When it comes to the best training scenes in movies, the mind immediately jumps to some of the most iconic — Rocky, Rocky IV, and perhaps the new equivalents Creed and Creed 2. But the truth is, the training montage transcends the Rocky franchise. In fact, it transcends film genres. In our featured video, we break down how these scenes are directed. Following that is our list of the best training scenes in film. Time to hit the gym!

Watch: Training Montage Breakdown — Creed 2 & Kill Bill

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Astronaut training montage

15. Armageddon (1998)

Armageddon  •  Training for space

Nothing makes a movie training montage more intense than when the stakes are raised. And in Armageddon, the stakes could not be higher. Failure of the mission would mean that mankind as we know it will be destroyed by an asteroid hitting the Earth.

The solution? Send a group of oil-rig workers to the asteroid to save the planet. In this training montage, our group of heroic oil-rig workers have just 12 days to become first-time astronauts. With some comedic quips and the usual visual flair from stylist Michael Bay, the Armageddon training montage is top notch.

Science fiction training scene


The mix of first-timers taking on space and the high stakes makes for one great training montage.

Star wars training scenes in movies

14. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Empire Strikes Back  •  Yoda Training Luke

The typical training montage is about physical preparation but that doesn't mean it can't be used for mental tasks as well. Specifically, learning how to use the Force as naive Luke Skywalker must do. This scene from The Empire Strikes Back also features one of the classic variations of the training montage — the Master/Apprentice montage.

One of the tell-tale signs of a great movie training montage is if a line is so memorable it becomes an iconic quote of motivation. Few training quotes are as iconic as Yoda in The Empire Strike Back, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” While the production design makes the scene memorable, the writing and Yoda’s ideology is what makes it iconic. 

Jedi training


Yoda’s philosophy tied into the physical training of this scene elevates the power of the scene.

Best training montages in movies

13. Never Back Down (2008)

Martial art  •  Best training montages in movies

So far on the list, we’ve covered some pretty specific scenes with some very out-of-this-world goals. But sometimes, what makes a training montage great is how relatable it can be. The training is intense, but realistic and relatable to anyone who trains. 

In this scene from Never Back Down, we get all the classics of the best training montages — the initial struggle, the use of repetition to show progress, a driving, motivational soundtrack, and that final moment of triumph.

Never Back Down scene


If you’re looking for a training montage you to get up and go train, Never Back Down’s should be at the top your list.

Funny training scenes in movies

12. Cool Runnings (1993)

Cool Runnings  •  The Iconic Movie Training Montage

While it’s obvious that any training montage for bobsledding will be a ton of fun, what really sells this montage in Cool Runnings is the dynamic between team and coach. Irving Blitzer (John Candy) breaks down the craft of bobsledding and the cast nails the drills — for comedic relief that is. Bobsledding performance, not so much. 

Cool running scene


Need to learn how to bobsled? John Candy has all the motivation and instruction you’ll need, but maybe not get you to the olympics. 

Classic '80s training scenes in movies

11. Bloodsport (1988)

Bloodsport  •  JCVD in all his glory 

A fair amount of losing and getting beat up by your master always makes the success of training and progress taste sweeter. This is the case for both Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and the audience.  And everyone knows how important "serving tea blindfolded" is when training for the Kumate. 

Not to mention the iconic final triumph of Frank pulling the ropes tight after being quite tortured by them. Van Damme movies often paid this much attention to the training montage. Kickboxer is a classic honorable mention. 

Comedic best training scenes


This training scene from Bloodsport is a crescendo of defeat and triumph ending with an iconic split. 

Training in movies

10. Rocky IV (1985)

Rocky IV Training Montage

The greatness of the Rocky IV training montage undoubtedly stems from the contrast. The ruggedness of Rocky’s training in the wilderness and DIY training tools up against Russian boxer Ivan Drago who is using the most cutting edge training regimen. Rocky IV is undoubtedly one of the best Rocky films in the franchise with the help of this scene. 

Rocky franchise training


The contrast in the Rocky IV training montage between both fighters makes it one of the best training montages in the Rocky franchise. 

Karate training in movies

9. The Karate Kid (2010)

The Karate Kid  •  Training Montage

The original Karate Kid (1984) certainly has an iconic training regimen (karate disguised as chores) and a classic one-liner ("Wax on, wax off") but it lacks in the training montage department. This isn't the case with the Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith remake. 

