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BODYCOMBAT VR: How it Became the #1 VR Fitness App

BODYCOMBAT VR was named the Best Quest App in 2022, Best VR Fitness App in 2022, and “Most downloaded VR Fitness App”-  and is still gaining ground in the VR Fitness market. 
But with almost 18 months under its belt and with seemingly few updates and big releases, does it still live up to the hype?

Read on as I met with the creators of BODYCOMBAT VR to check in on the past, current and future.

VR Martial Arts-inspired app based on the global hit Les Mills BODYCOMBAT, featuring a scientific approach to a full-body workout and experienced instructors.
Platforms: Meta Quest, Pico, PlayStation VR, and HTC Viveport.
Release date: February 22, 2022
Studio: Odders Lab
Price: USD 29.99 (may vary depending on platform)

In this Blog:

👉What is Les Mills BODYCOMBAT?
👉Interview with BODYCOMBAT Program directors Dan and Rachel: Why bring
👉Bodycombat to VR?
👉Gameplay breakdown and review
👉Will BODYCOMBAT VR ever be subscription-based? Interview with Odders Lab
👉Quest 3 and Mixed Reality

What is Les Mills BODYCOMBAT?

Les Mills started in 1968 with a strength and cardio training community in Auckland, New Zealand, by four-time Olympian Les Mills. By utilizing the motivational power of music combined with science and experience, Les Mills’ evidence-based exercise programs stand out in the sea of fitness offers. BODYCOMBAT is one of their most popular programs, delivering a high-energy martial-arts inspired workout. 

BODYCOMBAT was the first group exercise class I ever participated in, and Les Mills has always had a very special place in my heart. One of the many strengths of LesMills classes is the consistency and predictability of the classes: You always know what to expect when walking into a gym or if you press “Play” on an on-demand workout at home.

Bringing BODYCOMBAT, one of their most popular programs, to VR is a huge risk. 
It was something I was very skeptical about when I first heard it.

Last month, I had the pleasure of being invited down to L.A. to meet the entire team behind Bodycombat and BODYCOMBAT VR so I could find out why this VR fitness app is so different from all the others.

The first people I got to sit down and talk to were the head coaches of BODYCOMBAT themselves and Les Mills superstars, Dan Cohen and Rachel Newsham.

Interview with BODYCOMBAT VR Program directors:
Why bring Bodycombat to VR?

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Before you started working on BODYCOMBAT VR, how familiar were you with VR?

Rach: Dan played with VR back in the UK years ago, like when he was, like, literally first invented!  

Dan: It must have been the late 80’s or early 90’s.

Rach: For me, very little. Until we started talking about it about 15 years ago! We were waiting for something that was going to make the accessibility perfect for the market, and this was it! 

Dan: And I am not very good at being patient, just throwing that out there right now. So when it happened, I was like, YES! Let’s do it, let’s do it.

You guys obviously worked on BODYCOMBAT for so long…

Rach: Yeah, for BODYCOMBAT, we’ve been 20 years in New Zealand, 25 years total. 

23 years for me. 

Dan: 23 for you! Part of the O.G.!

BODYCOMBAT is known for high-intensity power moves like strikes, blocks, burpees, push-ups and jump kicks. With so many of these moves currently being unsafe to do in VR, I’ve been curious as to how Dan and Rach found it to transition from live classes into virtual reality – while keeping that true BODYCOMBAT feeling.

Dan: I don’t know if it actually challenged us. We know what the limitations are. We brainstorm what type of movement patterns we can do and build on that. Everything we do is stationary. We don’t want anybody to get discombobulated. We don’t have all these things coming in from all different directions. You’re absolutely arrow-focused; when that target comes, you plant your feet and gather all that power. And that’s why you get such a great workout.

What Dan just said here is so important. I am often asked if there’s a way to speed up the game because it looks slow or not a lot happening. The pace of BODYCOMBAT VR is perfectly set to make sure that you get the best workout possible. Just as Dan said, you have time to set yourself up and engage those muscles, leading to a better workout and reducing your risk of injury.

I have noticed that some tracks are used in multiple different workouts. Why is that?

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Dan: You can look at the workouts in multiple ways. To some, a track or a five- or six-minute song is a workout. You might want to decide to put two tracks together, which then feels like a really good upper-body workout. And we were like, What are the benefits of doing that, for, let’s say, lower body? What about combining both? And what about tracks that are combination-heavy? What about tracks that are Specialists? So, things like Knees and Battle Rope slam?

Rach: If you ever do the ones where you’ve got to stay down for really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really horrible long time, that would be me!

BODYCOMBAT VR is now available on Quest 2, Pico, HTC Viveport, and PlayStation VR2. And a little bird told me that it will be available on Steam by the end of 2023. 

But does it hold up to the hype created around this release in 2022, and with more and more VR fitness applications available, is the price of USD 29.99 still worth it?

Let’s jump into the game and find out!

