The Most Awesome Movie Training Songs?
March 31, 2005 7:25 PM   Subscribe

I'd like your help in compiling a workout mix-cd of the most Awesome Cheesily Inspirational songs from movie training sequences. Think "Eye of the Tiger"... or even better, "Hearts on Fire" from the Rocky IV training sequence. And quite possibly the apex: Joe Esposito's "You're the Best" from the Karate Kid. (YOU'RE THE BEST! AROOOUND!) Stuff where you can't help but start going, "Yeah! I'm going to totally train in this montage to kick that guy's ass!" Doesn't even have to be from a training montage, just have that 'feel.'
posted by Stan Chin to Media & Arts (65 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
There's a sequence like you describe in the film Soul Man where the heretofore lackadaisical protagonist actually decides to get his shit together and study. The chorus of the song is something like "It's totally academic!" and it has all the cheesy 80s chops you're looking for, including the sysnths, the mindless crescendo, and the even more mindless chorals.

Amazon lists the song as "Totally Academic, by Brenda Russel" though you'll have trouble getting a hold of the soundtack.
posted by scarabic at 7:37 PM on March 31, 2005

Scarface (Push It to the Limit) by Pete Bellotte from Scarface - so cheesy...

Push it to the limit
Walk along the razor's edge
but don't look down, just keep your head
and you'll be finished

Open up the limit
past the point of no return
You've reached the top but still you gotta learn
how to keep it

Hit the wheel and double the stakes
throttle wide open like a bat out of hell
and you crash the gates
(crash the gates)

Going for the back of beyond
Nothing gonna stop you
there's nothing that strong
So close now you're nearly at the brink
so, push it

(Ooo yeah)

posted by Tenuki at 7:45 PM on March 31, 2005 [1 favorite]

John Waite's "Change" from Vision Quest. Totally.
posted by Caviar at 7:46 PM on March 31, 2005 [1 favorite]

No joke, I've had You're the Best stuck in my head for about three weeks now. Be careful what you listen to.
posted by Who_Am_I at 7:50 PM on March 31, 2005 [1 favorite]

Someone's gotta say it: Europe's "The Final Countdown" sounds like it belongs in a training sequence. (Don't think it has though.)
posted by ALongDecember at 7:54 PM on March 31, 2005

Chariots of Fire, for those slow motion running moments.
posted by nyterrant at 7:59 PM on March 31, 2005

"Montage" from Team America: World Police. Ooh, it takes a montage / Show a lot of things happening at once / Remind everyone of what's gone on / In every shot, show a little improvement / To show it all would take too long / That's called a montage (etc.)
posted by zsazsa at 8:07 PM on March 31, 2005

Sad thing is, I've got Eye of the Tiger and You're The Best on my On-The-Go playlist on my iPod.

Loggin's "Danger Zone" from Top Gun makes me wanna step on the pedal.

Wrestling entrance themes usually spark a bit of "I'm gonna kick your ass" sentiments as well. Think Hogan's "Real American" theme.
posted by icontemplate at 8:10 PM on March 31, 2005

Anything by Survivor. I know "Eye of the Tiger" is a gimme, but think of "Burning Heart." Now imagine punching a heavy bag in time to that. Oh, yeah.

Sounds like you're gonna have an 80's-a-thon!
posted by SlyBevel at 8:14 PM on March 31, 2005

Oh my ... brings back my old training tapes for running and rowing which included "Believe It Or Not" (Joey Scarbury) as a segue/a bridge to/from the "heart-pounding" tracks.
posted by ericb at 8:17 PM on March 31, 2005

Damn you - or, "bless you" - iTunes ... just downloaded some of the tracks mentioned above!
posted by ericb at 8:23 PM on March 31, 2005

I recommended it in another thread: Revv Me Up from an episode of the Venture Bros (click "Brock's Workout Song from Mid-Life Chrysalis"). It's everything you want in a cheesy workout song, and less.

Something by Van Halen would be good too. Maybe "Right Now." I always thought that song should have been used in a training montage.

