Training Montage

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The hour's approaching, to give it your best
You've got to reach your prime.
That's when you need to put yourself to the test
And show us a passage of time
We're going to need a montage (montage!)
Ooh it takes a montage (montage!)

—"Montage", from South Park[1]

A variant of the Hard Work Montage in which a character builds themselves up over time in preparation for a battle. Usually accompanied by uplifting music (if "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky can't be used, then Joe Esposito's "You're the Best" or Survivor's immortal "Eye Of The Tiger" makes for a good substitute).

Closely related to the Lock and Load Montage.

No real life examples, please; Real Life does not have montages.

Examples of Training Montage include:


"I'm not very good at waiting."
"Then we must teach you... to wait."

Anime and Manga

  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS's Teana and Subaru had one of these set to Subaru's Image Song when they were training for their two-on-one battle against Nanoha. It, ahh... didn't turn out too well.
  • Episode 2 of Kaleido Star uses this when Sora preps herself to duplicate the "Golden Phoenix", a favorite trick of Layla Hamilton, one of her idols. She comes oh-so-close to pulling it off, perfecting the spin technique but missing the opposite trapeze bar by thatmuch. Layla, who normally Suffers Newbies Poorly, is impressed enough to allow Sora to stay with the Kaleido Stage crew.
  • Chapter 239 of Mahou Sensei Negima has one, complete with Exploding Calendar.
    • A previous chapter had one for Yue, bonus points as part of the training montage involved actual flying.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion played it surprisingly straight when Shinji and Asuka have to learn how to work together by playing some weird Japanese hybrid of Twister and DDR. Also includes exploding calendar.
    • Notable because the episode was produced about four years before the original Dance Dance Revolution was introduced. Watch it today and you're liable to think that the bit was inspired by DDR.
      • In fact, considering how monumentally popular Eva was in Japan, the reverse may be true...
  • Completely subverted in Excel Saga, when Excel has to win a bowling competition and runs into Nabeshin in a restroom, who reveals he is a legendary bowling coach and offers to train her. The show then skips directly to the END of the training montage with the two of them watching the sunset on a beach Karate-Kid style and Nabeshin saying "I've taught you all I know." Excel then reveals that the reason we didn't see any training is because there wasn't any; all they did was go look at a sunset.
    • Pedro, however, plays it straight (Rocky parodies aside), when he is training to fight Gomez.
  • Blue Gender (an atrociously foreshortened compilation of the series) contains the world's bare minimum elements for a training montage: a total zero at the start-->someone correcting how he holds a gun-->some guy going "hey kid, you've got a knack for this!"-->and suddenly, Yuji being ready to go into battle.
  • Used in Ayanes High Kick when the eponymous hero is training for (what she believes to be) her first Pro-wrestling/Kickboxing mixed martial arts match. The montage includes her practicing punches and kicks near the road by car-light, getting in the stomach by her trainer with a medicine ball while doing sit-ups, doing pull-ups while wearing a weight-suit, and of course jogging up stairs. All set to an upbeat rock tune, as one would expect.
  • Love Hina has one ticking down the days till the Tokyo U Entrance Exam. Naru is doing well—Keitaro, on the other hand...
  • THE iDOLM@STER - Several throughout the showing, the first one being along the ending sequence on the first episode.


