A standard chest press is as boring as it is effective. You’re usually just staring at a wall, a mirror, the floor, or anywhere to avoid awkward eye contact with other sweaty gym goers. It’s the polar opposite of an immersive, virtual reality experience, really.
Leveraging video games as exercise isn’t anything new. Dance Dance Revolution made waves in the 90s, and the Nintendo Wii introduced Wii Sports and other pro-fit games.
Now, an Idaho-based startup called Black Box VR is taking that idea to the next level with a combination of virtual reality and resistance training.
Black Box VR transforms those dull chest presses into your best way to defeat enemies in a virtual arena. The arm extension movement of the exercise, engaging your chest and shoulder muscles, is how you launch projectiles to prevent the meteor-like objects from taking you out in the game world.
“It’s a completely different experience. When you’re at the gym, you’re focused on time. You’re focused on getting through it. It’s boring,” Ryan Deluca, the company’s CEO and co-founder, told CTV News Channel.
“Inside e-sports and video games, you want to continue to play, and you are focused on what you are doing.”
He’s not wrong – the World Health Organization is now recognizing ‘gaming disorder’ as a condition in its latest International Classification of Diseases. No similar plans have been announced regarding weightlifting.
“You come out of it and you realize that you worked harder than you ever would have at the gym,” Deluca said of the workout experience.
The company’s website suggests Black Box VR will continue adding more game-style motivators to have users focus on the play, rather than the pain – think scores, leveling up, and battling mythical creatures.
“Muscle groups are represented by elements. Exercises that work the legs, for example, are associated with water, and will have corresponding effects in the game,” the description reads. “An athlete’s overall rank is represented by the lowest of these elements. This incentivizes players to develop well-rounded, functional physiques.”
The revolutionary VR is already turning heads; Black Box VR was named a CES 2018 Innovation Awards Honoree at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
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