VR / AR News of the Week

5 Best VR Fitness Apps for Fun Virtual Reality Workouts

Although we all know that exercise is important for our health, and we certainly want to look fit and strong, let’s face it — exercise is inherently somewhat uncomfortable and some of us would prefer to do just about anything than head to the gym to work out. If you’ve never been particularly active or you played sports as a kid but haven’t found an efficient and motivating fitness routine, there may be a new way to work out that finally feels more like play than a dreaded sweat session: VR fitness.

Gamers rejoice. With virtual reality platforms and headsets, gamers can now engage in active exercise while playing games. Much like a ninja, when you strap on your Oculus Quest 2 and start playing VR fitness games, you can stealthily get in shape, strengthen your muscles, burn calories, and improve your cardiovascular fitness.

VR fitness apps are transforming the entire fitness industry by encouraging previously sedentary gamers to get moving and play in ways that absolutely boost their health and fitness . As VR fitness games become increasingly popular, developers are finding even more exciting and effective ways to disguise challenging workouts as riveting VR games. If you’ve struggled with finding the motivation to go for a run or jump on an indoor cycle, keep reading for our list of the best VR fitness games to take your workout virtual and sweat as you play.

FitXR App

FitXR is our pick for the best VR fitness game out there. This motivating virtual reality fitness app blends the immersive world of virtual reality with challenging total-body workouts designed by top fitness experts. The app includes boxing, dancing, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which enables subscribers to create a well-rounded workout routine.

The workout classes in FitXR are extremely fun, yet they absolutely “count” as a good workout. The boxing and HIIT workouts are especially effective, and there are over hundreds of classes to choose from, with more added every week. You can choose different environments to serve as the virtual studio for your workout as well. For example, some of the HIIT workouts take place in this mesmerizing clifftop studio, which adds a whole dimension of visual pleasure to the experience as you punch, dodge, and smash your way through total-body moves.

The music is fun and upbeat, with popular favorites like Tiësto and Calvin Harris, and the coaches are motivating and encouraging. This is absolutely a VR fitness app that will keep you entertained not only during the workout but over time, as they are constantly building and expanding their library of options.

Supernatural App

Supernatural is a serious VR fitness workout app. After FitXR, this is the best VR fitness app if you’re looking for structured, effective VR fitness workouts. You get to work out in realistic virtual locations around the world as you take on any of over 500 different workouts. There are virtual coaches to help you get the most out of your workouts, and tons of challenges. Users can select workouts based on difficulty level and even connect with the community of other fans on social media.

Supernatural workouts are musical in nature, blending the movements with music. There are four types of VR fitness workouts available in Supernatural: boxing, flow, meditate, and stretch. Boxing and flow are the more intense options. Flow classes, which are Supernatural’s signature content, involve high-intensity rhythmic movements. You’ll lunge, swing, and swipe your way to the beat, burning calories and elevating your heart rate.

OhShape App

OhShape is more of a VR rhythm game than a strictly VR fitness app, but you’ll certainly get your body moving and sweating. The game is inspired by the Japanese TV show called Hole in the Wall and has players moving their full bodies to punch, dodge, and go through various body-shaped holes in the walls to the beat of the heart-pumping music. The faster you move your body and more precisely you perform, the more points you earn.

From an onlooker’s perspective, the player geared up in the VR headset may look like they are doing quite a bizarre and frantic dance as they contort their body into all sorts of random forms in rapid succession, but it’s an engaging way to get your body moving and grooving,

Holofit App

If you own a rowing machine, exercise bike, or elliptical, but it’s started to resemble more of a towel rack than a piece of well-used exercise equipment, Holofit may be the solution to clear off the towels and draped clothing and gear up the machine. Holofit is a VR fitness app that allows you to run, cycle, or row your way through different immersive worlds from the safety of your stationary exercise equipment right at home.

The VR fitness app has all sorts of cardio challenges, virtual coaches, and different landscapes and worlds to explore as you work out, taking the concept of “distraction” while you work out to a whole new level. You can choose to row, run, or cycle through international locations like Antarctica or the Amazon rainforest, or you can take things to the fantastical realm and enjoy outer space and more.

Between the immersive scenery to explore and the competitive goals and challenges the app sets (along with multiplayer mode), Holofit can transform boring, monotonous cardio workouts into gamified excursions.

VZFit App

VZFit is like Holofit in that it transforms your home exercise equipment or basic stationary cardio into a world-exploring virtual adventure. VZFit pairs with Google Street View to bring over 10 million miles of road into a three-dimensional world surrounding you as you sweat. You can bike the Tour de France’s route from your stationary bike in your living room or ride along the streets of San Francisco from your garage in Connecticut. The visuals are incredibly immersive and make the time fly by. If realistic roadways aren’t your cup of tea, you can use your pedaling power to race a car around a track while firing guns to destroy other vehicles. There are fun challenges and something for everyone.

Another perk of VZFit is that you don’t have to own an elliptical, treadmill, or exercise bike. With the freestyle mode, you can ride the “exerboard,” a virtual exercise device you can propel by engaging in a total-body movement created by a professional trainer. It’s surprisingly challenging and a great aerobic workout.