This is a bit obscure, but "Faith and Muscle" by Rhythm Corps is another good choice.
posted by kindall at 8:25 PM on March 31, 2005

ugh. "Nothin's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship.
posted by whatnot at 8:27 PM on March 31, 2005

"You Got The Touch" from Transformers: The Movie (and later, "Boogie Nights".)
posted by toddshot at 8:28 PM on March 31, 2005

It's been a while, but perhaps something from the Toxic Avenger soundtrack?
posted by Neosamurai85 at 8:30 PM on March 31, 2005

To clarify ... "Believe It Or Not" is indeed "cheesy" ... but can work in a mix.

As nyterrant mentions, Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire" soundtrack is/can be right for work-out and transitional phases.

I also recommend that you check out tracks from "John Williams: Summon the Heroes" - the soundtrack for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
posted by ericb at 8:40 PM on March 31, 2005

Some won't think this is cheesy, but I think it is. Totally, inspirationally, cheesy. And I totally get up for it.

"Lose Yourself," by Marshall Mathers aka Slim Shady aka Eminem, from 8 Mile.
posted by kables at 8:43 PM on March 31, 2005

A-Team theme.
posted by NortonDC at 8:50 PM on March 31, 2005

Hero from Footloose.
posted by stray at 8:52 PM on March 31, 2005

Go hit BillBoard and look at the top ten or so of every year in the 80s. Should be a shedload of good bad stuff.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 PM on March 31, 2005

Andrew WK is all about being pumped up. His "Don't Stop Living in the Red" from I Get Wet is particularly go get 'em inspirational.
posted by PhatLobley at 9:14 PM on March 31, 2005

"Number One" by Chaz Jankel from Real Genius.
"One Foot in Front of the Other" by Bone Symphony from Revenge of the Nerds.

I'll keep thinking about this. I know that, with some effort, I'll be able to dislodge a few from my 1980s-era gray matter.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:17 PM on March 31, 2005

Fame! I'm gonna live forever!

remem-buh remem-buh remem-buh
posted by jdroth at 9:22 PM on March 31, 2005

Theme of Laura from the video game Silent Hill 2. No, really. Download it. Its for that really critical time in your workout when you are running on empty, and you need music to reflect that, then push you into working some more.
posted by oflinkey at 9:52 PM on March 31, 2005

Devo, "Workin' in a Coal Mine"
"Lord, I am so tired. How long must this go on?"
posted by kirkaracha at 9:52 PM on March 31, 2005

"What a Feeling," also by Irene Cara. Also "Moment of Truth" from Karate Kid (again, Survivor).

As an aside, are there any inspirational music montages that aren't from the 80's?
posted by O9scar at 10:02 PM on March 31, 2005

For "feel":

"The Heat Is On" by Glenn Frey
"Wheel In the Sky" by Journey
"Rev on the Red Line" by Foreigner
"Turn Me Loose" by Loverboy (I'm thinking of this since I thought of Wet Hot American Summer; they used a spoofy "training montage" song in that called "Higher and Higher" you might find useful)
posted by Melinika at 10:24 PM on March 31, 2005

Frank Stallone - Far From Over
Styx - Renegade
Bon Jovi - Living on a Prayer
posted by shoos at 10:30 PM on March 31, 2005

My husband and I did a Patrick Swayze film festival a few nights ago, watching "Dirty Dancing" and "Road House" back to back, since I'd only seen the former and not the latter and he the reverse. Partway through "Dirty Dancing" he turned to me and said "oh, so that's how chick movies do training montages".

He was referring to the song "Hungry Eyes", which plays during the montage where Jennifer Grey is being taught how to dance. It's by 80's crooner Eric Carmen, and it's pretty darn cheesy--especially since it's one of the many places where that film rapidly and painfully switches from circa 1963 R&B and soul to anachronistic 80's synth pop.

And the "Hungry Eyes" music video--included on the DVD--is a guilty pleasure in its own right, featuring every awful 80's music video cliche ever! Including a supermodel with big hair who inexplicably wears a black satin evening dress and long white gloves and pouts at the camera, gets stalked by the male lead singer (Eric Carmen) who sits in the dark at his empty apartment watching home movies of her (and scenes from the film's training montage), and later she poses with a saxophone outside at night (still wearing the dress and gloves) pretending to play the sax solo in the song. Fabulous.

