How did Rocky prepare to fight Drago? Cutting trees, of course.

By Will Robinson
Updated November 27, 2015 at 07:26 PM EST

The training montage is such a recognizable part of sports movies that it has become an outright cliché. But that wasn’t the case when it was initially popularized by Rocky in 1976. The original Rocky movie, a Best Picture winner, made the montage into an inspiration (try not to get goosebumps when Rocky scales the Philadelphia Art Museum steps). So of course every subsequent Rocky movie (and boxing movie in general) needed to carry the trend forward.

Which brings us to Rocky IV and its training montages (plural, because there are two). After Rocky, Paulie, and Apollo’s corner-man, Duke, land in icy Russia to train for Rocky’s Christmas bout with invincible Russian Ivan Drago. Upon Rocky’s request, the group is given a small Siberian cabin as a way for the heavyweight to go back to his beef-punching roots in the hopes of being able to defeat communism a fighter who might as well be built from sheet metal and equipped with sledgehammers for arms. To find his true self, Rocky undergoes an interesting training regimen. These are the 13 wildest moments of his preparation.

Drago is taking it easy, opting for a treadmill. Rocky climbs a mountain.

There’s only one way to celebrate. Let it all out, Rocky.

Rocky IV

  • Movie
  • PG
  • 91 minutes
  • Sylvester Stallone