Sept. 6, 2011 -- Don't try this one at home.
It's called Batmanning. And it may replace planking in the make-your-own trend world, but it seems the danger may outweigh the hilarity of it. To "Batman," one hangs upside down, holding on by only one's feet from a door, bar, gate, ledge, anything. Easy? Not quite.
Searches for "Batmanning" on YouTube yield more crash-and-burns than hang-steadies. It makes sense. That's a lot of weight for your foot and ankle muscles to hold.
In one video, a few giggling teenage girls pick up their friend, an aspiring batmanner, and let her hang on the closet door. They watch, cringing, and then… BOOM! The batmanner falls on her head.
Some come more prepared. There's one video of a worker wearing a helmet as he climbs onto the door, as if he already knows he's going to fall. At one point, the helmet falls off and he insists his co-worker put it back on him. After all, he's busy Batmanning. A few seconds later, the helmet comes in handy.
A group of Purdue University students call themselves the "Batman Boilers" and insist they have shot the first successful batmanning video -- successful both in Batmanning skill and getting it to trend online.
"When we tried Batmanning and found out it was possible, we searched to find that no one had a successful Batmanning video," said Chris Ganz, a member of the Batman Boilers (@BatmanBoilers on Twitter).
Ganz recognizes that as their video begins to trend, young people may try to replicate what they see, which could end in more injury than humor.
"People should use good judgment," Ganz said. "We had people help us down, our buddy catch our feet." These parts were edited out of the now-trending video, up 10,000 views from this morning and blowing up on Twitter.
Although these stunts are all in good fun, tragic realities do come into play. A 20-year-Australian man plunged to his death while planking earlier this year.
In comparison to planking, Ganz says Batmanning will absolutely compete, but admits, "there's definitely an aspect that makes it more dangerous."
Twitter user @BatMan173 tweeted, "BATMANNING ... cause planking is for the weak."
YouTube user zedrseven said, "Fantastic. Can't wait for all the news stories about the increase in head & neck related injuries sustained by all the saddos that will do anything to 'fit in'…"
So is this just a dangerous popularity contest? Or a harmless way to have fun? Many tweeters, Facebook and YT commenters have had enough. They say between planking, owling, coneing, and Batmanning, the element of surprise is over.