As soon as my husband gets home, I'm totally going to ask him for suggestions for you, because he adores training montages and Joe Bean Esposito and the Stallone brothers.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:32 PM on March 31, 2005

(When you said "You're the Best" as an example in your question it earwormed that Tina Turner song into my head. Which could conceivably be used to answer your question also. Dammit, now I have flashbacks of Ricky Gervais doing "pump-you-up" moves and the chorus going on a loop in my head. How will I get to sleep?)
posted by Melinika at 10:33 PM on March 31, 2005

Won't Get Fooled Again, The Who

I thought for sure this was the song used in American Beauty when he was lifting weights out in the garage, but I checked the soundtrack and it says otherwise. This is a kick ass song though. Keith Moon rulez.

and, It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll), AC-DC. If you can dig it.
posted by airguitar at 10:38 PM on March 31, 2005

The hubby just got home and came through with flying colors. Actual pumped-up training montage songs:

- "Fight To Survive" by Stan Bush, from "Bloodsport"
- "Anvil of Crom" by Basil Poledouris, from "Conan: The Barbarian"
- "The Payback" by James Brown, from "Dead Presidents", among other films
- "Gracioso" by Moby, from "Any Given Sunday"
- "Now You're A Man", by Trey Parker, from "Orgazmo"

Similar types of songs, though not used as montage themes:

- "Fighting the World" by Manowar
- "You've Got Another Thing Coming" by Judas Priest
- "Name of the Game" or "Starting Over" by The Crystal Method

Also, he says that on the Rocky IV soundtrack CD, there's a secret track called "Training Montage" by Vince DiCola, which was used recently by FOX before Game 7 of the MLB ALCS.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:07 PM on March 31, 2005

Anything from Mr T's Be Somebody (or be somebody's fool) album.

or maybe not.
posted by furtive at 11:39 PM on March 31, 2005

Dreams by Van Halen, or, as I called it, "I See David Took Both Testicles With Him When He Left, Eh."
posted by dong_resin at 11:40 PM on March 31, 2005

Additionally by Stan Bush and from the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack:

Dare! Dare to believe you can survive,
You hold the future in your hand.
Dare! Dare to keep all of your dreams alive,
It's time to take a stand.
And you can win, if you dare.

posted by grouse at 12:11 AM on April 1, 2005

John Farnham - "The Voice" from St. Elmo's Fire (complete with bagpipes!)
posted by skylar at 12:34 AM on April 1, 2005

Also check out the Mortal Kombat movie soundtrack. :)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:34 AM on April 1, 2005

Finish with the walking away / end credit music from the Incredible Hulk.
posted by seanyboy at 3:44 AM on April 1, 2005

John Parr's "Man In Motion" from St. Elmo's Fire. Hands down.

I can see a new horizon underneath the blazin' sky
I'll be where the eagle's flying higher and higher
Gonna be your man in motion, all I need is a pair of wheels
Take me where my future's lyin', St. Elmo's Fire

And what's with that mixed metaphor? Flying eagles and sky imagery meets "pair of wheels"?
posted by Servo5678 at 4:26 AM on April 1, 2005

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:18 AM on April 1, 2005

Women's training montages are usually of a girl trying on an outfit, discarding, trying on an outfit, discarding. Rinse. Repeat. Then at the end she emerges in something better than all the previous clothes.
posted by pieoverdone at 5:25 AM on April 1, 2005

I kinda like 'We Don't Need Another Hero' from Tina Turner and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Maybe that's too ironic for a training montage...
posted by Slothrop at 5:35 AM on April 1, 2005

"Come Out Fighting" by Easterhouse

Oh well there never was anything in my life
that I got just for asking
And I never heard of anything
that was won without a fight
Now I'm in another corner
only the times have changed
a new page is turning over
but the book is just the same

I want to come out fighting
I want to step out fighting
I'm in a head spin waiting for that bell to ring
I want to step out fighting

And howabout a little (grammatically challenged) Prince?

Oh baby I'm a (star)
Might not know it now
Baby but I r, I'm a (star)
I don't want to stop, 'til I reach the top
Sing it! (We are all a star!)

We are all a star!

("Baby I'm A Star" from "Purple Rain" if'n you didn't know.)
posted by papercake at 5:45 AM on April 1, 2005

And how could I forget "Fire in the Twilight" by Wang Chung from The Breakfast Club soundtrack??

