Gonna Fly Now: All the Exercises From Every ‘Rocky’ Training Montage


It’s the best part of every Rocky movie: The training montage.

Ever since a young Sylvester Stallone chugged five eggs and huffed his way through the streets of Philadelphia in 1976 en route to three Oscars and a shot at the heavyweight crown, every fit guy has imagined he’s got what it takes to go the distance. Start humming few bars of “Gonna Fly Now,” and you’re, well, flying.

Of course, you probably don’t have an irate, doddering old boxing trainer from Philadelphia to growl himself hoarse during your training. And maybe your dog isn’t named Butkus. But on the eve of the premiere of Creed, starring Men’s Fitness December cover star Michael B. Jordan as Balboa’s protege Adonis Johnson, we’re saluting the montages that first got us in the gym —and keep us going back—from that one where he finally beats Apollo Creed to the one where he fights the Russian.

Rocky (1976)

“You’re gonna eat lightning and you’re gonna crap thunder!”

Distance run through Philadelphia, including the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Speed bag work
One-armed pushups
Clap pushups (but only three, for some reason)
Roman Chair Situps
Heavy bag training

Optional: Going for long runs in Chuck Taylor All Stars; doing heavy bag work on cattle carcasses; getting punched in the torso.
Not recommended: Consuming five raw eggs before training.
Mandatory: Bill Conte’s soundtrack.

Rocky II (1979)


One-armed pushups
Sledgehammer swings
One-armed pullups
Roman Chair Situp punches at the top
Speed bag work
Medicine ball swivels
More one-armed pushups
Lateral dumbbell raises
Barbell lunges (use a log, whatever works)
Overhead barbell presses
Heavy bag work
Double-under jump roping

Distance run: Casual 30-miler through Philadelphia, including park bench hurdles.
Agility: Chasing exactly one chicken through a Philly back alley

Optional: All-American knee socks; running 30 miles in Chucks. (Seriously, Philadelphia Magazine did the math, and Rocky runs just over 30 miles in this scene.)
Mandatory: Bill Conte’s soundtrack; wearing a legendary red bandana.
Not recommended: Exercising in a working junkyard; exercising in a working freight rail yard; leading a de facto parade of small children through Philadelphia without any other adult supervision.

Rocky III (1982)


Running: Hard-sand beach sprints
Double-end bag drills (“Just flick it!”)
Footwork drills with Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers)
More beach sprints
Speed bag drills
Swimming (freestyle and butterfly)
“Double-under” jump rope

Mandatory: Bill Conte’s soundtrack; wearing a yellow tank top; “Eye of the Tiger”; bro hugs on the beach
Not recommended: Smoking cigars in the training room (way to be, Paulie); drinking beer on the pool deck (again, way to be, Paulie).

Rocky IV (1985)


Workout I:
Running: up a snow-covered mountain
Speed bag training
Sawing wood
Lateral medicine ball throw (or use boulders, whatever works)
Weighted sled pull
Wide-grip pullups
Barbell walking lunges (or use a log)
Chopping down a tree

Workout II:
Running: up a snow-covered mountain
Double-under jump rope
Roman Chair Situp (with finishing punches)
Splitting wood
Speed bag work
Overhead cable pulldowns
“Dragon flags”
Neutral-grip overhead press
Duck-unders with uppercuts
Weighted torso swivels
Overhead press

Recommended: Growing a beard; “Hearts on Fire”; proper insulation for cold-weather workouts; screaming your opponent’s name from a mountaintop.
Optional: Substituting rocks for weight plates or medicine balls, wearing a heavily insulated leather bomber jacket while training, everything else in John Cafferty’s discography.
Not recommended: Running in wet shoes; deforestation; steroids.

Rocky V (1990)

Because sequels.

Running: under a statue of your own likeness
Cheering on your protégé
Medicine ball passbacks
Speed bag training
One-armed pushups

Optional: Philadelphia slang
Not recommended: Neglecting quality time with your son for the sake of business; mullets.

Rocky Balboa (2006)

“Horsepower! Heavy duty, cast-iron, pile-driving punches that will have to hurt so much they’ll rattle his ancestors.”


Running: slowly, with your dog
Neutral-grip pullups
Bench press
One-armed overhead kettlebell press
Back squat
Front raise with chains
Incline press
Medicine ball pushups
Sledgehammer swings
Overhead ball slams (or use empty kegs, whatever)
More back squats
Heavy bag work
Barbell swings
Clean and press

Mandatory: Bill Conte’s soundtrack.
Optional: Doing heavy bag work on animal carcasses, again; dressing your dog in a matching sweatshirt.
Not recommended: Drinking eggs, again.

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