Liteboxer VR is a metaverse paradise for image-conscious gym rats — the workout beasts who performatively blast DMX’s “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem'' to appear “big and bad” while clobbering a punching bag in Planet Fitness. But there are some days they just want to be themselves and cathartically unleash their most ferocious emotions without being on the receiving end of judgy eyes.
For example, maybe they’re suffering from a breakup and want to box their heart out while bawling to Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next.” Perhaps they’ve got a heated argument on their mind, so they want to release all that animosity into frenetic jabs and uppercuts — sans landing on someone’s TikTok page for looking like a flailing psycho.
Liteboxer VR lets you unleash your inner ferocious Floyd Mayweather in the comfort of your own home, but your cheeks won’t grow hot with embarrassment while working out to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” You’ll have access to an exhaustive catalog of music, from Hoobastank and Drake to Pat Banatar and The Beach Boys.
All songs are synced to a boxing routine, allowing you to spar to the beat with a virtual hexagonal panel that sports six punchable LED pads. As mentioned, Liteboxer is an excellent outlet for music-loving boxing enthusiasts who want the freedom to be themselves, but of course, no app is perfect. As someone who is notorious for losing interest quickly, I question whether Liteboxer can keep me entertained enough to see any meaningful results.
Liteboxer VR pricing and availability
Liteboxer VR, now in the Oculus Store, requires users to sign up for an $18.99 per month subscription. The app comes with over 500 unique workouts that are tailor-made for virtual reality, including more than 400 trainer-led, music-filled classes with world-class coaches that hype you up throughout full-body workouts and sparring sessions.
If you want to nix the virtual coaches, you can duke it out to a wide-ranging catalog of chart-topping music that you likely already have in your Spotify playlist. There’s also a Freestyle option that lets you punch to the beat of your own drum. On top of that, the Liteboxer app is updated regularly, which is why I prefer subscription-based workout apps. Sure, non-subscription, one-time purchase workout apps are cheaper, but they’re devoid of frequent updates (e.g. new workouts), so you’ll likely lose interest quickly.
As of this writing, Liteboxer VR is only available to residents of the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. The boxing app is compatible with Meta Quest 2 (formerly called Oculus Quest 2).
Liteboxer VR: How does sparring in the metaverse work?
Remember that punchable virtual hexagonal panel I told you about? Well, not only is it present in Liteboxer’s simulated realm, but a similar apparatus exists in the real world. Touted as the “Peleton of boxing,” it’s called the Liteshield and costs a whopping $1,500. Throwing in a floor stand with the Liteshield sets you back $1,700. Liteshield owners can also purchase a non-mandatory $30 monthly membership for access to premium content. (By the way, if you already own a Liteshield in real life, and you’re a paying member, Liteboxer VR is free.)
The Liteshield, a brainchild of Liteboxer cofounder Todd Dagres who grew fatigued with the obsolete punching bag, works in harmony with a companion app. After pairing the app to the Liteshield, users have access to a cornucopia of guided workouts with chart-topping songs.
These guided workouts, synced with the Liteshield, impel users to spar to the music’s beat by using lights. The concept is simple: punch the pad that lights up.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $2,000 to blow on a clunky piece of space-consuming workout equipment that will earn me contemptuous side eyes and death glares from my roommates. As such, I will gladly take the virtual Lifeshield inside the newly launched Liteboxer VR app over the real-life variant. I can leave it inside the metaverse once I’ve completed my workout — and I can revisit it whenever I decide to fire up my Meta Quest 2 headset again.
Liteboxer VR users have two main options: punch to your heart’s desire to a popular song or workout alongside world-class trainers (which also includes music). Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or skilled boxer, there are difficulty levels tailor-made for you (i.e. easy, medium and hard).
To excel in these music-filled workouts, you must punch the right pad at the right time. How do you do this? If you look closely at the virtual LED pads, you’ll notice a “runway” between them. An LED orb will roll through it like a bowling ball in an alley, and once it hits the center, that’s your cue to punch or employ an uppercut.
The mechanics are similar to Dance, Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero in that you’re waiting for a traversing virtual artifact to hit a target (e.g. an arrow) before nailing your move. It requires quick reflexes, agility and focus.
Liteboxer VR workouts
When Liteboxer VR launches, you’ll find a home menu that informs you about the newest songs in the app’s portfolio as well as the latest workout sessions. As mentioned, new workouts are added regularly. After tapping on the workout button, a new menu will appear with two options: trainer classes and sparring sessions. This is where you’ll find your coach-led boxing workouts.
At first glance, it’s difficult to differentiate between trainer classes and sparring sessions; they both feature real-life trainers. However, after experimenting with both, it’s clear to me that trainer classes offer more of a full-body workout experience. Not only are you employing jabs, uppercuts and hooks, but you’re doing standing knee raises, squats and a slew of other sweat-inducing exercises.
The sparring sessions mostly focus on boxing techniques and exercises, which my lazy butt prefers. In both categories (training classes and sparring sessions), there are scads of coach-led workouts to choose from. You’d be better off using the filter to refine your search via your favorite coach, preferred music genre, or how long you’d like to work out. There are short-and-sweet 10-minute workouts as well as challenging 30-minute sessions.
After two days of experimenting with the trainer classes and sparring sessions, I’ve noticed that I was engaging parts of my body I wasn’t expecting. Of course, I figured Liteboxer would mostly target my arms and my shoulder blades (and it did), but as I twisted my body to land punches on the virtual pads, I could feel my core getting a much-needed workout, too.
