One of the unexpected benefits of VR is that it’s actually a good workout. You’re standing, moving, bending, and kneeling on a regular basis. Depending on the game, you might be doing these things rapidly which can really get the heart pumping. Now, you might think that there is an upper limit and you’ll never get a gym-worthy workout. That’s where you’re wrong. It took me almost 6 months of owning the Vive to realize there was untapped athletic potential.

It happened after I bought Space Pirate Trainer. I loaded it up, played one round of standard and then immediately switched to hardcore mode (slow motion is for pussies). I started diving, dodging, jumping into furniture, slamming my body against my desk, scraping my knees on the carpet, but overall getting a surprisingly intense workout. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly dangerous, but damn is it fun! The next day it got me thinking, if I was that sore from playing a VR game, could I get a truly kick ass workout FROM PLAYING VIDEO GAMES?!

A few minutes later I was on Amazon and ordering a pair a wrist weights. The lower body workout was pretty solid, but I wasn’t getting anything for my upper body. A few days later I strapped them on, loaded up Space Pirate Trainer, and got my ass handed to me. First off, the Vive controllers are INCREDIBLY light. I never realized it until I had the wrist weights on to compare them to. Second, while it’s only 5 lbs on each wrist, moving with those weights for 30 minutes left me sore for days! Disclaimer: I’m also a total weakling so that might also factor in… Regardless, I found that hardcore mode was more of a full body workout because of the intense dodging while normal slow motion mode required longer holding of the weights in front of you. So despite my pussy jab above, mix in both game modes for a slightly different workout.

Then came Beat Saber. If I thought Space Pirate Trainer was hard, it was nothing compared to playing songs on expert. I found myself audibly grunting and yelling trying to keep up with the blocks that were whizzing by. I could feel my muscles screaming as I danced around the room like some sort of bad ass digital warrior. I literally had to buy new face masks because I was sweating so much (gross, I know). I also cancelled my gym membership shortly after because I finally found a way to workout that wasn’t boring as fuck. I’ve also toyed around with some other games like Gorn. You don’t get nearly as intense of a workout, but fighting with just your fists feels really rewarding. There’s also some free games like Hot Squat that might give you a decent workout with the weights on. Hell, any game with the weights on will slowly build muscle over time, so take your pick.

Note: I have no affiliation with these games or the Amazon product. I’m just sharing my personal experiences because I love VR and want it to flourish.