Planking (or the Lying Down Game) is an activity consisting of lying in a face down position, sometimes in an unusual or incongruous location. The palms of the hands are typically touching the sides of the body and the toes are typically touching the ground. Some players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play. The term planking refers to mimicking a wooden plank. Planking can include lying flat on a flat surface, or holding the body flat while it is supported in only some regions, with other parts of the body suspended. Many participants in planking have photographed the activity in unusual locations and have shared such pictures through social media.
Planking gained popularity rapidly and eventually notoriety from early-mid 2011 before slowly phasing out in early 2012.
A planking-like activity, called face dancing by its participants, was initiated in 1984 in Edmonds, Washington in the US by Scott Amy and Joel Marshall. The two high school age boys were walking in a park when they came upon a baseball game. They decided to lie face down in right field to see if anyone would react.
The first video-recorded occurrence of planking was in 1994 when Tom Green performed a stunt he called "Dead Guy" for a cable TV show, which consisted of Green lying down on an Ottawa sidewalk without moving. Green, who was in an MTV show in the 1990s, is a comedian known for his pranks. He informed CNN about this video evidence and how it did not air on the show, stating that it was "a very obscure piece of video." Green tweeted "Just found video of me #planking in 1994. I will post it soon. Let people know. :)" on July 12, 2011.
However, the video sketch was never aired. So when, in 1997, two bored school boys in Taunton, England, started lying face-down in public places to amuse themselves and baffle onlookers, they could not have known of Green's stunt. Gary Clarkson (then aged 15) and Christian Langdon (then aged 12) called it the "lying down game". As Clarkson puts it, "It was just a really stupid, random thing to do." The Lying Down Game remained within Clarkson and Langdon's circle of friends until 2007, when their friend Daniel Hoppin created a Facebook page for their craze. As Hoppin says, "We began a Facebook group to see who could get the craziest photo."
The term "Planking" was coined by Sam Weckert, Darcy McCann and Kym Berry of Adelaide, South Australia: "Planking was a term myself and two other mates came up with in the summer of 2008". Weckert created a Facebook fan page to share "planking" photos. After reports of the practice started appearing in the Australian media, it grew rapidly and the meme became a global phenomenon. After reports of the craze in the British media in 2009, Planking spread to the rest of the world. Worldwide it has also been known as "extreme lying down" (2008, Australasia), "facedowns" (2010, USA and Ireland), and "planking" (2011, Australia, New Zealand and worldwide). In the years following its explosion in popularity, several variations on planking have proliferated, some inspired by the fad, and others that have arisen independently.
The popularity of planking has generated a backlash. Some people object to the more ridiculous photos that have circulated, such as a girl planking with her head in a toilet or a woman planking on a stripper pole. Also, planking in dangerous places has resulted in many injuries and at least one death.
- The planking fad made news in September 2009, when seven accident and emergency staff working at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, England were suspended for playing the "lying down game" during a night shift and posting photos to Facebook. They were considered to have breached health and safety and infection control regulations.
- On 15 May 2011, Acton Beale, a 20-year-old man, plunged to his death after reportedly "planking" on a seventh-floor balcony in Brisbane, Australia. The Darwin Awards recognised this incident in their 2011 edition.
- On 29 May 2011, Max Key, son of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, uploaded to Facebook a photograph of himself planking on a lounge suite, his father standing behind him. Afterwards, the photograph was reproduced on the front page of the New Zealand Herald. Confirming that the photograph was indeed genuine, John Key remarked that he doesn't see anything wrong with planking when done safely. Key was criticised for his appearance in the photograph, with some going as far as to comment that he "killed" the meme.
- On 2 September 2011, Dwight Howard and about 100 of his fans planked in Beijing, China as part of a promotional Adidas campaign.
- On 20 January 2012, Pat Barry planked on television after a mixed martial arts match in which he won a knockout victory over his opponent.
In popular culture
- The fall 2011 season premiere of the U.S. version of The Office featured several employees planking in the parking lots, the restroom, on desks, and on top of file cabinets.
