Supernatural, the Beat saber-like the virtual reality app for Oculus Quest and Quest 2 that makes you sweat by beating targets with virtual bats, it has added another way to destroy a target: your fists. Boxing is the latest workout featured on Supernatural and, like the original bat-oriented “Flow” workout, it makes you sweat while being fun.
Supernatural flow is something like Beat saber crossed with high intensity interval training (HIIT). Each workout can last from seven minutes to an hour, and there’s an enthusiastic trainer who cheers you by ear and guides you through the session as you dance, dive, crouch, and kill targets with your VR bats.
The problem with Supernatural, at least for me, is that you can get stuck. Training, like HIIT, is hard on the knees and it’s easy to get stuck doing workouts that increase your heart rate but don’t actually build your cardiovascular or muscle health. I started riding my bike and lifting weights to push myself harder and give my knees a rest.
Fundamentally, none of those things were happening in the Supernatural app. Since Supernatural was released in April 2020, two additional workouts have been added: Guided Meditation and Recovery (stretching), but they felt less like a reason to put on headphones and dive in than the original Flow workout. Boxing, launching today, is the third new workout and the first aimed at making the heart beat like the original.
Virtual reality boxing to improve is not new. Thrill of the fight and Knockout league at Oculus Quest they both have enthusiastic fans who use them for cardio. But as same as Beat Saber, those are games that are used to exercise. Boxing in Supernatural is very much a training first. The black and white targets fly towards your face and you must hit the black targets with your left hand and the targets with your right. Targets look different depending on whether you are supposed to hit them, uppercut, or hook them. The glowing bars twist towards your face to force you to lean left or right or do a full bob and knit to avoid them. The coach asks you to stretch for about thirty seconds to a minute before and after basic training. They also tell you when to change the position of your feet to make sure you are exercising your left and right sides equally, and they tell you when to prepare to block a blow with both hands.
The workouts available before launch were limited to just 13 minutes max. After the first one, I told my coworkers that it had made me sweat well, but that I hadn’t done much else due to how short the training was. Then I woke up the next morning and my arms and shoulders called me an idiot. As for heart rate, the average beats per minute in boxing training was about 10 bpm higher than in regular Supernatural training, and my knees didn’t get as mad at me. You could definitely see using this regularly as a warm-up before weight training.
But I don’t know if it would be a good supplement for people who box regularly to stay in shape. When I did a slower paced low intensity workout, I had no trouble maintaining excellent boxing form, but the faster paced workouts totally screwed it up. I went from feeling like I knew how to throw a punch to flailing like I was in a fight with my brother when I was 10 years old. I didn’t miss many targets, but I’m also sure my punches would have landed. a heavy bag like the soft flapping of a butterfly’s wing.
Fortunately, I have no interest in going to a boxing gym; heck, I don’t want to go to a normal gym either. And Supernatural, despite its inability to stop bad boxing habits, gives me the feeling of a gym without all the smells and potential for COVID-19 exposure.
Boxing is available on Supernatural starting today. Supernatural is available for a one-month free trial. After that, you will have to pay $ 18.99 a month or $ 179 a year to have access to new workouts, which are available every day.