If you’re concerned about whether Liteboxer VR will tackle your stubborn stomach fat and whittle down your flabby legs, don’t worry, this workout app targets many different parts of your anatomy — not just your upper body.
Liteboxer VR and its generous catalog of chart-topping music
I found out about Liteboxer through my colleague TJ Fink, who also enjoys VR workouts, and my first thought was, “Seriously? Another boxing workout app? How many of these are we going to get? How is this different from other VR apps of its ilk, including Supernatural and FitXR?”
Well, Liteboxer shut me up; it certainly stands out from the crowd. Its greatest selling point lies in its incredible catalog of chart-topping music. Does Supernatural have music? Yes, but you don’t have the option to choose the song you want to workout to — you’re forced to endure a set tracklist. For example, if you want to workout to Kanye West’s “Heartless,” and it’s the last song in the music set, you’ll have to endure a slew of songs you don’t want to listen to before you get to the tune you want.
FitXR has music, too, but they’re not chart toppers. Instead, the app sources its songs from independent, unknown artists. Surprisingly, FitXR’s music isn’t bad — it’s just unfamiliar. However, Liteboxer VR does what Supernatural and FitXR doesn’t: you have freedom to workout to any chart-topping song you like.
Genres include alternative, country, dance/electronic, hip hop, instrumental, reggaeton, motown/oldies, pop, R&B and rock.
Here’s a fraction of the songs you’ll find inside Liteboxer VR (there are more than 120 tunes):
- OneRepublic - All the Right Moves
- The Killers - Mr. Brightside
- Billie Eilish - bad guy
- Evanescence - Bring Me to Life
- Imagine Dragons - Believer
- Nicki Minaj - Chun-Li
- J Cole - Crooked Smile
- Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
- 3 Doors Down - Kryptonite
- Kanye West - Flashing Lights
- Outkast - Hey Ya!
- Salt-N-Peppa - Push It
- Justin Bieber - Peaches
These tracks can be accessed via the Quickplay button on the home menu. This will lead you to the catalog of chart-topping music I’ve been raving about. After clicking on a song, you’ll be launched into a sparring routine that rhythmically follows the music’s beat. There’s also a Freestyle option that lets you punch with your own improvisation — sans lights that guide you on where your jabs should land.
Liteboxer VR coaches
One of Liteboxer’s female coaches, Mary Onyango, looked familiar. I couldn’t put my finger on where I’d seen her before, and then it hit me — she’s also a FitXR coach.
Naturally, I gravitated towards Onyango in Liteboxer; I loved seeing a familiar face. There’s plenty of other coaches to choose from, though — perhaps too many. There are approximately 20 trainers in the app that guide you through boxing-focused workouts of different music genres, lengths and difficulty levels.
I only spent two days with Liteboxer, so I don’t have a good grasp on which trainer I like the best, but so far, I’ve observed that each coach has their own spunk and personality in the pre-recorded videos that appear alongside the Liteshield. You can always use the filter to ensure that your workouts only include your favorite trainers.
Personally, as much as I appreciate the coaches’ encouragement and tips, I prefer self-guided workouts sans the trainers. It was difficult to watch trainer-led videos, positioned to the left of the Liteshield, while simultaneously focusing on my punches and uppercuts. Plus, all that chit-chat can be distracting, which is why I prefer Quickplay — I can spar to music without any coaches.
Liteboxer VR: How it can improve
One question I keep asking myself about Liteboxer VR is, “Can it keep me interested?” Don’t get me wrong — Liteboxer VR isn’t a boring app. Far from it! It’s entertaining — for now. As I write this review, I’m still wallowing in excitement over which song I’ll work out to next (I’m thinking “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd). However, as someone who frequently needs new stimuli, I’m worried about the “shiny new object” phase wearing off.
Liteboxer VR may need to roll out new VR environments regularly so that I don’t develop ennui over the same ol’ visuals. Liteboxer should also consider introducing new “punching bag” objects (e.g. human-like dummies) into its virtual world; I fear the Liteshield won’t hold my interest for long. So far, Liteboxer is keeping me hooked by releasing new workouts and songs, but FitXR and Supernatural have done the same — and I’ve already grown bored of them.
I understand this fickleness is more of a “me” problem, though. Perhaps you, dear reader, may be more tenacious than I, and as a result, don’t need frequent stimulus changes to keep you committed to the app.
I’d also love to be able to fast forward through trainer-led workouts. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like doing the warmup and I want to dive right into the meat and potatoes of the workout.
Liteboxer VR transports you to the metaverse to get a well-rounded workout experience you’ll never find in a real-world gym. The boxing sessions are gamified, so you can challenge yourself to do better than your last workout. For example, after each workout, you’ll get a rundown of your score, including how many hits you nailed. My competitive side can’t help but say, “Come on, Kim, you can do better than that!” There’s also a leaderboard that compares your score to other Liteboxer members.
I also dig that it tells you how many calories you potentially lost, which is useful for those who want to offset the cheesy pizza slices — and other come-hither, seductive junk foods — that tempted you into taking too many bites.
Most importantly, I’m absolutely enamored with Liteboxer’s vast collection of chart-topping songs; it significantly helped boost its score in this review. I don’t know any VR workout apps that have such a wide-ranging music catalog and gives users the freedom to workout to any track sans limitations.
I do have a few gripes, though. I wish trainer-led workout videos had fast forward, rewind and pause options. Plus, I’m not sure whether Liteboxer VR can keep my attention — even with its regular updates. However, the app is still in its infancy stage, so who knows? Maybe the team will add new, exciting features to keep members hooked.