Black Box Opens First VR Gym In San Francisco

Getting shredded with the help of VR.

Black Box, founded by Ryan DeLuca & Preston Lewis in 2016, will open the doors to its first VR gym this April in San Francisco with plans for expansion in the near future. By using VR, Black Box is able to motivate, track, and distract gym goers to encourage more effective, motivated workouts than compared to a traditional gym. 

“We wanted this to be a real workout — not Wii Fit — that would also track everything you’re doing and react in real-time to a game environment,” Lewis said to SFGate.

Using their own proprietary Dynamic Resistance Machine technology and hands-free controllers, Black Box is able to track over 10,000 movement data points on an individual to ensure appropriate form and track progress in order to readjust the experience.

“The experience’s intensity is completely built around your ability,” Black Box boasts. “Machine learning modules intelligently take you from where you are now to where you want to be.”

Image Credit: Black Box VR

The gym experience is designed around a game that tricks you into exercising and pushing your physical limitations. As the hero of your fitness-inspired adventure, you’ll need to exercises in order to employ your weapons; the more challenging the exercise and the more reps you complete, the more damage you’ll inflict.

As you play, you also unlock new arenas, trophies, and energy to fight off your opponent, all while their algorithm tracks your progress and adjusts your resistance levels and rep ranges automatically.

“With VR and behavioral psychology, we can pull multiple levers at once that get you itching to come back to the gym,” Lewis said. “[since you’re] thinking about the next epic arena or character you’ll unlock.”

The workout uses traditional exercises — chest presses, overhead presses, rows, lat pulldowns, squats, and deadlifts — in complement with high-intensity interval cardio, making a 30 minute work-out doable from home rather than an expensive gym; but Black Box believes the tech will turn working-out from a chore to an addictive video game.

“People want abs in two weeks, and at the end of that period, they look in the mirror, tired and sore, and ask, ‘Where are my abs?'” Lewis said. “They want the magic pill.”

Black Box VR (1390 Market St., San Francisco) opens mid-April. You can sign up for a membership here.

About the Scout

Allison Hollender

Allison is a Bay Area journalist reporting for VRScout. Follow her attempts at jokes @alleyrenee16.

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