Fitness in the movies is much more subtle than you might realize. Whether they’re gearing up for battle, trying to impress, or just working out some deep-seeded psychological issues, these movie main characters – and their most fit moments – are so intense, you’ll be asking your screen if it needs a spot.
Rockys Training Montage
Movie: Rocky IV (1985)
Let’s get the Rocky moment out of the way early. To avenge the death of his dear friend, the recently corpse-d Apollo Creed, the Italian Stallion exiles himself to Siberia to train for a fight against Soviet cyborg Ivan Drago. While Drago trains like a high-tech maniac under the scrutiny of Russian scientists, Rocky goes analog by way of lifting rocks, outrunning cars, and shoulder-pressing ox yokes.
Demi Moore Trains Like A Girl
Movie: GI Jane (1997)
As the first woman to undergo U.S. Navy Special Warfare training, Demi Moore’s buzzed badass Lt. Jordan O’Neil toughed it through every challenge her sadistic drill instructor could dole out. Her gritty one-armed pushups and clenched-teeth chin-ups will make you sweat just watching.
Ron Burgundy Does 1,000 Curls
Movie: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
How do we know Ron Burgundy did 1,000 bicep curls in his office? Because he counted them out loud, of course. His subsequent diagnosis of a “deep burn” stretching from the “uvulus to the upper dorsimus muscles” was also way too specific to suspect.
Forrest Runs Across America -- and Back
Movie: Forrest Gump (1994)
He didn’t do it for world peace. He didn’t do it for civil rights. He didn’t even do it to burn calories. He just felt like running. And, over the course of three years, two months, 14 days and 16 hours, Forrest Gump ran across the United States five times, logging a grand total of 15,248 miles.
The Full Splits Shagged Fly
Movie: A League of Their Own (1992)
Demonstrating excellent flexibility of the hamstring and iliopsoas muscles (ie: the full splits) is hard enough. Throw in the fact that she slid into position, and caught a pop fly, and you’ll see why Geena Davis’ Dottie Hinson’s graceful save is on this list.
Rod Kimble’s “Quiet Place”
Movie: Hot Rod (2007)
Andy Samberg’s buffoon stuntman Rod Kimble athletically navigates all obstacles in a nearby forest of solitude, one of which is a conveniently-placed pommel horse. What’s more impressive is that his feats of raw athleticism -- including shadow boxing, dancing, and some early-stage Parkour -- were all accomplished while drinking a beer and puffing a cigarette.
Movie: The Mighty Ducks (1992)
You know the story -- a group of ragtag misfits bands together to become the unlikely pee-wee District Five champions. Considering how terrible the team was to begin with -- practicing with garbage cans on barely frozen ponds -- their transformation into a squad capable of executing the “Flying V” was a testament to their progressive fitness and athletic turnaround. Quack!
SEE ALSO: 12 Things Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies Taught Us About Fitness
Patrick Bateman’s Crazy Cardio
Movie: American Psycho (2000)
“In the morning if my face is a little puffy Ill put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1,000 now.” So says the titular Psycho, played by a lean and ripped Christian Bale. The rest of his routine, which also includes jumping rope and calisthenics, is fairly basic but, hey, it was the ’80s. CrossFit hadn’t been invented yet.
Movie: Bloodsport (1988)
In his major American film debut, Jean-Claude Van Damme (playing controversial karate man Frank Dux) battles his way to the finals of a brutal underground tournament known as The Kumite. That might be fitness-affirming enough but, just to show off, Dux fights (and wins!) the final round completely blinded by a treacherous handful of salt to the eyes.