We all want to feel great, stay healthy, build muscle, and stay lean—typically by keeping our midsections in check. Most people who are looking to reduce body fat and get in shape look at their stomach to see if they are making progress. It’s only natural. The coveted abdominals are the centerpiece of a guy's physique, so most guys at the gym make attaining a six-pack a high priority.

But first, a note of trainer wisdom: Doing endless amounts of abdominal exercises will have literally no affect on your progress to burn fat and trim your waistline. Spot-reducing fat has been proven to be a myth. Just because you work a body part hard in the gym with endless amounts of reps does not mean fat will fall off and improve the looks of that body part. It simply just won't happen.

And while nutritional intake will determine how lean you will become and how your body will look, proper exercise is a critical component to improve overall health, performance and aesthetics. In order to have a strong core and build a little 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. (Plus, strengthening your abdominals will help you during your lifts and other athletic events.)

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