Erin Stern's Weightlifting Strategy 2024

Erin Stern Talks About How Much Weight You Should Lift to Get Results

Two-time former Figure Olympia champion Erin Stern demonstrated to her fans and other fitness enthusiasts how much one should lift according to their body’s capacity to see effective results.

Erin Stern posted a recent video on her YouTube page sharing easy approaches for weightlifting and building endurance: 'if you aren’t training close to failure, you're really not going to be making gains.'

Erin Stern, a 43-year-old American IFBB fitness professional and former Figure Olympia with over 297k YouTube subscribers and 340k Instagram followers, shares tips with her fans on how to stay fit and maintain proportions. Her experience in the bodybuilding arena, competing at the highest levels, makes her advice much more valuable and useful for her audience. In her recent appearance in a YouTube video, Erin Stern explains how heavy it is to lift when looking to add muscle and strength.

“We are going to broach the tough topic of how heavy I should lift in order to see results. I consider this topic tough because I am not there with you. I can’t see how difficult those last few reps are for you so instead, what I’m going to do is explain how to get to that point of lifting heavy enough, what it should feel like, and also demonstrate what it should look like.”

Erin Stern Competition History

Competition History

Erin Stern has over 14 years of extensive experience in the bodybuilding industry. In her peak time, she competed in Bikini and Figure Divisions, succeeding in both. Erin Stern hit the ground running and graced the Olympia stage for the first time in 2009. Her initial appearance in bodybuilding career in 2008 earned her a respectable 6th-place position, though her sights were set on first. 

Later in 2010 and 2012, Stern enhanced her already impressive physique and took the Figure Olympia title twice. Erin Stern chose to transition to the Bikini Division, where she ruled, following her incredibly successful career in figure competition.

In 2022, Stern earned gold at the Republic of Texas Pro, proving she is a powerful competitor no matter the division she competes in.

Erin Stern’s Instructions to Make Gains While Lifting Weights

In a recent YouTube video, Stern shared her latest workout advice and details on how to choose the right weight to lift. Below is the check list she provided for maximizing gains.


“First and foremost, you must warm up. This is very important because if you just dive into the workout and put on a bunch of plates for your circulation, your circulatory system is not going to be ready. Your cardiovascular system is not going to be ready; give those muscles time to get loose. Give yourself time to gauge how you are feeling on that day because some days are better than others.”

Track Your Weights

“The next point on the checklist is to make sure you are tracking your weights from week to week. A good rule of thumb as far as increasing volume or increasing weight is about a 5–10% increase per week.

Now understand that this is not infinite so we get to a place where we reach that ceiling of strength and at that point we can increase complexity; we can add bands, but also take a deload to allow our bodies to reset but tracking is going to be so important,” Erin Stern demonstrated. 

She maintains her notebook to keep track of the weight lifted and modifies it the next week. Not everyone carries their notebook to the gym, so this strategy is up to you, whether to follow or not.

Train Close to Failure but Don’t Go to Failure

“Next point, I would say that 90% of your lifts you want to go to close to failure but not hit failure. You do not want to hit absolute failure on every single set because this is not only tough on your muscles; it’s also tough on your central nervous system.

Your central nervous system is going to take twice as long to recover as your muscles do so you want to protect it. You want to make sure that if you are going to fail or if you are doing burnout, perhaps at the end of a workout its maybe once or twice a week or isolation exercises something that’s not going to be so heavily taxing.”

“Now leaving one-four reps in the tank is going to be really important because it allows you to get close to that point of failure but not push you over the edge of failure. You always want to feel like you could do another rep, you could do another two reps or so and this is going to go a long way towards helping you achieve your goals and also gauging that difficulty.”

Erin Stern describes the significance of training near failure and provides an illustration of what this implies.

“Let’s say you are doing lateral raises and you stop at 10 but maybe you could do 20. If that’s the case, think about going up in weight so you get a little bit closer to failure because if you aren’t training close to failure, you’re really not going to be making gains.”

In addition, Stern gives an extra tip to those working out at home or simply having limited equipment options.

“An important note is that if you are training at home, training to failure becomes difficult when you have limited equipment. Consider adding bands, adding pause reps, half reps, or partial reps to increase what’s known as time under tension. That can be a really helpful way to get you that much closer to failure and help you to continue to see results.”

Identify the Two Types Of Failure

“Now the last point on the checklist. We have been talking a lot about failure. What is failure? We have two different types and it is important to know what the two types are so you can recognize it yourself or help your gym buddy recognize them too.

So, our muscular failure occurs when the target muscle gives out. So, you absolutely cannot get another rep because you are doing lat pulldowns and your lats are just fried so maybe you get a half rep and that’s it. So muscular failure, I think, is fantastic because it’s a great indication of where that point is. When you stop and you aren’t able to lift the weight with that targeted muscle, that’s it.”

“Now mechanical failure is a bit different in that you’re able to perform more reps but on those lat pulldowns for example, you will be recruiting every other muscle other than your lats and it’s going to be ugly. So you are doing that last rep or two and you can feel your traps kick in and you can feel your rear delts kick in or your lower back. You start swinging and it is ugly and you may feel it in your abs or somewhere else but those lats have checked out and you are done training that target muscle and you have moved on to training something else.” 

Erin Stern has posted several other videos on her YouTube channel for her fans and other fitness enthusiasts to workout in an effective and easy way. She assists and guides people to build specific muscle groups, whether it’s her easy-to-follow “boulder shoulders” workout or her step-by-step guide to the “Glute Workout." She makes it easy for her audience to achieve a better physique. Her knowledge and skills in this field are so profound that you will explore new things about your body, and she will also help you build gym confidence.

From recovering from injuries to achieving greater results, Stern offers tried-and-tested advice and tips for enhancing health and well-being.

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