  • Rocky, obviously, although it's a bit different in every movie:
    • In the first, it's Gonna Fly Now
    • In the second, it's a remixed Gonna Fly Now, only with kids added in to show how much everybody loves Rocky.
    • Prior to that there is a training montage set to the "Going the Distance" music from the first movie.
    • In the third, Eye of the Tiger comes into play.
    • In the fourth, we have both a regular training music montage and Hearts on Fire.
    • In the fifth, the featured song is Go For It! (Heart and Fire).
    • The final movie saw a rousing return of Gonna Fly Now.
  • Any given John G. Avildsen film, really. Aside from Rocky, you have The Karate Kid and Lean On Me.
    • Though in the case of The Karate Kid, there's a slight variation: the montage is not of Daniel's training, but the karate competition itself.
  • Spoofed in Adam Carolla's The Hammer. Jerry shuts off his alarm at 6:00 AM to the opening strains of Survivor's Eye of the Tiger. And again at 6:09. And again at 6:18, and again and again until he finally gets up around 11:00 to actually start training.
  • The Blind Side: SJ training Michael for football. (This film also has a Hard Work Montage, with Miss Sue tutoring Michael in academics.)
  • Bruce Wayne's training with the League of Shadows in Batman Begins is mostly shown via montage. The accompanying music is more brooding than uplifting, as befits the idea that it's a Batman movie and they're planning to use him to destroy Gotham.
  • In Disney's Mulan, the Training Montage depicts the entire platoon of trainees progressing from pathetic failures to a capable team, to the strains of the (intentionally) ironically-entitled tune, "I'll Make A Man Out Of You".
  • A Training Montage also appears in Disney's previous film, |Hercules, with the titular/clumsy demigod doing hero-training while the coach sings "One Last Hope".
  • Played relatively straight in Bring It On with the cheerleader training montage after the Toros bought routine is disqualified.
  • Inevitably used in Kung Fu Panda. A great many of Po's training exercises became deliberately hilarious due to either his weight or the way in which Shifu used food to motivate him. Thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly due to Master Crane being in the film, there is no Homage Shot of the Crane Stance from The Karate Kid. Even though it's to be expected, like so many other cliches and predictable elements in this movie, Po's training still works, managing to be uplifting and awesome, probably due to Hans Zimmer's[2] excellent music. Of course it gets trumped by the dumpling fight a few minutes later...
  • A good example is this So Bad It's Hilarious training montage from The Man Who Saves the World. Watch the clip and know that this is meant to be serious.
    • Also note that that particular clip is actually spliced together from two different scenes in the film. And that song isn't the same one used in the original film—the original is even cheesier.
  • In Mr Mom an Homage Montage aimed no doubt at Rocky has Jack Butler and his housewife neighbors losing weight and fixing up his house to this same tune.
  • Wet Hot American Summer: "Show me the fever, into the fire. Taking it higher and higher!]]"
  • The film Best Of The Best has a training montage showing all the hard work of the U.S. National Karate Team, set to a song with the same title as the movie.
  • The main character of Persepolis sings along to her "Eye of the Tiger" montage near the end of the film. Considering that she is an Iranian who almost exclusively speaks Persian and French, that she tackles the song in its native English, and she's not actually very good at singing in any case, the results are...amusing.
  • Highlander III the Sorcerer used this, as the main character trained on a mountain top to defeat his foe.
  • Spy Game used this to demonstrate Boy Scout's transformation to naive army grunt to spy.
  • Team America: World Police: Lampshaded in the music.
  • Parodied in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, where the villagers Robin Hood is training routinely fail at basic training, and at one point lose in jousting training to inanimate dummies.
  • In Shooter FBI Rookie Nick Memphis is trained by ex-marine sniper Bobby Lee Swagger over the course of few days on effective sharpshooting, military tactics and advanced camouflage.
  • From Ratatouille: "Let me make this easy to remember: keep your station clean, or I WILL KILL YOU!"
  • It Happened Here (1966). Used to show the protagonist falling under the sway of the fascist Immediate Action Organisation. At the beginning of the montage the IAO nurses flinch when firing a Webley revolver; by the end all of them are coldly blazing away at their targets.
  • Chak De! India: Kabir Khan finally convinces his team that he's the best coach ever: cue title song (literally named "GO INDIA!") and montage of the girls training.
  • Kill Bill volume 2. The Bride learns kung fu under Pai Mei, most notably how to punch through a wooden board from only an inch away, which helps her later when she's in a coffin buried alive.
  • The Brucesploitation film Clones of Bruce Lee goes so far as to rip off "Gonna Fly Now" in it's training montage.
  • No Retreat, No Surrender
  • Chuck E Cheese In The Galaxy 5000 has this when Chuckie crashes into a Hermit's house (who may or may not be Pasqualli). This moment is probably the only decent musical number in the film.
  • As Phelous points out, it happens in A Serbian Film of all movies.
  • There's one in X-Men: First Class when the mutants learn how to use their powers.
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring has one, which is strange since it's an acclaimed art film about a Buddhist monk rather than a sports film.
  • Soul Surfer. "I don't need easy...I just need possible."
  • Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire features the song "Practice Practice Practice" while Maxwell and The Kid both practise ahead of their big match.

