Workout Playlist: 6 Movies to Inspire Your Routine
Just because we're all spending a lot of time indoors right now we don't automatically have to fall out of shape. There are plenty of workout routines you can implement at home — or in the yard or driveway, and even on nearby roads if you're a runner and maintain safe distances — that will keep your energy and health up. Naturally, we're looking to the movies for inspiration.
From ROCKY to THE KARATE KID, many films have great workout scenes and training montages where sweat flows and the music builds until you're ready to get to work in the gym alongside characters who are preparing for the fight of their lives. Some feature routines you can add to your own exercise at home while others are more inspirational. Drawing from both camps, here are six movies to inspire your indoor workout routine at home.
The Karate Kid
[Image Credit: Columbia Pictures]
Bullying and a chance encounter lead to Daniel (Ralph Macchio), a high school student transplanted from New Jersey to Los Angeles, being trained in martial arts by the handyman at his apartment, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). Mr. Miyagi trains Daniel with techniques that initially seem like chores — waxing his car, sanding a floor, and painting his fence — but which are revealed as ways to build muscle memory. Soon, Daniel is defending himself like a seasoned fighter — and Mr. Miyagi has a nicer home! Call it personal improvement and home improvement all in one.
[Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures]
Ridley Scott's 1997 movie features Demi Moore as Lieutenant Jordan O’Neill, who falls into a web of political gamesmanship when she becomes the first woman to join the elite Navy Combined Reconnaissance Team — basically a fictionalized version of the Navy SEALs. Moore trained with a real special forces instructor and whipped herself into incredible shape for the role, which is shown off in grueling workout scenes that demonstrate how hard Lt. O'Neill is willing to work to prove that she's just as capable as anyone else.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
[Image Credit: Miramax]
The Bridget Jones workout — inspired by the moment in which Renée Zellweger's hapless character decides to change her life once and for all — is pretty simple, at least on the surface. Primarily, BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY features an exercise bike workout, which almost any of us can do. It's all the actions around that workout that are difficult, especially if you're spending a lot of time at home: Throw out all the vices and temptations that make committing to exercise even more difficult than it can be to begin with.
[Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
When Christopher Nolan's BATMAN BEGINS was released in 2005, Liam Neeson had not yet starred in TAKEN, so the image of the actor as a consummate and uniquely skilled fighter was not yet set in stone. As Bruce Wayne deals with guilt and anger related to the murder of his parents, he travels far from home to train with Henri Ducard (Neeson), who turns out to be the villain Ra's al Ghul. His tutelage comes to a head during a sword duel atop a large sheet of ice. You probably don't have an iced-over pond in your home to practice on, but a blue blanket spread on the floor may just suffice. As Ra's says, "the training is nothing — the will is everything — the will to act!"
[Image Credit: MGM]
Nearly any vintage Jean-Claude Van Damme movie is great at-home training inspiration, because JCVD's '80s physique was, frankly, astounding. BLOODSPORT, in which the actor plays Frank Dux, who enters an illegal Hong Kong fighting tournament called the Kumite. For our purposes, the highlight of BLOODSPORT is a long training montage in which Van Damme is repeatedly defeated by his sensei Senzo Tanaka (Roy Chiao) before becoming a seasoned and particularly limber warrior. Some of the stretching exercises seen here are… unorthodox, but if you can learn to do the two-chair splits, all your time at home will have been a success.
[Image Credit: MGM]
ROCKY is clearly the gold standard for workout inspiration, to the degree that virtually every movie in the long-running series (including six proper ROCKY movies and the two CREED movies, which also feature. Sylvester Stallone's Rocky character) features one of the best movie workout montages ever made. ROCKY IV features Stallone working out in the Siberian snow — a vision that is referenced when Adonis Creed trains in the desert in CREED II. In ROCKY III, Stallone and Carl Weathers run up and down the beach in addition to their gym and pool workouts. But for our purposes, the original 1976 ROCKY remains the one to beat, with plenty of road work and basic gym exercises you can do at home. Maybe you don't have a large side of refrigerated beef to punch, but you can probably find some steps to replicate Rocky's triumphant run up the 72 stone steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.