The Cabin In The Woods Ritual Workout


 Charles Austin Muir


After my article “The Michael Myers Killer Workout” came out, I agreed to interview some prospective clients. Not to sound snooty, but I had them pegged the moment they stepped through my door.

The guy in the letterman jacket… the guy with the glasses… the guy with the bong… the blonde in the Daisy Duke shorts… the redhead. No mistaking them, this was the real-life gang from The Cabin in the Woods: The Athlete, the Scholar, the Fool, the Whore and the Virgin.

The group wanted me to help them get beach bodies for partying in the boondocks. If you’ve seen The Cabin in the Woods, you know this is not good.

I don’t want to spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it. All you need to know is these college kids are the last people you want getting in better shape. Because contrary to popular belief, The Cabin in the Woods is not just a satire of torture porn films, it’s an instruction manual on how to appease the Ancient Ones, who really exist. You won’t placate the giant evil gods who live down below if your sacrificial offering kicks your ass on the way to the Ritual Chamber.

So while I’m not proud of myself for taking new clients and training them to become small and weak, I did so for the greater good. At least I let each individual choose their road to Suckville. Via the closed-circuit television in my office, I watched the gang browse the library of strength and fitness resources in my waiting area. Their reading tastes determined the strategies I would use to sabotage their fitness goals.

To use a pagan metaphor, I let each client unwittingly summon their own workout monster.

Which monsters did they choose, you ask?


Bad Formicus, Dark Lord of Ego Lifting



The Athlete chose a book about strength training. In so doing, he summoned the perfect demon for making him injured and weak — Bad Formicus. With Bad Formicus (who looks like Pinhead with a limp because he never rehabbed properly from a double hip replacement) leading the sessions, we focused on hitting big weights with no regard for technique or proper movement patterns. “Round that lower back, you pathetic minion. Let those knees cave. Bounce that bar off your chest. Be remembered in glory!”


Schwarzeneggeroth, Demon of Overkill



Schwarzeneggeroth corrupts those who seek significant muscular gains. His most susceptible victims are wannabe studs like the Scholar who obsess with ArnoldSchwarzenegger’s 800-page tome on muscular development, The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. He thwarts their progress with fear they have not exhausted every muscle group sufficiently from enough angles.

“You puny fool, go to the advanced training chapter and do even more sets and reps! Your tiny muscles need serious work. You’ve got to bomb your outer biceps head. You’ve got to chisel the serratus. You’ve got to carve up that quad teardrop. Throw in a ‘clean-up day’ or stop wearing shorts!”


Dr. Pull, Olympic Lifting Butcher



Only a fool would dive into a highly athletic, barbell-based training program when he has no weight training experience and THC constantly lingering in his system. But fortunately for the world, that’s what the Fool did after he picked up a book on Olympic weightlifting. And Dr. Pull was right there with his dubious certifications from Hell, giving him cues like “Pop and drop!” and “Be aggressive!” while the Fool tipped over sideways, screwed his spinal alignment and dropped the barbell on his head.


Half Rep Tilius, Heavy Partial Range of Motion Monster



The Whore chose a book on how to build the thighs and butt. With Half Rep Tilius calling the shots, we focused on heavy, high-rep lower body work with reduced ranges of motion. “Stop going so deep and give me ten more, you lazy woman… you want to give a man a husband’s bulge, you’ve got to blast that backside on the high side. Push!” This decreased the Whore’s flexibility and overtaxed her nervous system.


Puking Metcon Mutant



The Virgin didn’t choose a library book. So I set a new monster upon her formed from the four who were already summoned… we work with what we have, right? I call this creature the Puking Metcon Mutant.

What is ametcon (short for “metabolic conditioning”)? It’s a workout with bouts of intense exercise. It kicks people’s asses quickly and gives them a powerful feeling of accomplishment. For the Virgin, that feeling transformed her into an eager pledge in the Puking Metcon Mutant’s brutal and oddly mixed exercise hazing abuse.

“Add another plate on the deadlift!” “Let’s finish with an extra skill session!” “Ass to grass on that snatch!” “Cut your squat depth!” And most importantly: “If the next few sets don’t make you puke, you’re not working hard enough!” The Virgin’s workouts got uglier than the Athlete’s and the Fool’s combined.


There you have it — the workout monsters that stacked the odds in humanity’s favor.

For the record, I want to reiterate I am not proud of how I trained these kids. They expected to look good for a weekend of sex and drugs and making out with mounted animal heads and I turned them into physically crappier versions of themselves so hopefully this rock could keep spinning.

I’m a jerk. Let history judge me for it.

Oh, and by the way, if you happen to doubt the Ancient Ones exist, let’s see what happens this weekend, shall we? Care to place a wager? I hear there’s big money in the betting pool this year.



Charles Austin Muir is the author of THIS IS A HORROR BOOK and BODYBUILDING SPIDER RANGERS AND OTHER STORIES. He loves drinking beer, playing Truth or Dare and riding motorcycles off of cliffs. He wants to be an actual personal trainer someday, assuming he survives the Ritual. 


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