For some, exercise comes naturally. You crave the exhaustion and the ensuing endorphin rush of your body saying, “Hey, nice job today,” like a supportive coach in a ’90s sports film.
The rest of us need a bit more coaxing. Luckily, VR exists. And while our first port of call for VR fitness is dedicated fitness apps like Supernatural and FitXR, you can get a surprising amount of exercise “by accident” with a bunch of the games below. If you’ve ever thought you’d be better at aerobics if there were swords involved or wished the rowing machine might plunge you into a stealthy spec ops mission, then this list is for you.
And if you’re playing on Quest or Quest 2, our system-level fitness tracker Oculus Move lets you set daily fitness goals and track the calories you’re burning across all VR apps—from Pistol Whip to Phantom: Covert Ops to Supernatural and more. Find Oculus Move in your Library. Once you've set it up, you can even keep an eye on your stats in real-time by enabling an in-game overlay. How much is 200 calories worth of Beat Saber? Now you can find out!
Note: This post is periodically updated to keep the list of games current and relevant. Something you think we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
While plenty of people develop an ad hoc VR fitness regimen, Supernatural offers an alternative: Guided workouts led by real fitness trainers, hosted in beautiful locations around the world (or off-world). Supernatural’s “Flow” workouts mix sweeping arm movements with plenty of squats and lunges for intense full-body workouts that will leave you equal parts exhausted and satisfied. Or you can opt for one of the new Boxing workouts, learning to bob, weave, and throw a right hook on Mars or the Great Wall of China. There are hundreds of workouts, expertly rhythm-mapped to your favorite music—whether that’s today’s hits, ‘80s hair metal, hip-hop, EDM, even Tchaikovsky—with new workouts added every day, and even a library of stretching and meditation sessions to cool down. Check out Supernatural with the free trial, after which you can sign up for less than $15 a month (when you sign up annually).
FitXR is an immersive virtual fitness club, merging VR with total body workouts designed by top fitness experts. Dedicated to making fitness more fun and accessible for everyone, FitXR offers workout classes within three distinct studios: Box, Dance and HIIT. Taking a cue from group fitness classes, FitXR is inspired by the power that comes from exercising together and brings this to life via a Multiplayer feature which allows up to seven members to workout together, live. FitXR also provides constantly refreshed content with a new class added each day, new coaches, fresh music and updated workout environments. FitXR is available for $9.99 a month or $83.99 for an annual membership.
There are more than four million miles of road in the United States of America—and now you can bike every single one of them without leaving your house. VZfit, the latest app from veteran VR fitness company VirZOOM, pairs exercise with Google Street View so you can exercise all around the world. The best part is VZfit now supports up to five players per ride, so grab your friends and go explore! Ride through the streets of Tokyo, follow the Tour de France’s route through the Pyrenees, or explore the Grand Canyon without the heat. VZfit works with your existing exercise equipment, or you can opt for a full-body “exerboard” workout created by a professional trainer. Get started with a seven-day free trial, after which you can subscribe and keep riding for $9.99 USD/month.
Can you sweat in Antarctica? Answer this burning question and more with HOLOFIT. Available on the Quest Platform, HOLOFIT pairs with any rowing machine (either via Bluetooth or through headset-tracking) and any bicycle or elliptical with an additional cadence sensor. If you don't have any home exercise equipment, HOLOFIT Freestyle lets you simulate (via bodyweight exercises) running, rowing, skiing, and cycling through a variety of unique VR worlds. Paddle through Antarctica, bike through San Francisco, or even fulfill those childhood dreams and exercise in outer space. You can explore at your own pace, or go for a guided HIIT workout if you want to crank up the intensity. Get started with a seven-day free trial, after which a subscription is $12 USD/month or $130 USD/year.
Beat Saber is one of the most popular VR games. Armed with a pair of laser sabers, your goal is to slash through incoming blocks to the beat of the music, and avoid walls either by ducking under them or moving to the side. Simple enough, but even at low difficulty levels it’s supremely satisfying slicing and dicing through the fray. Developer Beat Games also continues to expand on Beat Saber with new music packs, adding high-energy tracks from Lady Gaga, Skrillex, Billie Eilish, Imagine Dragons, and Linkin Park—and with even more to come in 2022.
Starring in an action movie is hard work. In Pistol Whip, it’s one against many as you try to fight off one assassin after another. The choreography is up to you though, as you dodge, duck, and weave through oncoming bullets and fire off a few of your own in return. Extra points are awarded for syncing your shots to the soundtrack, which gives Pistol Whip the feel of a deadly ballet. Your heartbeat will be up in no time. And the Pistol Whip: 2089 and Smoke & Thunder expansions are even more intense, with pulsing soundtracks featuring acclaimed artists like Magic Sword and Processor.
