Bottoms Up!



By Lara McGlashan | Photography by Robert Reif

 

Everyone loves a rivalry, especially in the physique world, and the names Erin Stern and Nicole Wilkins bring about excitement when paired together on a marquee.

But of late, Stern has been noticeably absent from the stage. She passed on doing the Arnold and Olympia in 2014.

“I have been competing since 2008 and thought it was time to give my body – and my brain – a break from competition,” she says. Other projects demand more attention from the 34-year-old figure champ.

Topping her to-do list is her latest book (she already has four other e-books available on her website). “I discuss my story and how I went from hitting rock bottom to becoming the best on the figure stage,” she says. “People see me as this fabulous girl on stage and glammed up on magazine covers, but they don’t see that I went through a lot of struggle before I got here, including bad relationships and eating issues. But I managed to get to a good place by believing in myself and being positive.”

Stern is also focusing on expanding her brand, E3 (Empowering, Educating and Enriching), through motivational speaking, fitness camps and seminars. “Right now I speak about once a month, and my clients range from figure and fitness competitions to high school sports teams,” she says.

She created a glutes program exclusively for Oxygen readers that is guaranteed to kick your arse (literally).

“As a society, we have developed lazy glutes,” she says. “A lot of sitting, not enough exercise – our butts are asleep! You have to wake them up and start them firing again to get them in shape.

 

Barbell sumo squat

TARGET MUSCLES: gluteus maximus, quadriceps

SET-UP: Load a barbell in a rack, then step underneath it so it rests across your upper back and traps. Lift it off the rack, take several steps back and stand with your feet double hip-width apart, toes turned out.

ACTION: Bend your knees and track them over your toes as you squat down, keeping your torso erect and shoulders relaxed. When you’ve come below parallel, pause a moment, then drive up powerfully until your legs come to a full extension without locking out.

 

TIP: No matter where your feet are positioned in any lunge or squat, track your knees directly over your toes to avoid injury.

 

Weighted bridge

TARGET MUSCLES: gluteus maximus, hamstrings

SET-UP: Load a barbell, then lie down on the floor and roll it up until it comes over your hips. Grasp the bar with your hands on either side to hold it steady, then bend your knees and place your feet about shoulder-width apart. Scoot your heels back toward your glutes as far as is comfortable.

ACTION: Holding the bar steady, press your hips up quickly until they are in line with your knees. Lower slowly to the start and repeat right away.

 

TIP: Your weight should be in your heels for this move to hit the glutes. Try lifting your toes off the ground at the top to see if you’re in the proper position.

 

For the full article and workout, check out the latest issue of Oxygen in all good newsagents, or you can click here to subscribe.