The 10 Most Inspiring Training Scenes in Movie History

Athletes can find inspiration in all sorts of unlikely places. Music, books, nature, and art can be helpful in giving you that motivational push to get out and conquer your fitness goals. Some of the most inspiring mediums of all are the countless training scenes in film history. Often set to equally triumphant soundtracks, there are times when a great training montage will make you want to stop the movie right there and go try to channel the star's intensity. Whether it’s Michael Jordan himself getting a push from the Toon Squad in Space Jam, or classics like Chariots of Fire and Rocky, these are The 10 Most Inspiring Training Scenes in Movie History.

Riley Jones is a freelance writer from Charlottesville, VA and contributor to Sneaker Report. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.

RELATED: The Best Performance Sneaker Moments in Movie History
RELATED: The Most Iconic Performance Shoes in Pop Culture

Space Jam
Image via Ugo

No. 10 – Space Jam

Year released: 1996

By the time Space Jam hit theaters in November of 1996, Jordan was already back on the NBA hardwood. After his first return to the game of basketball, Jordan was able to quickly silence any doubters and return to his prime form. The plot in Space Jam addressed this “what if?” question with Mike himself doubting his abilities after retirement. After some coaxing from the animated Toon Squad, Jordan soared around the court to the tune of Seal’s “Fly Like an Eagle.” Laced in a crispy pair of Air Jordan IXs, Mike was all business during this scene of the lighthearted movie.

Enter the Dragon
Image via Fan Pop

No. 9 – Enter the Dragon

Year released: 1973

In Bruce Lee’s final film before his death, the martial arts legend went out with a bang. Enter the Dragon featured some incredible fight scenes, but don’t overlook the training clips, either. The most memorable of all is when Lee’s character is training a young prodigy and advises him, “Don’t think, feel!” Everyone could learn a thing or two from Lee’s disciplined and strategic training methods.

Batman Begins
Image via Beyond Hollywood

No. 8 – Batman Begins

Year released: 2005

While you’ll probably never find yourself preparing for combat on a frozen sheet of ice, this memorable clip from Batman Begins is as badass as it gets. As Christian Bale’s Batman character learns his craft from Ra’s Al Ghul, the viewer is treated to a montage which includes a sword battle set in Iceland. Full of memorable quotes and valuable lessons, knowing that moments like this helped build Batman to his eventual expertise make it that much more inspirational.

Star Wars
Image via Screened

No. 7 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Year released: 1980

Bad news first: you’ll never be able to use ‘The Force.’ But there’s a silver lining, which is the fact that the training scene in The Empire Strikes Back is so well done that it might give you a mental edge during your next big game, match, or event. Special powers or not, there’s plenty to be learned from Yoda during this training scene and the entire Star Wars legacy.

Cool Runnings
Image via Uproxx

No. 6 – Cool Runnings

Year released: 1993

This ’93 comedy was based on the Jamaica national bobsled team’s debut entry in the 1988 Canada Winter Olympics. Full of family-friendly laughs and 1990s nostalgia, Cool Runnings also featured an unforgettable training scene with the team’s coach going to extreme measures to prepare them for the big race. Despite the laughs provided by the team practicing with a 600-pound sled downhill on dirt to one character getting his dreadlocks frozen in an ice cream cooler, this scene shows that you have to push the limits while training if you expect results on game day.

Chariots of Fire
Image via Youtube

No. 5 – Chariots of Fire

Year released: 1981

Retelling the story of two 1924 Olympic runners, Chariots of Fire is loaded with religious inspiration, but its training montage is powerful regardless of its connections. Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell’s dual training scene was dramatic, intense, and most of all, inspirational. Don’t believe us? Check out the clip for yourself here.

American Psycho
Image via Tumblr

No. 4 – American Psycho

Year released: 2000

Perhaps our most unorthodox selection, we simply cannot condone the vast majority of Patrick Bateman’s actions in 2000’s American Psycho. However, the opening scene, which features Bateman boasting that he can do 1,000 stomach crunches, is oddly inspirational. You don’t have to be a psycho, or Christian Bale, to benefit from that sort of discipline.

GI Jane
Image via Celebrity Fitness Training

No. 3 – GI Jane

Year released: 1997

Featuring a badass female character in an era dominated by male leads in action films, GI Jane starred Demi Moore as a US Navy Training enrollee. Tackling gender inequality head-on, Moore’s portrayal of Jordan O’Neill was essentially a non-stop training course. One of the most memorable scenes saw the protagonist perform a series of one-armed pushups. To make matters even more impressive, there was no use of a double, it was Demi herself performing the feat. Not inspired yet? Go try it out for yourself.

Karate Kid
Image via Online Filmizlesek

No. 2 – The Karate Kid

Year released: 1984

No disrespect to Jaden Smith, but when it comes to the Karate Kid, we can’t help but lean towards the 1984 original. Who could forget the “wax on, wax off” scene where Mr. Miyagi trains Daniel in the ways of defense. It was inspirational scenes like this that helped to make the 1984 version such a hit and usher in the remake. If you haven’t seen The Karate Kid, you’re missing out on some serious inspiration!

Rocky
Image via Pictures Depot

No. 1 – Rocky I-V

Year released: 1976-1990

While it’s not our job to rank the legendary Rocky series based on its film merits, one thing’s for sure: the training scenes are unmatched. While they’re not all necessarily the most realistic scenarios, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re some of the most inspirational training scenes ever put to film. With perfectly chosen soundtracks, awesome cinematography, and an always-intense Sylvester Stallone, the Rocky movies set the bar for training montages. Many of the scenes have been imitated and referenced in pop culture, and certain songs will always inspire us to go attempt the impossible.

Riley Jones is a freelance writer from Charlottesville, VA and contributor to Sneaker Report. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.

RELATED: The Best Performance Sneaker Moments in Movie History
RELATED: The Most Iconic Performance Shoes in Pop Culture