Erin Stern continues to bring off-beat and enlightening content for her social media followers. In the recent video posted on her YouTube channel, Stern went through a full body workout with a twist. Instead of regular movements, she used some uncommon yet highly effective old-school exercises from the golden era of bodybuilding.
One of the most successful competitors in women’s bodybuilding, Erin Stern is a former two-time Figure Olympia champion, winning the contest at the 2010 and the 2012 Olympia. She secured runner-up finishes at the 2011 and 2013 Olympia as well.
The 43-year-old was one of the most active competitors in the late 2000s and the early 2010s, enjoying a great amount of success. She achieved podium finishes in over 15 Pro shows. She also competed in the bikini division.
At this stage, Erin Stern is a popular content creator in the fitness community and shares insightful bodybuilding and fitness content on her social media accounts. In recent months, she has revealed her supplement stack and low intensity HILIT workout to build muscle without wear and tear.
Erin Stern goes through a ‘golden era’ full body workout
The 1950s to 1970s is generally considered as the golden era of bodybuilding. Physiques in this era were flawless with broad shoulders, narrow waist and great proportions. Bigger was not always the better at the time and some of the greatest physiques like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane and Lee Haney were forged during the Golden era.
PED use, if at all, happened in moderation. In absence of sophisticated and modern equipment, bodybuilders explored their creative side and innovated to make exercises more efficacious.
“This is when the physiques were just so aesthetically pleasing. They had that three-to-one ratio – the shoulder to waist; they also had a lot less equipment which is why it’s so incredibly impressive that they were able to be so resourceful and trained so intuitively to get those great physiques.”
Erin Stern was curious to explore the training methods of the era. In a recent video recorded for her YouTube channel, she tried some of the unique Golden era exercises.
While giving a brief idea about the 1950s to 1970s training process to the uninformed fans, Erin Stern said:
“Because they relied on dumbbells and barbells, we’re looking at many compound movements which are great for adding mass overall so you’re able to use large muscle groups, auxiliary muscles, stabilizers; a lot of times they would incorporate isolation exercises as the icing on the cake.”
Stern first tried out this compound strength exercise invented by Charles Jefferson. While the process of executing this exercise is similar to the traditional deadlift, it differs in one key area. Instead of lifting the weight in front, the person has to step one foot over the barbell and lift the weight between the legs by twisting the Torso.
“It’s gonna put a lot less force on your spine than the traditional deadlifts and Squats. So if you have back pain, it could be a good option. It’s also an anti-rotational exercise which means you’re gonna work a lot on the core strength here.”
Stern advised to try both underhand and overhand grip with this exercise and kept the feet approximately one and a half times the shoulder width. But the stance can be narrowed or widened as per everyone’s personal preference. As long as you use light to moderate weights to execute the movement, it will bring a lot of benefits and variety in your training routine. You need to switch the sides for every set by putting the dominant and non-dominant leg across the bar to avoid creating a strength imbalance.
“It trains the entire posterior chain. You’re going to get some upper body training. Another key point here is you want to make sure that you keep your back nice and flat, your spine neutral and think about pushing the wright through your heels as you drive up,” Erin Stern concluded.
Cross Bench Pullover
This pullover variation followed next and Erin Stern explained the difference between a regular pullover and the cross bench variety:
“This cross bench variety is going to have you at a 90 degree angle to the bench with your shoulders on the bench and feet about shoulder width apart and you want your hips nice and low.”
Accordintg to Stern, the ideal way to perform this movement is to keep the arms slightly bent in the elbow while lowering and raising the weights with slow and controlled motion. The core remains tight and hips low. Make sure to lower the weight till you get a good stretch in the muscles.
“This variation is excellent for rrally hitting that end point and really hitting that lats, the chest, serratus, triceps… So it is almost a total upper body move.”
Typically, you need lighter weights to stimulate the muscles with this pullover variation as it takes a lot of strength and effort to maintain the posture compared to laying down on a horizontal bench.
Lying Crossbody Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
Stern advanced over to this isolation movement next. Crossbody extensions target the lateral head of triceps.
“If you want a little extra mass on the outside of the arm to give you nice curve right below the shoulder, this is a great variation for you.”
Maintaining shoulder stability and achieving full elbow flexion are prerequisite for building triceps. Stern insisted on making sure that movement happens only through the elbow joint as a hinge without involving any other joint.
When you’re training with minimal setup an do not have access to sophisticated equipment, sissy squats can be a very good addition to the training routine. This squat variation can help build quad muscles and tone them as well. However, it is best to avoid sissy Squats if you are dealing with knee issues or discomfort.
“If you’re just starting out, I would say you can even do them kneeling, do some reverse Nordic curls. This is a good way to get into the sissy squats. If you’ve got really strong quads, go ahead and add weight…” Stern stated.
To do this exercise, it is best to have a sturdy support to hold with one hand. Feet have to be positioned at a slightly narrower distance than shoulder width. Keep the body in the plank position and use the knee joint as a hinge to do the squat.
Dumbbell Glute Bridge Floor Press
Erin Stern recommends this exercise to build the hip drive and gain strength overall. Simply put, this exercise is a combination of glute bridge and dumbbell floor Press.
Squeezing the glutes to stay in the glute bridge position and pressing the dumbbells using explosive strength helps build strength.
Invented by strongman Jim Bradford, who was known for his overhead pressing strength.
“If you’re looking for something that’s going to just give you an insane pump, help you work on shoulder mobility, help you really train all heads of the shoulders, this is an excellent exercise.”
Each rep of this exercise includes pressing the barbell overhead, lowering it behind the neck, raising it back up and lowering it in the front. This helps keep the shoulder muscles under tension for a longer duration and works them from different angles as well. Considering the amount of strength required to finish each rep, it is best to do Bradford press with relatively lighter weights.
Overall, following are the golden era exercises that Erin Stern tried to do a full body workout:
- Jefferson Deadlift
- Cross Bench Pullover
- Lying Crossbody Dumbbell Triceps Extension
- Sissy Squats
- Dumbbell Glute Bridge Floor Press
- Bradford Press
Personally, Erin Stern was impressed with the Jefferson deadlifts and may incorporate it in her regular training routine. Try doing these exercises and see which one feels best for you.
Watch the full video below, courtesy of Erin Stern’s personal YouTube channel: