Developing a six-pack and thick obliques for a manly waist requires training similar to that used to build biceps. The abdominal and lower back muscles must be stimulated with moderate to heavy resistance; as many as six sets of up to 12 repetitions per exercise are required. One-hundred regular crunches performed every day simply will not suffice. You must flex, extend and rotate your trunk against the weight of a barbell, dumbbell, weight plate, medicine ball or ankle weights to build a muscular waist.
Complete an abdominal workout one day per week separate from your other muscle groups. Do three exercises for your rectus abdominis -- the front abdominal muscles -- and three exercises for your obliques -- located on the side of the abdomen -- per training session.
Pair a rectus abdominis exercise with an oblique exercise so that one muscle is recovering while another muscle is being worked. Recovery is essential for optimal muscle contraction and development.
Incorporate a variety of abdominal exercises using free-weights, abdominal slings, a decline bench, abdominal machines, ankle weights and medicine balls.
Work your lower back muscles, the posterior area of your waist, with hyperextensions on a hyperextension machine. Hold a weight plate across your chest for added resistance.
Focus on the upper half of your six-pack muscle with decline situps and decline crunches holding a dumbbell or a weight plate. Refrain from jerking up from the bench. Do crunches if your abdominal muscles are not yet strong enough to do full situps on the decline bench.
Incorporate hanging leg raises and hanging knee raises to focus on the lower half of your rectus abdominis muscle. Increase the intensity by squeezing a medicine ball between your knees or by securing ankle weights around your ankles.
Use a cable pulley machine with a rope attachment to do abdominal crunches while sitting on an exercise bench or exercise ball, or kneeling on the floor.
Obliques and Quadratus Lumborum
Complete barbell or dumbbell side bends to build your oblique and quadratus lumborum muscles along the sides of your waist. Position a barbell across your shoulders or hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend to one side until you feel a slight stretch along the opposite side. Contract your obliques and quadratus from the opposite side of your bend to return to an upright position.
Use a cable pulley with a rope attachment to perform twisting exercises including front chops and reverse chops.
Perform medicine ball twisting throws against a rebounder to thicken the side of your waist. This plyometric exercise is excellent for stimulating your muscle cells as you quickly stretch then contract your oblique muscles to catch and throw the ball.
- Contract your transverse abdominal muscle by drawing your navel toward your spine. There should be enough tension in this muscle to keep your trunk stable while still being able to breathe normally. This particular exercise is essential in reducing unnecessary swinging of your body while you perform hanging abdominal exercises. Gradually increase the weight you are using for all abdominal exercises as your waist muscles become stronger.