In this study we explored training effects for combined action observation and motor imagery (AO + MI) instructions on a complex cup-stacking task, without physical practice. Using a Graeco-Latin Square design, we randomly assigned twenty-six participants into four groups. This counterbalanced the within-participant factor of practice condition (AO + MI, AO, MI, Control) across four cup-stacking tasks, which varied in their complexity. On each of the three consecutive practice days participants experienced twenty trials under each of the three mental practice conditions. On each trial, a first-person perspective video depicted bilateral cup-stacking performed by an experienced model. During AO, participants passively observed this action, responding only to occasional colour cues. For AO + MI, participants imagined performing the observed action and synchronised their concurrent MI with the display. For MI, a sequence of pictures cued imagery of each stage of the task. Analyses revealed a significant main effect of practice condition both at the ’surprise’ post-test (Day 3) and at the one-week retention test. At both time points movement execution times were significantly shorter for AO + MI compared with AO, MI and the Control. Execution times were also shorter overall at the retention compared with the post-test. These results demonstrate that a complex novel motor task can be acquired without physical training. Practitioners can therefore use AO + MI practice to supplement physical practice and optimise skill learning.