With many gyms and recreational areas temporarily closing due to COVID-19, fitness enthusiasts are having to turn towards working out at home. This can be a significant culture shock for those used to going to the gym daily, but it is possible to have great workouts and stay in shape without leaving the house. By using virtual reality and bodyweight exercises, you won’t need a ton of equipment to burn calories during these irregular times. VR home workouts are the perfect solution to this issue.
What’s the Best VR Headset to Purchase?
If you don’t already have a virtual reality headset then you’ll want to pick up the Oculus Quest (check out our fitness guide for the headset for all you need to know). While the headset starts at $399, this incredible piece of hardware includes all you need to get started as it doesn’t require a powerful computer like many other headsets. Instead, the Quest is completely standalone and comes with two Oculus Touch controllers that will track your arm movements while in virtual reality.
Tips for Getting Started With Exercising in VR
Create Enough Space
There is one major challenge in working out from home and that is making sure you have the adequate space needed to move around in. This might require moving furniture around or clearing out some clutter as you won’t be able to get a good sweat in if you’re constantly worried about knocking into objects around the house. Once your living space is properly situated, though, the Oculus Quest will allow you to draw a boundary that will let you know whenever you’re near any objects. A quality safe zone is the first step that you’ll need.
Make Sure You Get a VR Cover
Not many accessories are a must-have for virtual reality workouts, but you will want to buy a cover for your headset. Just like at the gym, you need to make sure that you’re keeping your device sanitary and clean. VR Cover’s foam replacement covers are our go-to recommendation as it only costs $29.99 and will keep sweat from getting on the headset itself. There is also a cloth Oculus Quest VR Cover replacement that is machine-washable if you prefer cloth to foam.
Get Some Great VR Fitness Games to Play
What’s great about virtual reality workouts is that they are so much fun that people forget that they’re exercising. So, make sure you pick up a few titles that you’ll want to keep coming back to. Essential purchases include Beat Saber, which has players swinging around katanas in order to slice oncoming beats to the rhythm of music, and BoxVR, a wonderful cardio fitness game that can target not just your arms but also your legs. These starting points will give you a great total body workout and we have plenty of other recommendations in our VR Fitness Game Reviews section.
Workout Your Legs While Playing Beat Saber
Getting creative with VR games can be a great way to burn extra calories. Try doing squats during your favorite Beat Saber level. It’s harder than it looks and you might have a hard time walking the day after.
Know Your Limit
As previously mentioned, it’s easy to lose track of time when doing VR home workouts. Make sure you monitor how long you’re working out and don’t overdo it if a game is particularly intense like Creed: Rise to Glory. Even though these are games, you are still exercising and not overexerting yourself is key. Make sure to warm up with some stretches and to cool down just like you would at the gym. Keeping a schedule and daily regimen will help you get the best results from your VR home workout.
VR Workouts Should Be One Part of Your Fitness Plan
While virtual reality workouts are an incredible way to stay in shape, they shouldn’t be your entire fitness plan. Make sure to be dieting properly, stretching, and exercising outside when you can. While you might not have access to a full gym, there are also some fantastic bodyweight workouts that will help you stay in shape.
Great Bodyweight Workouts
Since you’ve cleared out a space to do VR home workouts in, you might as well use it for bodyweight workouts as well. No gym equipment is needed to get a great body and all of these workouts can be done with minimal preparation. We won’t recommend doing 2,000 sit-ups a day like Herschel Walker does, but a nice variety of bodyweight workouts will keep you toned.
Look, nobody enjoys squats but nothing will help you feel the burn in your legs more than squatting. It’s a necessary evil but one that will help you get the body that you’re looking for. If you own a Valve Index, HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift headset, we recommend checking out Hot Squat. This free virtual reality title will make squatting a lot more enjoyable, although if you have a Quest you can stick to regular squats without any worries.
Push-ups have been around forever and for good reason: they work. Doing just 20 reps a day will help you lose weight and build muscle. You can also squeeze your abs and glutes for an even better workout. Make these a part of your routine and you won’t regret it.
Step-up Knee Raises
For this one, you’ll need a box to stand on, but that’s it. Simply step onto the box with one leg and raise your alternate knee high in the air. Keep doing this and don’t forget to eventually repeat the reps on the opposite side. This way, you’ll quickly be gaining lower-body strength. It’s a nice alternative to squats for a day and still gives your legs a good workout.
Burpees will use just about every muscle on your body and is a great way to burn calories. It’s a constant cycle of dropping down to do a push-up, getting to your feet, jumping and then doing it all again. While they’re far from easy to do, the payoff is certainly worth it.
If you’re looking to tone your abs then this is the bodyweight exercise for you. Just lie down on your back with your limbs outstretched while still keeping your feet off the ground and then simultaneously raise your torso and legs until your body is in a “V” formation. It’s essentially a more advanced sit-up, which you can alternatively do as well.
If you follow this guide you’ll be able to have great VR home workouts in no time with minimal investment. Should you wish to continue down this path, we have an excellent guide on making an entire home gym centered around virtual reality. A few accessories like a weight vest, door-mounted pull-up bar, and a high parallette bars can really take your fitness routine to the next level without having to leave the house.