Hot on the run from the grip of the power game,
The man who leads the way, the man who leads the way.
Shell in it’s box from his home that they’ll never tame,
The man who leads the way, the man who leads the way.

He is burning, burning in the twilight.
He is burning, turning to face us.
He is burning, fire in the twilight.
He is burning, turning to lead us away, away, away,
Lead us away, away, away.

posted by papercake at 5:50 AM on April 1, 2005

The theme from "Hoosiers" always makes me want to run the picket fence at 'em.
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:35 AM on April 1, 2005

"Just a steel-town girl on a Saturday night..."

Maniac from Flashdance. Sooooo '80s.
posted by NortonDC at 6:52 AM on April 1, 2005

"Race for the Prize" or "Turn It On" by The Flaming Lips.
posted by Optamystic at 7:23 AM on April 1, 2005

Hah, this is awesome. With this arsenal of tunes, all I need to do is find a wise yet unassuming teacher and get into an argument with my girlfriend about how I can't win.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:45 AM on April 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

Slightly out of context maybe, but "Powertrip" by Monster Magnet?
posted by kuperman at 7:47 AM on April 1, 2005

Hearty encouragement for the previously mentioned "Higher and Higher" from Wet Hot American Summer. I don't think it is available anywhere, at least I've never found a copy, but it's PERFECT for these purposes.

and the film in general is EXCELLENT, imho. Definitely worth a rental.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:03 AM on April 1, 2005

John Farnham's "Break the Ice", from the Rad soundtrack. Good luck finding that one!
posted by smackfu at 8:06 AM on April 1, 2005

I can't believe "Over The Top" by Sammy Hagar hasn't been mentioned yet.

*glares at dong_resin*
posted by Cyrano at 8:50 AM on April 1, 2005

The Chicago Bulls theme music: "Sirius" by The Alan Parsons Project.

"Jump" by Van Halen.
posted by Four Flavors at 9:10 AM on April 1, 2005

It may not precisely fit the conventional mold, but "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg)" by The Ramones made a fantastic training-montage song in "School of Rock".
posted by Zonker at 9:15 AM on April 1, 2005

Duh. This hit me all at once.

"We're Not Gonna Take It" - Twisted Sister.

Someday, I'll run for office with that as a campaign song.

"One Vision" by Queen.

Ironically, both songs on the Iron Eagle soundtrack.
posted by TeamBilly at 9:25 AM on April 1, 2005

Theme song from Gattaca played during the scene where Ethan Hawke swims in the ocean with his brother at the end of the movie...
"You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back. "
posted by ldfu at 10:03 AM on April 1, 2005

I've enjoyed this thread more than any in a long time, and I feel I must add to the cheese.

I've always been a big fan of the "inspiration" that oozes from the title track of the schlocky movie "The Last Dragon." I *think* that either the title track or the reprise is the training/comeback song for the character "Bruce Leroy" as he works to make his comeback on "Sho 'Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem". I only have it on vinyl, so I haven't heard it in years. (Ah, where's a turntable when I need one to rip these gems to the iPod?)

"You are the last dragon, you possess the power of the glow (of the glow, the glow...)"
posted by NewGear at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2005

Homestarrunner did one of the best spoofs of inspirational (and otherwise) montages in this Strongbad email.
posted by electroboy at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2005

Oh, TeamBilly reminded me of another one: "I Want It All" by Queen.
posted by Cyrano at 11:29 AM on April 1, 2005

Whoah, how did this one not get mentioned:

Cake - Going the Distance

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flags goes up,
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup...

posted by NortonDC at 11:32 AM on April 1, 2005

You can do it Stan. We believe in you.
posted by shoos at 11:37 AM on April 1, 2005

Battle Without Honor and Humanity from the first Kill Bill soundtrack has a real Rocky feel to it. It's on my gym mix.
posted by painquale at 1:58 PM on April 1, 2005

You are going to offer the mix-cd to us, right?
posted by luneray at 7:40 PM on April 3, 2005

Let's Hear it for the Boy!
posted by squirrel at 2:31 AM on April 8, 2005

It may be a little late for additions but I just got back from a workout with a friend and found another song that would fit – “Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
posted by Tenuki at 11:29 AM on April 10, 2005

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