In Ragnarock, you and your crew row a Viking longship to Valhalla—or rather, your crew rows and you keep time on a set of drums. Don’t think you’re getting off easy though. Thrash along to metal tracks by Alestorm, Gloryhammer, Wind Rose, and more. You’re air drumming, but clever use of haptics makes Ragnarock feel about as real, as entertaining, and as exhausting as a proper drum kit. Sail through mythic landscapes, race for glory with your friends, and play until your arms are sore.
Synth Riders bills itself as a “dance-action VR rhythm game.” That’s a lot of words, but dance is the key. Synth Riders is driven by choreography, not complexity. While you’re free to compete for high scores, losing yourself in the music and movement is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Bash targets with your hands, ride the neon “rails,” and let it all wash over you. Multiplayer support lets you ride along with friends, and a diverse soundtrack rounds out the Synth Riders experience, with 56 free songs, four DLC packs, and custom song support on both Rift and Quest.
Audio Trip loves to mix it up. You’re catching gems. You’re smashing drums. You’re swatting targets in a specific direction. You’re moving your hands along “ribbons.” You’re dodging big red barriers. It’s a lot to keep track of, but it’ll also get your heart rate up in no time. Audio Trip prides itself on its choreography. Even the “Beginner” difficulty nails that dancing-in-the-club feeling—and with tracks from Skrillex, Lady Gaga, Tiësto, deadmau5, and more, you might as well be dancing in the club. Or you can opt for Cardio mode, with flows designed for steady state cardio and exercise. Want to dial up (or dial back) the intensity? Edit levels in-headset until you’ve created the perfect routine. Put together a workout playlist of your favorite songs and get ready to move (a lot).
You know how cartoon characters will get scared and run straight through walls, leaving a perfect outline of their body behind? OhShape is basically that moment, over and over again. Walls come barreling towards you, and your goal is to match the person-shaped cutout and squeak through unharmed. OhShape also asks you to collect coins and either punch or avoid certain walls, but it’s the pose recreation that’s made it a hit among players. It’s an intuitive (and funny) concept, but allows for surprisingly complex dance routines. And with a soundtrack that spans everything from K-pop to rock and synthwave, there’s a little something for everyone—and custom song support as well.
Even the least coordinated person is bound to pick up a few moves from Dance Central. It’s that beginner-friendly and intuitive. The Harmonix series has proved a popular fitness outlet for years on consoles and mobile devices, but Dance Central’s first foray into VR adds a whole new layer. Hit the club scene and shake it with The Chainsmokers, groove along to Dua Lipa, and vibe with Kendrick Lamar. The club’s patrons will teach you the moves. All you need to do is follow along and mirror their actions. And once you’ve got your dance routine down? Head into the Lounge! Dance Central is even better with friends, letting you customize your looks and dance the night away together.
Synthwave is key to Until You Fall’s aesthetic as well. It’s like an album cover come to life, with wraithlike knights and fearsome crystalline beasts fighting you for control of this neon-drenched world. Pick up your sword and start swinging—until you can’t anymore. Then start again. Until You Fall is an addictive run-based game, pitting you against more and more dangerous foes until you die, and then returning you to the battle stronger than before. And given the amount of work going into your back and shoulder muscles, you may soon find you’re stronger in real life too.
Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream—and be prepared for sore shoulders in the morning. In Phantom: Covert Ops, you’re a special forces operative traversing hostile territory in a military kayak. Pick off enemies, plant bombs, and then slip away before you’re spotted, like a ghost in the night. Tense stealth-action and a flare for the cinematic make Phantom: Covert Ops an easy recommendation regardless, but it’s a surprisingly thorough workout as well, thanks to all that paddling. And hey, who doesn’t like to exercise while sitting down?
Imagine The Divine Comedy, only Dante took up a bow to save Heaven and Hell. In Death: Unchained pits you against the souls of the forsaken, whether knights or mages or creatures too horrid to describe. Draw back your bow and fire, again and again. The further you go, the tougher the challenge—until you die and start back at the beginning. In Death: Unchained rewards a good eye and a fast arm, as you sink arrows into opponents like pincushions. And while your journey starts out easy enough, before long you’re ducking behind cover, firing dozens of arrows every minute, and blinking away sweat. Chances are you won’t even notice the soreness in your triceps, you’ll be so focused.
Few games can get your heart pumping like Space Pirate Trainer. An arcade-shooter that’s meant to be played and replayed, Space Pirate Trainer revels in stacking the odds against you. Within minutes you’re squatting and kneeling and pulling maneuvers straight out of The Matrix, trying to elegantly (or not-so-elegantly) fit your body through near-impenetrable walls of incoming laser fire. Your goal is to survive as long as possible against the endless robot tide, taking out as many enemies as you can before going down in a blaze of glory. An early hit with people using VR for fitness, Space Pirate Trainer is every bit as exhausting and exhilarating now as it was upon release.
There are five guns pointed at you. You have a glass bottle in each hand. What do you do? In SUPERHOT VR, time only moves when you do, which gives you plenty of time to decide. Bullets, thrown bottles, punches, they all hang in the air waiting for you to break the stillness. Hopefully you can hold a pose, because SUPERHOT VR is a great go-at-your-own-pace workout, with an economy of movement that’s almost reminiscent of yoga or Tai Chi at times. Squat under an incoming bullet, and then take a minute to think about your next move while your thighs start to burn.
Cue the Survivor song and get ready for a training montage. The Thrill of the Fight brings the boxing gym to your home, pitting you against ever-tougher opponents on your journey to the top. Keep your gloves high to block incoming blows, then retaliate with a flurry of punches. Don’t let them catch you flat-footed. And make sure you use proper form! The Thrill of the Fight is a lovingly crafted boxing simulation that’s every bit as exhausting as going ten rounds in a proper ring, but without the next-day bruises. There are also a variety of speed bags and punching bags, if you just want to take a few days to train in peace.
Picture it: You’re hanging from your fingertips, high in the Alps. You’re tired. You’re sweaty. You pause, take the headset off, and drink some water. Scaling cliff faces unaided is probably off the table for most of us, but The Climb 2 (like its predecessor) can make anyone feel like an expert rock climber. And while it probably won’t prepare you to free solo El Capitan in real life, The Climb 2 offers a surprisingly tough low-impact workout. It takes a lot of endurance to keep your arms moving through even a virtual rock climb, especially if you’re hoping to post impressive times to the leaderboards. Don’t worry about the competition the first time out though. The view from the top is its own (spectacular) reward.
It’s impossible to stand still in Holopoint. An arcade-style archery game, survival is equal parts spatial awareness and the ability to dodge at the right time. Nock arrows, duck and weave, and hope you can channel Robin Hood as you try to clear wave after wave of enemies. Surrounded on all sides, Holopoint is an intense and active experience even in its early stages, and only gets harder as you progress. Skill, dedication, and a clear mind are mandatory here—but it’s all worth it when you reach the next stage, blow past your old high score, and realize you’ve become a better athlete than you were before.
Whether it’s January or July, the powder is always fresh with Carve Snowboarding. No long drive into the mountains, no chairlift, no frozen fingers. It’s just you, your board, and miles of untouched snow. Carve Snowboarding was developed by Chuhai Labs and Giles Goddard, creator of the Nintendo 64 classic 1080 Snowboarding. Simulation-level snow physics pair with an over-the-top arcade trick system, a perfect blend of realism and entertainment. And while it might not seem like the most strenuous workout at first, standing in proper snowboarding form (meaning knees bent) for a few runs down the mountain will put some heat into your thighs.
How much can you do with just a racket and a ball? If Racket: Nx is any indication, the answer is “Quite a lot.” Racket: Nx takes place inside a giant dome. Your goal is to whack the ball into glowing targets as they appear. Hit the ball hard enough and it will roll across the inside of the dome and blow through additional targets. It’s simple but thrilling, a futuristic take on racquetball that will have you vying for high scores in the campaign or losing track of time in the “Endless” mode. And while the soundtrack is great, you’re welcome to pump in your own tunes if you have a custom workout playlist.
Training your mind is just as important as training your body. That’s the principle behind REAKT Performance Trainer, which is based on technology used by professional athletes. Work on your reaction time, decision making, and hand-eye coordination in REAKT’s virtual training gym. You can even focus on training your non-dominant hand, if you’re playing catch-up. REAKT can help you become a better goalie or help you win the company kickball game—but these skills apply outside of athletic competitions as well, and can help you stay present and focused in your day-to-day life.
Practice makes perfect—and Player 22 by Rezzil makes practice fun, too. Developed with the help of world-renowned athletes, Player 22 by Rezzil can help improve both your overall fitness levels and your reaction times in a variety of sports. Improve your soccer heading technique, throw tighter passes, learn to better read the basketball court, and more as you explore Player 22’s ever-growing collection of training games. It’s easier than ever to train like a professional, even if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey.
Got a favorite VR exercise routine of your own? Leave a comment below and let us know!