Classes at home have been fashionable for most of the two years since the pandemic began. Although the trend of buying expensive exercise equipment has slowed, as illustrated by Peloton’s recent struggle, I think for the most part home fitness will remain.
Then it comes down to a few factors: the types of workouts that interest you, the space available and how much you are willing to spend. This review covers a specific situation for those who want an online coach-led workout without spending $ 1,000 or more on equipment – and not figuring out where to place it.
How would you like to try boxing … in virtual reality? The VR lithoboxer, which will be released soon, is more interesting than I expected.
The evolution of the lightboxer
The image above is NOT Liteboxer VR. These are the physical versions of Liteboxer that are already on the market, separate (starting at $ 1,695) and another that attaches to the wall (from $ 1495). For the past couple of years, he has often been referred to as the “Peloton of Boxing”.
Both are equipped with a so-called Liteboxer shield and its LED pads for power detection. You punch these pads to the beat of the music, hitting certain targets when they ignite. Think of it as a game that can make a routine workout more exciting and fun.
You can follow along with the simulator on your smartphone or install the tablet on the dock included with the Liteboxer. Yes, there is a monthly fee for access to features, but more on that soon.
Now that you’ve got to know how existing Liteboxer installations work, let’s move on to the company’s latest product, Liteboxer VR. By swapping large hardware for the VR Oculus (now Meta) Quest 2 headset, you fall into a virtual ring where you will store the digital version of the Liteboxer shield.
While Liteboxer previously felt in the game, it really elevates it to that status. Here are some of the features and highlights of Liteboxer VR:
- Built-in exercise machines with new workouts daily
- Three modes (so far): coaching sessions, shock tracks and sparring sessions
- Several levels of difficulty to choose from
- Ability to compete in problems with others
- Tracks personal statistics and leaderboards
- A huge music library covering several genres
- Launches March 3 for $ 18.99 a month. (after a 7-day free trial)
To use Liteboxer VR, you will definitely need it
Oculus VR Meta Quest 2 headsetwhich costs $ 299 for a 128GB model and $ 399 for one double storage. If you already have one, then hopefully you have a newly made version that comes with a silicone face insert. Soon I will explain why.
Enter the (virtual) ring
Although I’ve never tried a stand-alone or wall-mounted Liteboxer, I have some real boxing experience that I’ve taken and stopped for years. I beat the bags and practiced beating the moving gloves worn by the instructor. I’ve never actually been shadowboxed.
However, the whole reason I became interested in buying a VR headset in the first place was, I hope, to find a new motivation to work with games like Beat Saber. It so happened that my family bought me my first VR headset recently, around the time a Liteboxer VR preview was available for testing.
The app’s user interface is pretty simple, and the first thing I wanted to try was the option for Punch Tracks. Just pick a song from a fairly robust library of difficulty (I chose the middle one to start) and bounce back. “Livin’ on a Prayer ”by Bon Jovi seemed like a great place to start.
This is the game I tried above. Two things should be noted: you can give up the controllers and just use the hand tracking feature of the headset, which I did later. These are weighted gloves that I wear (1 pound each) to add a little resistance. This is the pair I orderedwhich is a little on the cozy side.
note: Heavy gloves are normal, but I wouldn’t recommend using wrist weights for any VR activity after seeing too many reports of joint and tendon damage.
Coming back to Liteboxer VR, I was really impressed to see how extensive its music library is with about 80 songs to choose from. There are a wide range of artists, from Blink-182 to Billy Isle, covering decades of rock, pop, hip-hop and more.
More traditional workouts
Punching random songs is fun, but it feels like a game. Actual training is a different story.
Running the Trainer Class option causes a seemingly endless number of pre-recorded workouts with different coaches, durations and genre playlists. The nice thing is that, as in a real class, the coach makes you start with warm-ups like squats. You will also get an overview of the beat combinations for a specific song.
Unlike a real boxing class, you won’t learn much when it comes to proper form. And since it’s still not a live activity, you can’t ask for sure. So do your best to mimic the movements of a coach.
Once your workout starts, just follow the beat by pressing the pad with a rhythm that lights up. Tracking hands in the headset worked well and captured most of the hits – although I had problems with uppercuts when I was ordered to hit the ground at the bottom of the shield. Sometimes hits are recorded. Other times they were misses.
Despite this, the classes were interesting and the coaches were excellent. I really hope that in the future Liteboxer will add some functionality to the live class, even if it is open to a large number of users simultaneously without one-on-one instructions.
The downside of VR workouts
When a person does sports, he tends to sweat, right? And now imagine that you are performing a relatively intense workout with a bulky piece of technique tied to your face. I’m not saying a VR headset will make you sweat much more than without it, but it makes the problem harder to solve.
I mentioned earlier that you have a silicone case for the foam front interface. This was part of last year’s recall of users who reported skin irritation. You can get one out company or buy a third party option like this one.
This, at least, doesn’t allow sweat to ruin your expensive suit, but won’t stop it from making its way down your forehead and eyes. Another immediate Amazon purchase I made: cheap bandage pack. Believe me, you will be happy.
Is Liteboxer VR worth it?
I don’t have much experience in the world of virtual reality, and until I get used to it, I admit that it doesn’t take much for me to “wow”. But even if I had a VR headset a year or two before trying Liteboxer VR, I still think I would have been as impressed as I was.
- An exciting home workout that costs just $ 299 for a VR headset and $ 18.99 a month.
- It’s nice not to find a special place for more bulky things; great for small spaces.
- Great content, from user interface and song selection to coaches.
- It’s nice not to use Quest controllers.
- Shadowboxing lacks the resistance you get from hitting a real bag.
- Not always some types of blows were registered as hits.
- Sweating in a VR headset is not fun.
Liteboxer VR alone is not enough reason to go out and buy a VR headset – especially if you are not interested in virtual reality. On the other hand, if you’ve been thinking about getting into VR or already have Quest 2, then definitely try Liteboxer VR when it comes out on March 3rd. It also comes with a free trial for 7 days.
Inconvenience associated with sweaty, burning eyes, a more serious problem to consider when wearing a VR headset for any reason – is that you have plenty of room. There are many stories of cracked TVs and broken fixtures. The insurance firm in the UK even recorded an increase in claims last year of around 30% from damage to VR headsets.
This is just property damage. Imagine you are hitting VR, but connecting with a very real steel pipe. Others, playing various VR games, tripped over furniture and landed awkwardly. Some have broken fingers. I even saw a recent report of a broken kneecap.
I’m not trying to scare anyone away from VR, but working in a clean place is absolutely necessary.
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Liteboxer VR for Meta Quest 2
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