‘Play dead’ is a trick most people associate with pet dogs, but recently it’s become a human trick too under the name of ‘planking’.  Planking is where someone lies facedown, both arms against the side of their body and lying stiff to imitate a plank, and then another person photographs the action and the photo is uploaded to various social media sites.Planking on the Today ShowCredit: http://armannd.com/darwin-wins-planking-game-video.html/

Planking is a new fad in Australia, but the game has been around  since 1997 as the ‘lying down game’ in Britain. It’s been called parkour for lazy people, as the location one planks in is supposed to be  an unusual public place or require an impressive balancing act.

Recently, the Australia fad has been gaining attention for noticeable planking stunts, including a young man planking on a police car and getting charged for it.  What is gaining the most notoriety however, is the death of Acton Beale.  Reportedly, while planking on a seventh-floor balcony Beale fell off.

Instead of halting the fad, it seemed to accelerate it due to all the Sam Newman PlankingCredit: http://funnyvideox.com/sam-newman-planking-2-plank-higher-17-05-2011/#.TdrMxubJLekmedia attention planking received. Activity on the Facebook page has skyrocketed, with some users even calling it an alternative sport.  As with all fads, planking will most likely fade from the spotlight but it’s hard to imagine the activity completely falling away.  And in today’s view of the activity being dangerous, it’s best to be a bit cautions when planking so here’s a few safety guidelines.

1) Plank on a flat surface

Slopes can be dangerous, as can be rounded surfaces. Make sure what you’re planking on is flat to prevent you from moving or rolling off something.

2) Stay away from heights

While being on the ground is the safest place to be, it’s not very exciting.  However, neither is falling ten feet. Try not to plank on anything taller than shoulder height to minimize injury in case you fall off.

3) Make sure most of your body weight is supported

Planking on a surface the size of a textbook is hard.  It’s hard to keep your balance upright on such a tiny space and even more so on the vertical plane. If you overbalance in the rear, your feet will touch the ground, but you won’t be so lucky overbalancing on the other end.  You’ll face plant right into the ground. You weight should be support by a single large surface, or several that that are spaced apart that you can lie over.

4) Plank on something that doesn’t move

If it has wheels or is alive, it’ll most likely move at some point and send you crashing to the ground. It’s best to not plank on such items, or creatures. There's no gurentee that they'll be as calm as these guys.

Planking on CamelsCredit: http://www.yogadork.com/news/plank-prank-turns-deadly-yogis-need-not-fear/