The hips, knees, and ankles can generate incredible explosive speed, strength, and power. In fact, without the lower body, our arms’ ability to throw, punch, and swing couldn’t achieve even half of what they’re capable of. Don’t believe me? Do you think Tom Walsh could have done this from a chair?
Please don’t attempt this with your controllers.
VR could benefit from more lower body dominant games, but luckily there are a few gems that will give you an indomitable leg workout. I’ve paired together some of my favorites that will bring you to your knees.
Using good form is especially important when doing squats – and today you’ll be doing hundreds of them – so keep these three crucial guidelines in mind:
1. Don’t let your knees cave. Your knees need to track in line with your toes so actively be pushing your knees out.
2. Stay on your heels. It can be tempting to come up on your toes the further your squat depth, so avoid this by keeping your feet flat on the floor and sitting back as you squat down. This is also known colloquially as the “potty squat” since the potty is behind you, not below you.
3. Keep your back straight. Your spine may be conditioned to hunch over like you’re leaning over your computer, but just because we’re playing computer games do not be fooled! Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and push out with your chest as your descend.
Following these guidelines will not only keep injuries at bay but will give you a much more productive and demanding leg workout.
As a final note, I don’t advise using a weighted vest your first, second, or even tenth time doing this, but for the most elite VR athlete, it’s a masochistic indulgence.
Without further ado, let’s take the plunge!
10 Min (Warm-Up): Space Pirate Trainer
Space Pirate Trainer can be a great warm-up for your legs, and you’ll need them to be good and juiced up for the leg onslaught to come. Maintain a wide stance and focus on using your lower body to dodge the return fire coming from the drones.
15+ Min (Power): BOX VR
BOX VR’s power workouts incorporate a lot of lower body movement: side lunges, squats, and jumps. This is primarily a punching game, so what will make this phase even more effective is if you’re incorporating your legs and hips into all your punches, especially the uppercuts and hooks, but also the straight jabs. You should be pushing off with your feet for every punch and generating power all the way from the floor. If you miss an orb (or several), do not be deterred, just keep going. Do Power Workouts 1, 2 and 4. If you’re a real maniac, don’t “rest” when given the opportunity, instead, jog in place or do high knees until the colored orbs start up again.
20 Min (Stamina): Holopoint
Holopoint was my very first VR “leg workout” game and was a mainstay of my 50 Day Challenge. It still remains the best leg game for fun gameplay and challenging physical stamina. The trick is to never side-step or lean out of the path of projectiles but to squat every damn time. This phase will use Time Trials, three of them. During the setup, select 2 cubes, 0 ninjas, and a level 4 difficulty. After the first trial, take a 1-minute rest. After trials 2 and 3, rest 2 minutes. Keep trying to beat your score! You’re a leg ninja!
15 Min (Endurance): Hot Squat
At this point, your legs are already smoked, but we’re going to push through for another 15 minutes of lactic acid burning fun. If you’ve played this before, you know things start out slow before precipitously ramping the squats up to 11, and then just keeps you there, squatting into a leg-apocalyptic eternity. See if you can’t go the whole duration without bringing down the house. I don’t think you can, but the choice is yours: will this final leg of your workout be a man breaker or a man maker.
If you weren’t cheating on your squats, your legs should feel like two sandbags, and you’re laying on the floor. Get up. Take a 5-10 minute walk while you reflect on your life choices. After that, stretch out your quads and hammies. Then take an ice bath.
Was this the best leg workout you’ve ever had? Let us know in the comments below!