I wish I could say that “planking” is the same thing as doing the plank. After all the plank is one of my top five favorite multi-muscle exercises which can be done in a variety of ways. Perhaps planking was inspired by this wonderful exercise which peaked in popularity in the late 90″s when Pilates and Yoga classes were all the rage. Now, it is rare to find a fitness regimen that doesn’t include the plank for core strengthening and trunk stabilization. The problem is, the plank moved from the gym to the streets in Japan and Europe, becoming all the rage in Australia, and the extreme version has become the latest expression for thrill-seekers.

Wikipedia defines planking as:

Planking is the action of lying face down with arms to the sides, in unusual public spaces and photographing it.

Planking began as the lying down game in Europe and Japan in the late 2000s. The term “planking” was coined in Australia where it became an internet meme in 2011.

There is a page on Facebook devoted to planking and it’s fans grew exponentially overnight when the news hit that a man by the name of Acton Beale fell to his death from the 7th floor while planking on a 5cm railing. According to an Australian psychiatrist, the prefrontal cortex of the brain in men 23 or younger is not fully developed and they are more apt to take silly risks. Add to that testosterone, masculinity, and the “Jackass” effect and you have one really foolish recipe for attention via social networking.

Nothing has really changed since I was a kid and streaking was the equivalent of planking, albeit I doubt anyone ever lost anything more than there dignity from streaking. The difference is, the ante wasn’t “upped” by social networks which is like having a stadium full of people to egg them on.

Meanwhile, being a female of sound mind (usually) and body, I will defer to my planks which find their way into every one of my workouts. Namaste.