An ab-solute legend

AMAZING FEAT: Doug Fenwick, 81, shows his record-breaking planking form to his wife Chris.
AMAZING FEAT: Doug Fenwick, 81, shows his record-breaking planking form to his wife Chris. David Nielsen

AT THE ripe old age of 81, you would think Doug Fenwick would be starting to slow down, especially when it comes to hitting the gym and tackling the steep hills near his Karana Downs home.

But it seems there is no stopping this former country vet, who credits years of tackling stubborn steers and moody mares with giving him the gut muscles required to hold the ab hover for more than half an hour.

The ab hover, otherwise known as the bridge or the plank, is a core-strengthening exercise in which a person holds their stomach about 30cm off the ground, leaning on their forearms and their toes.

For even the relatively fit, this exercise becomes unbearably painful after about two minutes, yet somehow this octogenarian can hold it for much longer.

Dr Fenwick appeared in the QT two years ago after smashing his own Brassall gym record by holding the ab hover for an astonishing 14 minutes and five seconds. On October 13, Dr Fenwick held the position for 34 minutes, not only obliterating his own personal best, but possibly setting an Australian record.

Either way, it is exceptional for an asthmatic, arthritic, diabetic, hypertensive geriatric with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and anaemia and two fake knees.

"I think my stocky build helps me a lot," Dr Fenwick said.

"I hadn't really done the ab hover much since the last record, but we had the gym olympics coming up and I just decided to start training for it again.

"I did eight minutes the first time, then a week later I lasted 12 minutes - it just occurred to me to keep training to see where my brick wall was."

Healthworks Brassall trainer Ty Maroski was the timekeeper and key motivator for the effort.

"Ty was the one who urged me to keep going," Dr Fenwick said.

An American who is almost 30 years Dr Fenwick's junior, George Hood, holds the Guinness world record for the ab hover, at one hour and 20 minutes.

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