Live-Action TV

  • The Buffy episode "Once More, With Feeling" parodied the trope by lampshading it then shoving it aside to make way for "Standing in the Way".
    • Though Angel played it perfectly straight when Angel gets ready to hunt down Darla and Drusilla.
    • It's also played straight in the Buffy movie.
    • Subverted in "When She Was Bad", where Buffy's relentless pounding is used to show she's Not Herself.
  • Spoofed in an episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie. Babar is walking down the street reading a book of Curling rules and regulations. He proceeds to walk past people playing various other sports and up a flight of stairs, then turns around and holds the book in the air. Oh yea, and an oddly played version of Gonna Fly Now is indeed playing.
  • The Colbert Report featured a spooferific training montage in the first episode of the revamped web-animated cartoon Tek Jansen. The background music was clearly a parody of "You're the Best" by Joe Esposito.
    • The 4/11/12 episode has Stephen giving a Marine civilian job training... as a television pundit, with a training montage of practicing which camera to talk at, jumping for the microphone, beating strawmen, and wearing a suit, accompanied by a trumpet version of the theme.
  • The Daily Show had their version - During their coverage of the 2010 World Cup, British correspondent John Oliver trained to Gonna Fly Now, drinking Heineken and running up the steps - in order to be a more obnoxious soccer fan.
  • Previews for The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien showed Conan running down the beach in a suit jacket and tie to the tune of Eye of The Tiger to indicate him loosening up for the move to LA.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had a double montage of Dee and Charlie both training for their fights and taking copious amounts of steroids.
    • And one when Charlie tries to teach Mac to play hockey.
  • LazyTown had one of these. Sportacus was training Ziggy to be a hero like him. The music even vaguely sounded like the Rocky music.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in The Mighty Boosh episode 'Killaroo', where Howard's boxing training montage fails to yield any improvement at all.
  • Used with the villain in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, as she Took a Level in Badass. Linkara's review points out, and solves, the surprising lack of an '80s power ballad in the background (he went with "You're the Best").
  • Parodied in The Big Bang Theory when Sheldon and Raj intently study a whiteboard...complete with fast cuts and "Eye of the Tiger" playing in the background. Twice.

Professional Wrestling

  • Vince McMahon had a hilarious training montage in 1999 when he was preparing to enter the Royal Rumble, being coached by his son Shane and being made to chase a chicken and drink raw eggs, among other things.
    • And another one in the summer of 2009, when he and D-Generation X teamed up to battle The Legacy. Triple H was holding a paddle up for Vince to punch when Carlito came into Vince's office and started complaining about something trivial. Hilariously, Triple H held the paddle in front of Carlito's face and then yanked it away at the last second, causing Carlito to get punched out!


  • Parodied in Adventures in Odyssey's "Fifteen Minutes", where Alex trains to perfect his mini-golf skills under the ex-champion, Bart Rathbone. Somehow, despite the appropriate music (and a spot where he waxes Bart's car for no discernible purpose), this causes him to do much worse the second time around.

