To break some records you need resilience, preparation and physical strength – you must know your limits, and how to push through them.
Daniel Scali (Australia) has pushed beyond his limits to break an unbelievably gruelling world record.
In April 2022, the athlete smashed the record for most push-ups in one hour (male), with the whopping number of 3,182 – over a hundred push-ups more than the previous record, 3,054 achieved by fellow Australian Jarrad Young in 2021.
What makes this incredible achievement even more impressive is the fact that Daniel battles against incurable chronic pain every day.
He suffers from CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome), a condition that was triggered after he broke his arm when he was 12.
"It’s the brain sending wrong messages to my arm, which is the affected area. So anything like soft touch, movements, wind or water will cause me pain."
Daniel recalls that CRPS had a huge effect on his day-to-day life.
Growing up wasn’t easy for him, who often couldn’t go out because of the constant, incurable pain caused by CRPS. At times he had to be hospitalized for months at a time to put local anaesthetic on his left harm to ease his suffering.
However, through physical exercise and fitness, Daniel found a way to channel some of that hurt and build up resilience.
“I had to learn to alter my life to deal with the pain and overcome the mental challenges. This was not easy when you live with a constant ache.” - Daniel Scali
Proving incredible mental and physical strength, the Australian athlete continues to push his limits and break records to bring awareness to CRPS issues.
“If you convince yourself that pain is a fuel to keep you going, you’ll change for the better.”
Daniel is already the record holder for the longest time in an abdominal plank position (male).
Back in August 2021, he planked for an incredible 9 hours 30 min 01 sec. Daniel added an extra hour to the previous record held by George Hood (USA).
With this second challenge he wanted to show that, even if you are suffering and in pain, you can achieve anything you put your mind to if you pour all your heart and effort into it.
Daniel smashed the record after his third attempt.
“If you put your mind to it and your heart to it, you see it through.”
On his third attempt, the athlete felt in the right mindset to conquer the challenge.
“I told myself: ‘this is it, Daniel. We’re not going to fail this time. We‘re gonna get it done.’ And I just went for it.”
Throughout the attempt, Daniel wore an armband over his right arm to ease some of the pain caused by his CRPS.
However, the lurking pain wasn’t his only enemy: fatigue could make him fail.
To succeed, Daniel had to avoid burning himself out halfway through the challenge.
“I knew what I needed to do. I knew my intervals and the push-ups I needed to get in my intervals, around 19 or so for every interval, and I just had to stick to that.”
Despite a strong start, Daniel knew that it would have been challenging to power through the physical effort and the pain in his arm once fatigue hit.
To avoid that, he had to spread his efforts and energies evenly throughout the entire hour.
“It was funny: in the beginning, I was breaking the intervals that I should have been hitting. If I had to do 20, I was doing 21, then I would jump at 22 and I pulled it back to a 19. I was telling myself: ‘don’t burn yourself out, Daniel. You’ve done this before, don’t burn yourself out’.”
“I’m conquering that pain barrier.”
During the challenge, Daniel slightly adjusted his breathing to defeat fatigue and to make sure he saw it through with the best performance possible.
“The breathing technique that I had was to breath out quick and fast. It was slightly different from the one I started with, but this one made me push through.”
“Concentrating on form was a huge thing as well. Making sure that my core was tight all the way through, that my body was going up and down and my elbows were at 90 degrees.”
To beat the record, Daniel trained with mindset and performance coach Michael Sorgiovanni, who also worked with him during his first record attempt.
First, he built up strength and resistance by exercising with push-ups every day.
Moreover, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday he regularly trained with Sorgiovanni, to make sure the form of his push-ups was correct.
During the training, Daniel recalls that his diet didn’t change much.
He doesn’t have a sweet tooth, he confesses, and his eating habits were already healthy before he started training for this attempt. Normally he would have lunch with rice and chicken and dine with a high-protein meal.
Read all about Daniel Scali’s first record here.
“It was tough because I knew what I was up for. It was hard, but I didn’t want to give up.”