- American hip hop artists Kanye West and Jay-Z reference planking in their 2011 single "Gotta Have It".
- In "Faith Hilling", the 28 March 2012 episode of the animated American TV series South Park, trends such as planking were parodied.
- Regina Spektor planks multiple times in her 2012 music video for "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)".
- In the 2014 animated film Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Mr. Peabody, the talking, genius dog claims to have invented planking.
- On July 6, 2019, Israel Adesanya referenced planking in a commentary of "UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos" after Jorge Masvidal delivered the fastest knockout in UFC history.
- Throughout the Super Smash Bros. series starting with Melee, one of Luigi's victory animations in multiplayer matches shows him planking twice, to comical effect.
Planking at a geohash
Despite its origin as a form of humorous human position, planking has notable practical uses in certain athletic endeavors. As an example, the act of lowering one's perspective can convey important information. One application is reading greens on a golf course. PGA Tour professional golfer Martin Trainer is known to utilize his pioneering seal-style plank to read putting greens.
Derivative posing fads and variations
The factual accuracy of part of this article is disputed. The dispute is about the propriety of including various posing fads that are not related in posture or motivation, to the subject of this article. (June 2020)
- Teapotting consists of bending the arms into the shape of a teapot, in reference to the children's song "I'm a Little Teapot". This variation was created by teachers in Mortlake College in an attempt to create a new 'craze' after noticing the amount of attention given to planking.
- Playing Dead (known as "시체놀이" in Korean) originated in South Korea in 2003. It involves a large number of participants pretending to be dead. It was inspired by the manga character Crayon Shin-Chan and is thought to have arisen independently of planking.
- Hadoukening also known as Makankosappo, involves multiple people staging a "Ki attack" knockout sequence and photographing themselves in mid-action, posed like in the popular Japanese fighting arcade game Street Fighter or manga series Dragon Ball.
- Gallon smashing involves a person spilling a gallon of liquid (usually milk), then "falling" and having a hard time getting back up.
- Vadering mimics Darth Vader's Force Choke hold. One person has their hand up in a choking gesture, while their "victim" looks to be raised off the ground while clutching at their neck.
- Owling is a variation on planking in which a person squats "like an owl" in a populated but unusual area. Participants commonly make noises similar to an owl, to make the owl impression more realistic. It was first documented on 11 July 2011 in a post on the social news website reddit.
- Horsemaning involves posing two people so that they appear to be a single body with a detached head and is a revival of a photography fad popular in the 1920s. It is thought that the name comes from the Headless Horseman in Washington Irving's short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
- Batmanning involves hanging upside down by the feet.
- Dufnering is a variation of planking that involves a person lying with the bottom half of their body on the floor, the top half leaning up, their arms close to the side of their body, and their hands ending towards the bottom of their thighs. The person would also be looking straightforward. The fad began when Rory McIlroy tweeted a photo of himself imitating 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner.
- Pratting is a variation of planking that was spawned from a scene in the film Jurassic World in which Chris Pratt's character uses a defensive posture in order to save himself from velociraptors while inside of their cage. The pose requires the user to have their knees slightly bent, head forward, arms extended out far (sometimes with one closer to the subject) and fingers up. Immediately following the film's wide release, many zookeepers posted images of themselves in similar formation with their respective animals.
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The rules of the lying down game are simple: lie face down, with palms touching your sides and toes touching the ground
- ^ Zeidler, Dikla. "The Story of Planking". YouTube.
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Now it's called planking, but it was originally called face dancing.
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The seven staff members [...] face disciplinary proceedings. They were suspended on full pay after managers at the Great Western Hospital were alerted to the prank.
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A spokesman for GWH confirmed the staff suspensions, saying health and safety and infection control regulations had been broken, as well as the NHS and Trust code of conduct.
- ^ Calligeros, Marissa (2011-05-15). "Planking death: man plunges from balcony". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
Acton Beale, aged 20, fell from the balcony of a unit block on Main Street in Kangaroo Point shortly before 4.30am.