Video Games

Web Animation

  • Dragon Ball Abridged has a montage in the year before Dragon Ball's fight with Vegeta and Nappa set and parodied to a Mulan song...
  • In Homestar Runner, Strong Bad is asked to "creat a montage" in sbemail 117. He creates not one, but three montages, all involving a Wagon Fulla Pancakes:
    • The Cheat and the Wagon Fulla Pancakes being down-on-their-luck travelling salesmen.

You can't do it
So give up now
What you gonna do when your dough runs out?
Ain't it a drag?

Let's make this moment be a symbol of our love
We'll pawn your Dad's computer and we'll sale to paradise
You're a girl
Or maybe a wagon
Filled up with pancakes...

    • And finally, the Wagon Fulla Pancakes training for the championship.

Guts, guts and might
Liftin' weights and feelin' alright
It's a showdown, goin' downtown you're gonna mess around
Showdown, put your nose down, showdown!

  • Bowser's Kingdom Episode 7 had one of these, but it was cut out because of lazy animators. Hal and Jeff have an Oh Crap reaction when they find out and come to the conclusion that they didn't train at all.

Web Comics

Aerith: So you've got a week to train for this. Montage?
Axel: Montage.

    • The next strip is a montage of Axel training, complete with The Eye of the Tiger in the background.

