Over the last few years, rucking and rucking workouts have become a popular form of exercise among athletes, the military, and fitness enthusiasts.
It’s a great cardio option that creates a challenge beyond just walking, hiking, or running because it can be very tough, but it’s easy on your joints.
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What is a Rucking Workout?
Rucking is essentially hiking with a weighted backpack, so it’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and build strength.
Rucking is often used by military personnel as a way to train for long marches with heavy loads, but it makes perfect sense for everyday athletes looking to build endurance and heart health.
The idea of rucking workouts is especially compelling for people over the age of 40 where the need for heart health becomes increasingly important, but joints also need less impact options.
Are you over the age of 40? Check out our over-40 workout plan to build lean muscle.
Rucking Workouts vs. Running Workouts
Rucking and running are both great forms of cardiovascular exercise that offer numerous health benefits. While both activities can be challenging and rewarding in their own way, the the main reasons why some people may prefer rucking over running is that its lower impact. It places less stress on your joints than running so it makes for a great option for people with knee or hip problems, as well as for those who want to reduce the risk of injury.
How to Start Rucking
To get started with rucking, you’ll need a sturdy backpack and some weights to put inside. You can use any kind of weight, but most people use sandbags or weight plates. Start with a weight that’s comfortable for you and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
When you’re ready to ruck, just put on your backpack and start walking. You can ruck on any surface, but it’s important to wear comfortable shoes with good support. Start with a short distance and gradually increase the distance and weight over time.
How Much Weight to Use for a Rucking Workout
The amount of weight you should put in your rucksack for rucking will depend on your fitness level, experience, and personal goals.
As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to start with a weight that is about 10% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should start with a rucksack that weighs around 15 pounds.
Once you feel comfortable with the weight, you can gradually increase it over time. It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, too fast. Gradually increasing the weight will help you avoid injury and allow your body to adjust to the added load.
You can use any quality backpack stuffed with weights, but might want to check out the Rucker by GORUCK if you want a legit “rucksack.” You could also go with the GR1 or GR2 by GORUCK if you want to use it as a rucksack and/or a backpack for everyday stuff.
The General Benefits of Rucking Workouts
- Low-impact exercise: Rucking is easy on your joints, making it a great option for people with knee or hip problems.
- Cardiovascular health: Rucking is a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular health.
- Strength training: Rucking is a full-body workout that can help you build strength in your legs, back, and core.
- Mental toughness: Rucking can be challenging, but it’s also a great way to build mental toughness and resilience.
Our Favorite Rucking Workouts
If you have a decent base of fitness, let’s say you can run a 5K at a decent pace, here’s a few we like:
Workout 1: The 5K Ruck
Start with a 5-10 minute brisk walk to get your heart rate up and your muscles warmed up.
At your 1, 2, and 3 mile marks, perform the following bodyweight workout:
Pull-ups x 5 – 10 reps
Push-ups x 10 – 20 reps
Squats x 20 – 30 reps
Lunges x 20 – 30 reps
Workout 2: The Uphill Ruck
Find a solid hill. Perform a series of 10 uphill climbs for 30 – 50 yards at a hard pace. Walk back and rest for 1 minute. Repeat.
You can also perform this on a treadmill in the gym.
Workout 3: The Long Haul Ruck
For 1 hour, walk and walk and walk for as far and as fast as you can.