Honorable Mentions: Other Good VR Fitness Apps to Try

While the aforementioned VR fitness apps earn our top recommendations for the best VR fitness games, there are other VR games that will have you sweating and burning calories as you play. Honorable mentions go to Beat Saber, Pistol Whip, Thrill of the Fight, and Dance Central. Most games allow you to play them for a trial period or download a demo version to see if it’s something you’d like to purchase. Remember: Ultimately, the best VR fitness app is one you’ll actually play, as you have to do the workout to reap the benefits.

Finally, if you’re an Oculus player, be sure to download Oculus Move, a fitness tracker app that allows you to set fitness goals and tracks the calories you’ve burned and minutes active across any app or game or in VR.

Editors' Recommendations

This Thor AR Fitness Game Is Powered By Snap Spectacles

What started off as a joke has turned into an exciting proof-of-concept that could rock the XR fitness industry.

VR fitness is having a bit of a moment. Physically-active experiences like Supernatural, Audio Trip, Beat Saber, and Space Pirate Arena offers effective cardio workouts designed to get you up off of the couch, whether it be slicing multicolored cubes to the beat of an energetic soundtrack or physically running across a virtual battlefield.

That said, there is one type of workout developers have struggled to bring VR and AR, and that’s weightlifting. Recently, however, developer Cix Liv tweeted a video of himself at the ARHouseLA where he can be seen interacting with a unique AR weightlifting experience powered by the Spectacles 3, Snapchat’s latest AR-enabled glasses. In the tweet, Cix Liv said, “AR will change fitness and sports more than any technology in history,” adding, “Using weights will never be boring again!”

In the eight-second video, you can see Liv pumping iron while dressed as Thor: God of Thunder. Using the power of AR technology, the Spectacles 3 glasses project a digital hammer over the real-world dumbbell, making it appear as though Liv is wielding Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjölnir.

Image Credit: Cix Liv

With each successful rep, Liv charges the legendary weapon with powerful energy. Once fully maxed out, he thrusts his hammer forward to unleash a terrifying lightning bolt into the air. If used correctly, AR technology such as this could prove revolutionary in the world of fitness.

During an interview with VRScout Liv, talked more about the origin of his Thor AR fitness experience: “It kind of started off as a joke. I worked with Arthur Bouffard, who was also at ARHouse, on the filter and we were asking ourselves what would a superhero workout look like using AR and could we make that?”

After experimenting with several potential superhero concepts, including an X-Men’s Cyclops experience that involved physically swiping the Spectacles 3 to activate mutant powers, the pair went with Marvel’s Thor primarirly because of the potential fitness aspect.

AR will change fitness and sports more than any technology in history.

I am thAR of the ARvengers using @Spectacles!

With help from @arthurbfrd and @pratiksuketu at the @ARHouseLA!

Using weights will never be boring again!

2022 is the year of #AR and #NewYearsResolutions! — CIX (@CixLiv) January 1, 2022

To bring the Thor AR fitness experience to life, Live and Bouffard took advantage of Spectacles hand tracking abilities in order to layer Thor’s hammer over the real-world dumbbell. According to Live, the development process was far from simple. “We started off trying curls, but because of the occlusion of the weights, it wouldn’t always see my hands. If you look closely at the video you can see that I’m repping the weight in a very symmetric pattern to make sure the cameras on the glasses could see the ridges of my hands,” explained Liv.

Once they had the concept and put all of the pieces together, Liv and Bouffard turned to Pratik Suketu, another developer working out of ARHouse at the time, to help polish up the experience.

Even though the Thor AR fitness filter may have started off as a joke, it does open up a lot of potential of what the future of fitness will look like, something Liv is very passionate about.

Liv, who is the CEO and co-founder of the VR fitness app YUR and the CEO and co-founder of the mixed reality app LIV, has spent the last few years trying to figure out how to incorporate resistance or weights into XR experiences. “We saw a lot of AR and VR fitness apps that gave you a decent cardio workout but you’re not going to get the large biceps or muscles that most people associate with working out,” he explained.

Image Credit: Cix Liv

According to Live, his goal is to take existing exercises and make them interesting, fun, and more engaging. For example, instead of bench pressing a bar with weights on it, why not bench press a car or lift a giant mechanical squirrel up above your head? It might sound ridiculous, but half of the appeal of VR is doing the impossible.

Fitness trainer Jake Robinson, who has used VR apps like Beat Saber in the past, agrees: “If that approach can motivate you to push yourself and workout more, why not!”

From Liv’s perspective, there’s a future in XR sports and fitness that we are just at the tip of exploring. And he’s not alone in these thoughts. There are new VR and AR fitness apps popping up every day. “The goal is to quantify, gamify, and re-propose existing equipment into something much more interesting,” added Liv. “Those things together will create the biggest thing in fitness since the headphones.”

Unfortunately, the Thor AR fitness filter is a prototype experience for Snap’s Spectacles 3 glasses and is not available for download. That said, we’d love to see an official release sometime in the future; perhaps when/if Snap releases the Spectacles 3 to the public.

Feature Image Credit: Cix Liv

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