Riku: Oh thank God, that song lasted all week.
Namine: Yeah, sorry about that, I downloaded the 'Super Montage' edition.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Spoofed in Drawn Together in the episode "Spelling Applebee's", when Foxxy was training for a Spelling Bee. After asking if they could use the "Rocky song", the reply she received was "only... if we can afford it." The scene then cut to Foxxy punching a punching bag to the beat of a barely-audible, poorly-rendered version of "Gonna Fly Now". The training sequence was then abandoned altogether as "it doesn't work without the real song."
  • Parodied, steps and all, in Hey Arnold! in the episode "Old Iron Man", where Arnold's grandpa competes against an old rival in a senior athletic competition.
  • Inverted in the Daffy Duck cartoon, "Holiday for Drumsticks". To "save" Tom, a turkey destined for Thanksgiving dinner, Daffy coaches him through an exercise regimen to help him lose weight—while packing away all the food (and the pounds) the farmers have set out to fatten him up. The Training Montage is on a split screen, with Tom working himself rail-thin in one half, and Daffy stuffing his beak in the other, with the opposite effect on his physique. In the end, Daffy is the one thrown inside the oven. (As Garfield once said about getting in shape, "I AM in shape! Round is a shape!")
  • Spoofed in the South Park World of Warcraft episode, when the boys are training their characters up to defeat the Internet Troll who has been ruining the game for everyone; whilst the in-game shots shows their characters gradually improving, as they are are spending all their time eating junk food in front of computers the out-game shots of the montage show the boys gradually getting fatter, spottier and further out of shape over time.
    • The song that plays in the background during this scene is "Live to Win" by Paul Stanley, one of the members of Kiss. Funnily enough, the episode with the song was released before Paul's album.
    • Also brilliantly spoofed/lampshaded in "Asspen", and then in an identical fashion in the movie Team America: textbook-perfect training montages are accompanied by the song 'Montage,' which helpfully notes that "In anything, if you want to go / From just a beginner to a pro / You need a montage." This is also something of a subversion because Stan still skis like a beginner after the montage.
    • And then there is the episode "The Losing Edge" where Randy goes through a Training Montage training to beat the other fathers at Stan's baseball games set to the song You're The Best Around. He even sings it in a high-pitched voice when he's fighting the father he's been training the hardest against. Sort of. "You're the best...Around! Yamma-damma-damma-damma-hey!"
    • Yet another South Park training montage: in "Up the Down Steroid", Cartman trains himself to fake mental retardation so he can get into the Special Olympics (he figures he can easily beat the others since they are mentally handicapped and he is not; he's wrong) to the tune of Paul Engemann's "Push It to the Limit" from Scarface.
  • Family Guy did this in an episode, showing Brian getting ready for college finals by training on top of a mountain (explicitly spoofing the Hearts On Fire sequence from Rocky IV). Which did nothing to help him study, as he and Stewie note a few seconds later.
    • They did the joke again in Something, Something, Something, Dark Side, their parody of The Empire Strikes Back, with Luke Skywalker/Chris playing the part of Rocky whilst Yoda takes Paulie's role in the other training montage from Rocky IV, complete with cutting to the footage of Ivan Drago training from the movie. At the end of the montage Luke/Chris points out that "it kinda seems like the Dark Side has a better gym than us."
  • Chowder tears this one apart with a montage set to a song in which the last verse is just the word "Best" repeated over and over.
  • Goofy has one in An Extremely Goofy Movie while trying to boost his grades in college. While he studies his textbooks, Goofy is also literally exercising.
  • The Venture Brothers - Brock's secret agent license is expired, and Hank helps him train for the test in an inspiring montage, complete with cheesy '80s song penned by Doc Hammer.
  • Home Movies - Brendon Small struggles to improve his grades, with the help of a pump-up song "Trust Yourself", by the real Brendon Small.
  • When Rusty on Squidbillies was training to become a professional wrestler, he had one of these, complete with heroic background music.. only instead of training he was being injected with steroids and the scenes all had him standing in the same place, slightly more muscular each time.
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Tiger, the Cowardly Lion of the series, has a montage while training to be like a dog so he can help Wiley Burp and Fievel take on Cat R. Waul. The montage includes Tiger doing push-ups, walking through tires, beating up a Cat R. Waul dummy, and fetching a bone.
  • Used several times in The Simpsons. In "Simpsons Bible Stories", Bart (King David) trains with a flock of sheep in preparation for his battle with Nelson (Goliath II). "Bart the General" features a Training the Peaceful Villagers montage as Bart's army prepares to fight the bullies.
    • In the parody vignette "Bartman Begins," Bart Simpson trains to become Bartman after his parents are murdered by Snake (who appears first as a common hood in the Joe Chill mold and later as a reptile-themed supervillain), and he does so in an "old-timey montage" on grainy film that looks like something from between the 1890s and the 1940s. (Apparently, someone forgot to tell the animators that Batman Begins, despite being set during a "depression," is supposed to be taking place in the modern day.)
  • One occurs in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Call of the Cutie, when Rainbow Dash coaches Apple Bloom in a number of different activities, all in the hopes of helping her find the thing that will become her life calling and cause her cutie mark to appear.
    • Fluttershy gets on in "Hurricane Fluttershy" where her animal friends help her learn to be a stronger flier. Making it a literal example of Gonna Fly Now Montage
  • Doom gets one in The Superhero Squad Show after a fractal-powered MODOK takes over the Legion. Complete with running up a lot of steps.
  • Angelica Pickles of Rugrats goes through one in order to prove that she is the best in the summer camp she got shanghaied into.
  • American Dad did this when Stan helped Roger to graduate police academy.
  • Robot Chicken introduces Mon-tage, who has this as his superpower, solving problems by invoking these to learn skills or accomplish tasks instantly. He even weaponizes it directly near the end, invoking a montage to rapidly age an escaping thief into infirmity.
  • Phineas and Ferb spoofed this twice, first in "Raging Bully" and then again in "Doof Dynasty".

You're gonna run up a ramp with two buckets of water,
Swing over mud for some reason!
At some point you'll drop to your knees while its raining, and look up into the skkkyyy!
You'll stand on a post with your arms out!
....these flowers are way out of season!
You'll fly to a swamp planet, meet a little green man,
And move things with your miiiinnndd!

  • Samurai Jack has this in spades. The pilot has is the Boot Camp Episode,with Jack living with a buttload of characters. The "Jack learns to Jump Good" episode has him training with a tribe of apes who weigh him down with stones and have him run an obstacle course. The scene works on Many Levels

Always fade out in a montage...
If you fade out it feels like more time has passed in a montage...