Health & FitnessJanuary 9, 2015

Fitness Friday: New research says this is the core exercise for you

Hopefully by now you've given up sit-ups and crunches as your go-to core exercises. Biomechanics experts have proven that they put too much unnecessary stress on the lower part of your spine. And if you're finding that standard face-down planks are boring or aren't challenging enough, try the side plank, says Golf Digest fitness advisor Ralph Simpson (@RalphSimpsonPT). Simpson was a trainer on the PGA Tour for several years and has his own practice in Whitefish, Mont.

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When you do these type of planks, make sure the forearm you're resting on is directly under your shoulder, Simpson says. Also keep your legs and spine as straight as possible. "Try to hold the position for as long as you can. Then switch sides and repeat for the same duration."

If you want to combine this side plank with a challenging front plank, try this physio-ball version taught by Golf Digest fitness advisor Ben Shear (@ben_shear). Click on the video below to see trainer Ryan Anderson demonstrate.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

Follow @ronkaspriske

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