Liteboxer VR and Oculus Will Bring the Boxing Gym to You

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The Lowdown

You’re not going to get the exact same workout that you’d get from hitting a physical punching bag or pad with Liteboxer VR, but you’ll still get an intense workout in. If you’re diligent about form, some of the training should translate over into physically hitting a bag as well!

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Large library of instructional videos
  • Lots of options from beginner to advanced
  • Integrates bodyweight workouts for a full-body experience
  • It gamifies your progress and makes working out fun

Cons

  • Somewhat awkward to do floor and jumping exercises in VR
  • There is a bit of a learning curve, especially on uppercuts

Like most people, I’ve managed to get pretty well settled in my home gym. I have a good arsenal of kettlebells, some dumbbells, a rowing machine, and other ancillary equipment. Everything I have has to be relatively compact to be stored away in my small space. As a result, while I love boxing, it’s hard to find the space to hang a bag or set up a stand. This is a pretty common issue, and the folks at Liteboxer have a creative solution — box in virtual reality with Liteboxer VR and Oculus!

Lightboxer VR

If Liteboxer sounds familiar, it might be because you’ve stumbled across their hardware at some point. Liteboxer makes a platform with a hardware pad that lights up in patterns, indicating where you should punch, but that setup is pricey and, again, takes up space.

So Liteboxer has ported the concept of their pad and pattern workouts to the Oculus, where you can virtually punch to your heart’s content without annoying your neighbors or giving up permanent floor space. If you have an Oculus Quest and a few feet of open space, then you’re ready to use Liteboxer VR!

Getting started with Liteboxer VR is incredibly easy; I set up my profile, indicated that I was right-handed, and I was ready to roll (and swing).

You have several options on the main menu; you can jump right into a pure boxing workout, or you can opt for an instructor-led workout. The instructor workouts are broken down by time, type of workout, and difficulty level. You can also opt for a quick boxing session set to various songs like Despacito or Fortunate Son, and in those, you can set the difficulty level to your preference along the way.

These are both great experiences, but they do function quite differently, and which you choose each time will depend on your time and goals.

Lightboxer VR

Let’s start with the quick workouts like those set to a specific song. Each workout is just the length of the song, and the app tracks how well you “hit” each lit-up target. These are great if you’re looking for a quick way to warm up or get a burst of fast cardio to get your heart racing.

No one is coaching you on which punch to use, so if you want to go wild and use crosses the whole time or just jab to your heart’s content, it’s all available to you. A counter picks up how many possible punches there are per song, so if you’re the competitive type, you can aim for a perfect score. It also tracks your streak of unbroken good punches, so, again, if you’re looking for a way to measure how you’re doing, there’s some immediate feedback.

I liked using these as a cardio warmup before a lifting session. I would go in, do two to three songs amounting to about 10 minutes of warmup, and then I felt loose and ready to lift. Note that there are no ancillary exercises available, but you can always bounce on the balls of your feet between punches or do some jumping jacks between songs.

Liteboxer VR and Oculus Will Bring the Boxing Gym to You

The instructor-led workouts really take Liteboxer VR from novelty to an impressive tool. I work out with a personal trainer over Zoom regularly because I know I need a push to do the necessary workouts and not just the ones that I think are fun.

The same principle applies with the workouts on Liteboxer, where it’s not just 30 minutes of straight air boxing. Instead, instructors will walk you through warmups of squats, jumping jacks, and other exercises before you even get to the boxing. Then, you also have the instructor giving you tips and thoughts as you box.

Obviously, the instructors can’t see you directly, but they do provide form tips and consistently remind you how your stance should be, which punches you should be using, and how to follow the various patterns, so you’re getting in those sweet, sweet punch streaks. Typically, there’s a break from punching every few minutes, and you’re walked through some basic bodyweight workouts, like plank variations, squats, or jumping jacks for cardio.

Lightboxer VR

This is where I have a few complaints about the VR experience. These workouts are obviously ported from the regular Liteboxer hardware, and the instructors are using the full Liteboxer pad and platform. They’ll say “step off the platform,” and, in VR, you’re not actually going anywhere.

The other issue I had was when they did a lot of floor work. If you haven’t set your Oculus VR guardian boundary well, you’re going to run into an issue where it thinks you’re outside a clear play area. And even if you don’t have that issue, you’ll run into another one where you can’t easily see the instructor video while, say, you’re planking.

It’s not a big deal, but it’s distracting and can make the VR experience feel a little awkward. I also found that while most of the punches were easy to figure out, uppercuts were difficult. It wasn’t clear exactly where to aim for “up” on the virtual pad, which led to me losing a handful of punch streaks until I finally figured out its rhythm.

Liteboxer VR and Oculus Will Bring the Boxing Gym to You

Honestly, those minor quibbles stand out precisely because most of the experience is surprisingly immersive. There’s haptic feedback that lets you know you hit the target correctly, it feels surprisingly natural in the VR environment, and I had more than one workout where I pulled the headset off and was surprised to realize I was soaked in sweat!

You’re not going to get the exact same workout that you’d get from hitting a physical punching bag or pad with Liteboxer VR, but you’ll still get an intense workout in. If you’re diligent about form, some of the training should translate over into physically hitting a bag as well!

Note that you do need to be comfortable in a VR environment. While this doesn’t set off the kind of motion sickness that some VR experiences can trigger, you do have to be comfortable wearing the headset for an extended time without headache or eye strain. As long as that’s the case, this is a lot of fun. It gets your heart racing, brings variety to your workouts, and lets you believe you’re working out somewhere other than your living room!

Liteboxer VR will cost $18.99/month through the Quest Store. Is it worth it? If you’re looking for a way to get in a solid bodyweight workout and following along with an instructor motivates you, then yes!

Liteboxer VR is coming soon to the Quest Store for the Oculus; it will cost $18.99 per month, and you can sign up to learn more here.

Source: Manufacturer supplied demo

What I Liked: Large library of instructional videos; Lots of options from beginner to advanced; Integrates bodyweight workouts for a full-body experience; It gamifies your progress and makes working out fun

What Needs Improvement: Somewhat awkward to do floor and jumping exercises in VR; There is a bit of a learning curve, especially on uppercuts

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About the Author

Zek
Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

6 Comments on "Liteboxer VR and Oculus Will Bring the Boxing Gym to You"

  1. Definitely a step toward the future … be fun to try but not sure those kind of goggles great for exercise.

  2. I just saw an article elsewhere about how people are injuring themselves and breaking things around their homes using VR. I’m sure there will be people using this who add to these statistics, because you can count on people not following instructions, or simple common sense.

  3. Helpful to exercise during covid.

  4. I love that I can practice like a pro anywhere

  5. This is everything I need to practice boxing at home

  6. This is really neat, it looks fun to try out! I don’t think I’ve seen this game on the VR app, thank you for sharing your thoughts on it

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