- ^ "2011 Darwin Award: Planking Spanking". darwinawards.com. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
This Australian craze had infected poor Mr. Acton B., a (former) planking enthusiast who was not aware that Balconies Are The #1 One Cause of Gravity-Fed Darwin Awards.
- ^ "PM's son named 'New Zealand's top planker'" Yahoo News/AFP (31 May 2011)
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- ^ "Did John Key kill planking meme?". Stuff. 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key might have taken planking mega, or might have killed it, depending on who you believe.
- ^ Golliver, Ben (2011-09-02). "Dwight Howard planks with 100 fans in China". CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
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- ^ "UFC on Twitter". Twitter. UFC. 2012-01-20. Archived from the original on 2020-05-04. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
First man to plank inside the Octagon? Pat Barry @HypeOrDie has been upping all sorts of skills this camp #groundgame #subdefense #UFCFX
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- ^ "JAY-Z & Kanye West – Gotta Have It Lyrics". Genius. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
Instead of planking like this normal guy, Hov planks on his millions of dollars
- ^ "Slang Dictionary: Faith Hilling". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
[...] "Faith Hilling" is the third episode of Season 16 of South Park. According to show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, they originally wanted to make an episode about planking [...]
- ^ Kleinman, Jacob (2012-03-29). "New South Park Episode: Faith Hilling, Swifting, Breading and Other Memes". International Business Times. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
The third South Park Episode of Season 16, [...] took the trend of internet memes [...] to new levels of absurdity. The trend itself began with planking [...]
- ^ "Video: Regina Spektor – "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)"". thetwistgossip.com. 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
I give her planking, Inception reenactment, and Jenga skills a five, out of four.
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- ^ De Mesa, Karl R. (2014-03-05). "Movie review: The truth about dogs and boys in 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman'". GMA News Online. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
Mr. Peabody the talking, genius dog invented planking, the fist bump, the backside Ollie, and zumba.
- ^ Scherstuhl, Alan (2014-03-05). "The Meh Wayback: Mr. Peabody & Sherman". the Village Voice. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
[...] in the first two minutes, distinguished Peabody makes cracks about Zumba, planking, yoga poses [...]
- ^ Harkness, Ryan (2019-07-07). "Video: Adesanya reacts to Masvidal's flying knee KO of Askren at UFC 239". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
The n**ga planked. He brought planking back." Adesanya said.
- ^ George, Dhruv (2019-07-08). "Jorge Masvidal Delivers the Fastest Knock Out in UFC History". essentiallysports.com. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal [...] created the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history. [...] "He's bringing planking back," crowed UFC interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
- ^ Jonathon Pech (May 9, 2011). "Forget Planking–Now It's Teapotting". The Examiner. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
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In 2003 the 'playing dead' craze swept through [...] South Korea -since then it's spread all over the web.
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- ^ Prakash, Neha (28 March 2013). "Hadouken Meme Strikes Internet Like Lighting". Mashable.
- ^ "Gallon Smash Prank Has Virginia Roots (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
It is what it sounds like. Someone smashes gallons of milk in a grocery store aisle. They "fall." They have a hard time getting up.
- ^ huffingtonpost france (5 April 2013). "PHOTOS. Le Vadering : après le Harlem Shake et le "kamehameha", la nouvelle mode photo des internautes". huffingtonpost france.
- ^ Perez, Daniel. "Vadering Meme Features Darth Vader's Force Choke". ubergizmo.
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- ^ Owling the new planking. YouTube. Retrieved on 2012-01-19.
- ^ 'Planking' is Dead; Long Live 'Horsemaning' [SLIDESHOW] – International Business Times. Ibtimes.com (2011-08-11). Retrieved on 2012-01-19.
- ^ Batmanning is a Christian Bale stunt with an Adam West flavour Sept 11 2011, The Guardian's Sam Leith
- ^ "The birth of Dufnering". PGA.com.
- ^ "Zookeepers recreate Chris Pratt's velociraptor pose from Jurassic World". The Daily Telegraph. London. 18 June 2015.