We all want to feel great, stay healthy, build muscle, and stay lean. Most of us also want to keep our midsection in check. People who are looking to reduce body fat and get in shape often look at their stomachs to see if they’re making progress. It’s only natural—the coveted abdominals are the centerpiece of the physique. So, working on that six-pack becomes a high priority.

I want to make it clear that doing endless amounts of abs exercises will have virtually no affect on your progress to trim your waistline. Spot reducing has been proven to be a myth a long time ago, so just because you work a body part hard in the gym with endless reps doesn’t mean fat will fall off and improve the looks of that body part. It simply won’t happen. But your overall nutritional intake will determine how lean you will become and how your body will look.

That being said, proper exercise is a critical component to improve overall health, performance and aesthetics. In order to have a strong core and build some muscle, you need to work the rectus abdominus (think: 6-pack muscle) regularly. Just like any muscle group, once you remove the fat, you want the muscles to pop. By using weight during abdominal exercises, you will increase muscle and improve its appearance. Not to mention, getting a stronger abdominal area will help you during your lifts and other athletic events.

Try these 5 weighted abdominal exercises to sculpt a midsection worth showing off and strong enough to handle the heavy weights.