney will change a few minds.



Click here to read the full release.

Click here to watch a video of Sweeney before her record-breaking feat.

Click here to read another fascinating news story from today’s headlines.

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First Published October 18, 2011

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