Planking, or as it's also called "The Lying Down on Stuff Game," is a very special activity in which people lie face down with their hands at their sides so as to resemble a plank of wood. Also, an important part of the game is to lie down in a place one normally wouldn't lie down. So, you can't plank in, say, a bed. Beer container? Totally fine.


How did planking start?

The origins of planking are mired in mystery. Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon claim they invented planking in 2000. Comedian (and Drew Barrymore's ex-husband) Tom Green says that he invented planking in 1994.

Some intellectual critics claim it actually originated during the slave-trade, citing the visual similarities between planking and the images of abolitionist posters. Or, you know, Tom Green.

In Australia, a similar trend called "The Lying Down Game" gained some momentum in 2006 and became popular in the UK in 2010. Paul Carran attributed the name "Planking" to this game in 2008. Planking didn't hit international popularity until March 27, 2011 when a professional rugby (it's like football, but with more greco-roman wrestling mixed in) player named David "Wolfman" Williams planked during a game.

What are the rules of planking?

Because planking is a game, there are certain rules that official players have to follow. According to the official Planking Facebook page, the rules are as follows:

1. You must always lay face down, ensuring your face remains expressionless for the duration of the Plank.

2. Your legs must remain straight, and together with toes pointed.

3. Your arms must be placed by your side, held straight and fingers pointed.

4. You must make it known that you are Planking. Saying ‘I am Planking’ usually get this across. Sternly announcing it will ensure a good result.

5. Your safety should always be considered. Properly thought through Planking procedures should always go to plan. Never put your self at undue risk.

6. Every Plank that is captured must be named.

There is no mention of how someone "wins" at Planking, however there are internet videos of several planking "fails".

How are celebrities involved with planking?
During the planking craze of 2011, many celebrities started posting photos of themselves on the internet while planking. Actress Rosario Dawson discussed her love of Planking on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live.' Sports stars also are in on the planking phenomenon. Basketball star Dwight Howard organized a massive one hundred plus person planking incident in Beijing, China.


Even 'The Office' got into, opening its 8th season with a montage of the Dunder-Mifflin gang discovering the dangerous side of the sport. (Well, dangerous if you work with a sociopath like Dwight.)

Planking has also recently permeated into something called "Tebowing". Instead of planking in an unusual situation, Tebowers genuflect as if to pray in unusual areas, thus mocking the religious practices of Christian football star Tim Tebow, who has been known to oddly genuflect during games.


Should "planking" really be capitalized?

You know, come to think of it, we have no idea if "planking" is a gerund or a proper noun.

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