Here Dre Parker (Smith) is put through a grueling sequence, including running in mud, high-kicking on the Great Wall and another triumphant climax involving the splits. 

The Karate Kid Training Montage


Like the original, the importance of the mentor is key in evolving the relationship between Master and Apprentice.

Best training scenes in movies

8. The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight  •  Training

The montage in The Dark Knight Rises works because of both how visual and metaphorical the goal of the training is. Bruce Wayne must escape Bane’s prison after Bane quite literally destroyed his body. What ensues is a test not only of Bruce Wayne’s body, but also of his will and faith. 

The Dark Knight montage


The Dark Knight Rises is a great example of how the visual goal of a movie training montage can make it much more memorable.

Best training scenes in Rocky franchise

7. Creed (2015)

Best Training Scenes  •  Creed

In a film that gracefully handed off a heavy torch, this movie training montage from Creed felt like the literal passing of a torch. Rocky and Sylvestar Stallone pass knowledge, experience and motivation to the new generation of both fighters and actors. Not to mention the cinematography and score elevate the emotion of the scene.

Creed training scene



The juxtaposition of Adonis Creed’s training and Rocky’s fight against his illness makes for an emotional Rocky training montage.

Hilarious training scenes in movies

6. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Wet Hot American Summer training scene

While the training montage is most popular in some of the best action movies, it can be a pivotal scene in a comedy as well. All to get a girl, this hilarious montage serves as both satire and as an uplifting piece of nostalgia simultaneously — a difficult feat.

Hilarious training scene


The song, the dance, the satire. Wet Hot American Summer’s training montage is both hilarious and heartwarming.

Training in movies

5. The Incredibles (2004)

The Incredible training

When it comes to visual storytelling in animation and in general, few do it better than Pixar. The storytelling in this movie training montage from The Incredibles is both rhythmic and suspenseful as we become in conspiracy with Mr. Incredible and his heroe training endeavors. 

Pixar’s training scene


How would a superhero with superhuman strength train? Lifting trains of course.

Best Batman training scenes

4. Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins training scene

As one of the best training montages in movies, this Batman Begins scene fires on all cylinders. The location, the action, the emotion, and the triumph all climax at a pivotal point in the film’s plot. Bale across Neeson is a student master combo that just makes sense on screen. 

Batman Begins Scene


As one of the best superhero origin films, this training montage shows us the process of how Batman became the hero he is.

Best training montage songs

3. Team America: World Police (2004)

Team America: World Police training

The song quite literally tells it all. It’s called a montage. And it’s epic. The satire hits home with the addition of the not so subtle lyrics of the scene’s song. Meta? Perhaps. Hilarious? You bet. We can’t expect any less from Trey Parker and Matt Stone — creators of The Book of Mormon and South Park

Team America: World Police scene


Get ready to have this training montage song stuck in your head after the scene ends. Not only is it catchy, but hilarious.

Best training montage songs

2. Mulan (1998)

Mulan training scene

Speaking of songs, the tune of I’ll Make a Man Out of You in the Mulan training day scene is perhaps the most iconic song on this list. It’s undoubtedly one of the more iconic scenes from the classic film. Mulan became the first to retrieve the arrow after thinking differently and creatively made the triumph hit even harder at the end of the montage. 

Disney training scene


The arc of the Mulan training montage is both empowering and entertaining. Get ready for this tune to be stuck in your head for quite some time.

Best training scene of all time

1. Rocky (1976)

Rocky Training 

We know we already brought up the cliché of the classic-ness that is the original Rocky training scene, but some things are a cliche for a reason. The song itself in the scene has become an anthem for motivation. The scene has been parodied to death exercise to exercise. And of course, there’s the stairs. What better visual metaphor for triumph than the stone stairs that overlook Philadelphia — he's not just fighting for himself, he's fighting for his city. 

Rocky training scene


Everything about this montage is undoubtedly iconic, making it the best training montage in film.

Up Next

Best Action Movies of All Time

Many of the best training montages of all time come from some of the best action movies of all time. Check out a complete list of what we think are the best action packed films ever in our next article. 

Up Next: Action Movies →
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