Just like every rom-com that involves a protagonist glow-up tends to feature a wardrobe try-on montage, every sporting flick involves a fitness montage. It’s hard to envision Rocky having quite the impact without the infectious thump of Eye of the Tiger sounding as he jabs, ducks, and weaves, ascending stairs at a blistering pace as he jogs victorious at the top. And while the soundtrack might have become something of a cliche for those embarking on a fitness journey, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t motivated to lace up and get outdoors after watching such a montage.
A staple in every movie that concerns itself with a protagonist destined to greatness in the sporting field or looking to overcome the odds and defy expectation in their fitness pursuits, the fitness montage has continued to inspire over the years. From slow-motion running to ridiculously ineffective lifts, movies have continued to deliver over the years – but not all are created equal. Naturally, we have our favourites; those movies that can get us off the couch and back into the fitness swing of things no matter how out of shape we are. But which training montage ranks supreme?
According to a study by sports nutrition brand Myprotein, the answer might surprise you. While we were inclined to think Creed, Rocky or any other boxing franchise that’s been a box office success, it turns out that Disney’s Mulan actually takes the crown of ultimate movie training montage.
The nutrition brand teamed up with a group of personal trainers to compare 35 of the most iconic movie training montages of all time, marking each against 10 different criteria, including everything from Rotten Tomatoes scores and box office gross, to the difficulty of the workout and the level of improvement shown. These were then combined to give each film a score out of 100.
Taking out the top spot with an impressive score of 76.23, Mulan demonstrated the power of consistency in training coupled with self-belief. As Andrew McDonald, one of the personal trainers involved in the research, explained: “As well as the physical, the mental side of this challenge must be applauded, with Mulan disguising herself as a man to train, risking further dishonour and potential death! Then the physical transformation – this is the definition of zero to hero.”
As McDonald adds, “Having been kicked out halfway through, she takes it upon herself to prove everyone wrong, tackling the impossible climb and further highlighting her mental resolve. Plus the song choice can’t be overlooked! I’d imagine a fair few people will be adding this to their next gym playlist!”
Following closely behind Mulan was The Matrix with a score of 65.76 and Batman Begins with 62.13. But as well as looking at the best movie training montages, the research also examined the best song feature in each clip because, as we all know, no montage is complete without a catchy soundtrack. Taking out the top spot was Dirty Dancing which features Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes”, with over 236 plays on Spotify. “Hand Clap” by Fitz and The Tantrums came in second from Power Rangers, with Eminem’s Phenomenal from Southpaw ranking fifth.
Check out the top 10 ultimate movie training montages below.
2. The Matrix
3. Batman Begins
4. The Incredibles
5. Edge of Tomorrow
6. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
7. Kung Fu Panda
8. Dirty Dancing
9. Power Rangers