By Samantha Yardley
Photography by: Simon Howard
Videography: Lewis Emmanuell
Makeup: Meera Shah
Do you want to play a game? It’s no tricks, just training with this ode-to-the-ominous Halloween horrorfest workout. There’s no rhyme or reason to the malevolent moves, they’re designed to be sweat-inducing, pain-provoking… fun. So, inhale some pre and don something suitably sinister, because if you’ve got it, haunt it.
It’s a harrowing tale that’s chilled the hench hearts of gym rats for generations. Legend has it, one particularly dark and dismal All Hallows’ Eve, and following on from a rather gruesome international chest day session, there took place an inexplicably obscene massacre in the weights room that would put Jeffrey Dahmer to shame.
The grotesque and unspeakable horrors that transpired that fateful evening have become the stuff of urban myth recounted at gym water fountains across the globe. It’s known that the unsuspecting group of swolemates who fell victim to such insidious terrors that horrific day return to a gym once a year on October 31st to wreak havoc on innocent gym bros getting jacked on the graveyard shift.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and each year, overseen by their merciless sadist, the Hallow Queen, the group of menacing misfits are forced to endure a nightmare-worthy workout with a side order of hypertrophy.
Tortured to beyond the worldly limits of fatigue, the swole specters endure excruciating anguish as our she-devil antagonist divulges her penchant for pain, indiscriminately dispersing her torment according to the cruel cards she draws.
Here’s how the cards stacked up for our beefy baddies this year. Make like The Queen Carla Curva, Tom ‘Cardz’ Coleman, The Clown Jonathan Tye, and The Ram By Diono and go AMRAP-style until you can take no more, or treat yo’ self and go three sets of ten.
Day Of the Deadlift
Know how this killer compound movement got its namesake? In Roman times, soldiers needed a safe and effective movement to lift and clear dead bodies from the battlefield, which henceforth become known as the ‘deadlift’. That makes this multi-joint lift the most MF apt exercise for October 31st bar none.
The ultimate feat of physical strength, the deadlift targets your glutes and hamstrings, back, and the rest of your posterior chain. When you aren’t at the callous whim of The Queen, it’s dealer’s choice as to whether to incorporate it into back or leg day.
- Start with feet shoulder-width apart, feet under the bar of a loaded barbell
- Hinge at the waist, pushing your glutes back and bend down to grab the bar outside of your legs using an overhand grip
- Ensuring your hips are lower than your shoulders, squeeze your shoulder blades and engage your core
- Keeping your gaze down, push your feet into the floor and lift the weight up, maintaining close contact to the bar with your body
- Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and slowly return to the start position
Squats Got Sinful
Every punishing session requires a squat, and whilst the front squat might hurt your ego on the weights front, it will certainly force your body to grow in ways you never thought possible.
Often neglected, this nifty variation of the classic back squat forces your legs to go full quadzilla, plus it’s a killer for your core as your abs work overtime to provide extra stability. If form gets the best of you as fatigue kicks in with back squats, try this alternative as the nature of the movement forces you to remain more upright.
- Begin in a squat rack, with a loaded bar level with your chest
- Grab the bar in a clean grip position, a little wider than shoulder-width and step in close to the bar
- Lower to a quarter squat stance with the bar level to your shoulders
- Keeping the grip on the bar, raise your elbows forwards and upright as much as possible. Bar rests against your shoulders
- Lift the bar, position feet shoulder-width apart and brace your core
- Bend your legs to lower into a squat until parallel with the floor, knees should be directly over feet
- Drive back up to standing position and repeat
Fiendish Farmer’s Walk
Also known as the farmer’s carry, the farmer’s walk is a simple carrying movement that you shouldn’t underestimate. A real test of endurance, this functional loaded walk might just send you to the funny farm after fatigue hits.
The farmer’s walk provides multiple benefits simultaneously, recruiting your stabilizer muscles to get the abs firing, while also helping you to hone your posture and develop next-level grip strength.
- Stand tall holding with weights down by your sides in each hand
- Keep your back straight and shoulders tight, and get to steppin’
- Take short, quick steps and aim for distance to up the ante
Front Raise the Dead
Front raises are the definitive way to decimate your deltoids and you’re doing your shoulders a disservice if you aren’t including them in your go-to next shoulders workout. Killer form is key with this move to make it all shoulder, so remember to save the swinging for a different kind of party.
If you’re tired of the old dumbbell routine, try like The Ram and raise the stakes by switching out for a plate or a tire. Both unilateral and lateral movements work for this anterior delt destroyer, depending on your weapon of choice.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells (or a tire if you’re going full-on guts and glory).
- Weight should touch the front of your quads, arms straight, and palming face your body
- Engaging your core, slowly raise the weight until it reaches shoulder height
- Slowly lower to start position and repeat
On The Prowler
The prowler or sled push looks simple enough, right? Witch please! The move itself may be easy enough to master but a few moments into this punishing exercise and your muscles will be in agony.
This functional all-rounder recruits multiple muscle groups from the whole lower body, back, arms, core and more. It declares war on fat too by giving your metabolism a healthy boost. Weight your prowler with plates or a suitably heavy resident gym ghoul, dealer’s choice and switch it up by choosing a classic push or attach a rope or chain to pull away.
- Begin by facing a loaded sled, leaning forward at a 45° angle to grasp the handles in either hand
- Keeping a neutral spine, push the sled forward by powering into your glutes and hams
- Drive through the balls of your feet, toes in contact with the ground and take large steps forward to cover distance
- Arms can be stretched out straight or bent with hands close to the chest in a push-up-esque position
- Attach a rope or chain to a weighted prowler and stretch taught
- For facing the sled: stabilize your feet either side of the rope, bending at the hips
- For facing away from the sled: get nasty like Cardz, throw the chain over your shoulder and summon your inner freak
- Maintaining a tight grip, pull the sled toward you (hand-over-hand motion as if climbing a rope for facing toward)