BODYCOMBAT VR Gameplay breakdown and review

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Account and Settings:

Your profile panel on the left in the lobby displays your level and preferences. You can create multiple profiles if you share your VR headset with someone else.

“Social mode” allows your classes to include recordings of other BODYCOMBAT VR users at a similar level to you and a live leaderboard showing their scores next to yours – giving you that extra competitive edge during the class.

If you have friends connected to your Quest account who also play BODYCOMBAT VR, their replays and scores will be prioritized in your classes via the “Show Friends” setting. I often share screenshots of the leaderboards through our Discord or on social media for added community motivation and competition.

The option of turning off the coaches’ voice audio is also possible. However, I strongly recommend leaving them on, as Dan and Rach have provided custom coaching to each track, letting you know which move comes up next while also giving tips on form and muscle activation. Even when repeating a class for the N’th time, I always get a better workout when the commentary is left on.

As a part of your profile card, you can also set a weekly workout session goal. You receive a gold medal on your card each week you complete it. 

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Class categories, levels,  and selection:

Classes are categorized by duration and intensity, spanning from 5 to 30 minutes and ranging from “Light” to “Advanced” levels. There are over 50 classes to choose from, with more added regularly.

BODYCOMBAT VR has workouts suitable for every fitness level, and you don’t need to have experience in martial arts, Bodycombat, or VR in order to benefit from and enjoy them. If you are unsure if you are doing a move right, detailed tutorials for each one are listed at the bottom of the class selection menu.

Although the categories and the section for your favourite classes make finding what you’re looking for reasonably straightforward, I still wish they had a search function with more filters.

Clicking on a class opens the class panel, which provides additional details like targeted body areas and included exercises. I am also thrilled to see the addition of an optional warmup listed at the top of the class panel! The warmups vary; they are suitable for the selected class and automatically turned on for the first class you do each session.

Bodycombat VR Monthly Challenges:

Every month, the BODYCOMBAT VR Discord community announces a new Monthly Challenge. Simply finish the three classes selected for the current month, take a screenshot of your final score, and share it on the BODYCOMBAT VR Discord Server to enter the monthly Les Mills Merch Giveaway.

Workout scoring and point system:

Your class score represents your power output. The more power you present, the larger the explosion of the target coming at you. 

The highest score per punch is 1000, and 500 for each object dodged.

The streak score is incredibly motivating but doesn’t affect the max score. So, don’t beat yourself up if you break it.

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Fitness tracking and calories burned:

While in a class, you can look at your left wrist to see a fitness tracker. It will show you information about your workout, including estimated calories burned. When entering the lobby, this information gets transferred onto your profile panel, and the class average power output gets plotted onto a graph on the class panel.

Other than that, there is no good way to track overall progress or improvement of your workouts. 

Because of this, I write down my workout my own spreadsheet, keeping track of muscles used, calories burned, time worked out, and how I feel before and after my workout. 

The spreadsheet also allows me to track important factors such as sleep duration, stress, diet, and biometrical data, as well as simple fitness testing and progress tracking. This makes it easier to hit my goals and adjust my workout plan if needed. 

You can find more information about my Fitness and Goal Tracking sheet here. [LINK TO SIMPLE LANDING PAGE]

Will BODYCOMBAT VR ever be subscription-based? 
Interview with Jaime Pichardo from Odders Lab


When BODYCOMBAT VR was first released, the question on everyone’s mind was: Is it going to be subscription-based? 

At the time, we were told that an optional subscription add-on would be released later. But it’s been 18 months, and we haven’t seen anything yet. 

So what happened? 

This is what Jaime Pichardo, business director at Odders Lab, had to say about it:

We first want to learn how to bring the best experiences into VR and get it to as many people as possible. 
We do know that in fitness, at some point, a range of audiences will always want more. Let’s say that the average person works out with us maybe once or twice a week. Is that person willing to pay for a subscription? We don’t know.

Right now, we are getting as many people active as possible. And when we see that switch and people want more, we will gradually include some recurring services.

This will correspond with recurring content, bringing to life the social aspect of Les Mills. That is how we tackle it right now, and we’ll see what the future brings!

Quest 3 and BODYCOMBAT VR Mixed Reality:

During the recent Meta Connect reveal of the Quest 3 headset, VR fitness was featured as a main use area for the headsets, and BODYCOMBAT VR was mentioned multiple times.

The videos teased clearly show that Odders Lab and Les Mills are moving into the world of mixed reality, adapting to the market and staying on top of the trends for VR users and hardware. 



Les Mills is the first global fitness brand to adapt their product to virtual reality, combining science, music and trends with inspiring instructors held to the highest of standards.

Les Mills BodyCombat VR checks all the boxes:



✅Improves cardiovascular fitness

✅Builds muscles

✅Tones your body and 

✅helps you lose weight.

This VR fitness app has been my go-to since its release, and it has never let me down. With a reasonable one-time cost of acquisition, it is a no-brainer and belongs in every VR Fitness enthusiast’s library.

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