Master Rucking: Top Tips and Techniques from the Army Reddit Community

Looking to up your rucking game? You’re not alone. Reddit’s army community is a treasure trove of tips and tricks, all aimed at helping you improve your rucking skills. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a rucking rookie, there’s always room for improvement.

Rucking, if you’re new to it, is a military training exercise that involves marching with a loaded backpack. It’s a test of endurance, strength, and mental fortitude. But don’t worry – with the right advice, you can improve your rucking performance in no time.

In this article, we’ll delve into the best advice from the army Reddit community on how to improve at rucking. We’ll cover everything from the right gear to the best training techniques. So strap in, and get ready to ruck like a pro.

The Basics of Rucking

Every journey starts with a single step, and that statement has never been truer than when we talk about improving at rucking. But before you take that step, you’ll want to understand what rucking really is.

Rucking is a term used in the military which simply means marching with a loaded backpack. It’s a crucial part of basic training in armed forces all around the globe. You’re essentially carrying a weighted pack on your back and walking for a set distance.

Look at your backpack. That’s your primary tool in rucking. Picking the right pack and weight is the first step in mastering the art of rucking. Most beginners start with a weight of about 20 to 30 pounds, but you can adjust this based on your fitness level.

Experience LevelStarting Weight (lbs)

Adding too much weight too soon can lead to injury, so it’s best to increase gradually as your strength and endurance improve. The same tones true with the distance.

Operating from the advice of Reddit’s army community, you’ll want to start rucking for shorter distances. Once you can comfortably ruck this initial distance without being overly fatigued, it’s time to gradually increase your miles.

Next, footwear. Your choice of shoes or boots is paramount to your rucking success. The right pair can mean the difference between a successful ruck or nursing blisters the next day.

So now that you know the basics of rucking, the next step is putting pen to paper and laying out your training plan. We’ll be diving deeper into this topic in our next section – ‘Developing a Rucking Routine’.

Remember, rucking improvement isn’t just about distance covered or weight carried, it’s about continuously pushing your limits and bettering your performance. So keep at it, and you’ll see improvements sooner than you might think.

Understanding the Benefits of Rucking

Along with honing your skills and strategies, understanding the benefits of rucking provides motivation to persist. The army Reddit community has discussed these benefits extensively. It’s time for you to appreciate them too.

To start, rucking is ideal for cardiovascular health. With that loaded backpack on your shoulders, your heart rate increases. This augmented heart rate functions similarly to a regular cardio exercise session. That means you’re not only accomplishing your military training but also taking care of your heart.

Naturally, rucking also strengthens your muscular endurance and boosts your metabolism. The added weight on your back requires your muscles to work harder than usual. Consequently, intense burn of calories occurs, optimizing your metabolism. You’re effectively running a full-body workout, from the tips of your fingers, supporting that hefty backpack, to your sturdy feet navigating rough terrains.

Improved posture is another gained bonus. Due to the backpack weight, you have to maintain strict balance. As a result, your back muscles get stronger and overtime, you’ll notice significant improvement in your posture. Let’s not forget the enhanced stamina and perseverance you cultivate. It’s the one training that burdens your mind and body while pushing your limits.

By now, you’re probably realizing that rucking is more than just a military exercise. From cardiovascular health to muscular endurance, metabolism optimization, and better posture, the gains are multifaceted. But don’t just read about it. Adapt and experience these benefits by continuously improving your rucking skills and pushing your boundaries.

Building a routine and sticking to it is integral. Incorporate progressive overload – increase distance and weight incrementally. Balance is key. Too much too soon might lead to injuries, hindering your progress. Likewise, wearing the right footwear will make a world of difference. It’s not just about surviving, it’s about how comfortably you can do so.

Remember, rucking is a rewarding journey, albeit challenging. The path may be tough, but the benefits surely tip the scale in its favor.

Essential Gear for Rucking

So, you’re getting into rucking and want to make sure you’re adequately prepared. Choosing the right gear is paramount. While it’s been established that the right backpack and footwear are vital, let’s delve a little deeper and understand what exactly that means.

When selecting a rucksack, bear in mind the size, durability, and comfort factors. Your rucksack should have plenty of space, the ability to withstand adverse weather and terrain, and padded shoulder straps for added comfort. A favorite among the rucking community is the Alice pack desert Tan. Designed specifically for rucking, it’s renowned for its robust build and ergonomic design.

Let’s talk about footwear. Unlike typical running shoes, rucking shoes should provide optimum ankle support, excellent traction and, vital for those long marches, a good level of breathability. A top pick is the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX, held in high regard for its stability, grip, and, importantly, its Gore-Tex membrane making it water resistant.

During your ruck march, it’s essential to remember hydration. Carrying a hydration bladder allows for easy access to water without having to stop. The CamelBak Crux fits seamlessly into most rucksacks and offers a generous 3 liter capacity.

For clothing, focus on layers. Start with a sweat-wicking base layer, add an insulating middle layer in colder climates, and finish off with a durable, breathable top layer. The Brandit US Ranger trousers are a great option, thanks to their durability and multipurpose pockets.

Don’t forget about socks either. The right pair of socks can prevent blisters, wick sweat, and keep your feet dryer for longer. Some swear by Darn Tough socks for their itch-free merino wool and lifetime guarantee.

Having the right gear isn’t just about buying the best – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Listen to your body, cater to your individual needs, and remember that comfort is the key. So, gear up, and carry on rucking. Always remember consistency is key, and progress doesn’t happen overnight. Keep experimenting with new gear and methods of training, striving for continuous improvement.

Proper Techniques for Carrying a Rucksack

So, you’ve got your rucking gear sorted. Your next challenge is mastering the art of carrying that loaded rucksack without making your back scream in protest. In rucking, just like in any other fitness endeavor, technique matters as much as endurance and strength. Here’s how you can carry a rucksack effectively and avoid unnecessary strain or injury.

Positioning Your Rucksack

For beginners, the rule of thumb is to ensure that the rucksack is centered and high on your back. This aligns the weight with your center of gravity, helping you maintain balance. The top of your rucksack should ideally line up with the base of your neck. Don’t let it droop low, as that puts undue strain on your lower back.

Adjusting the Straps

You can’t talk about carrying a rucksack effectively without mentioning the importance of straps. The shoulder straps should be tightly secured, but not to the point that they’re digging into your shoulders. You need to achieve a balance between a secure fit and comfort. Furthermore, if your rucksack comes with a waist or chest strap, use it! These straps distribute the weight away from your shoulders, reducing fatigue and the risk of injury.

Maintaining Good Posture

A significant part of carrying a rucksack comes down to maintaining good posture throughout. It’s tempting to hunch over under the weight of the pack, but this will only lead to back pain and discomfort. Keep your back straight and look forward, not down. Remember, rucking is about the long game. Your back will thank you!

Through careful positioning, strategic use of straps, and maintaining good posture, you can carry any rucksack weight as conditioned by your army training. It’s important to listen to your body and adjust your practices accordingly. Rucking takes time and practice, so don’t rush it. Patience and consistency, coupled with the right techniques, will undoubtedly pay off in your rucking journey. As always, never stop learning and honing your skills.

Building Endurance for Rucking

You can’t expect to master rucking overnight. It’s all about building your endurance, both physical and mental, over time. But how do you do that? What are the key points to focus on?

Fitness plays an integral role in rucking efficiency. Strengthening your core, your back and your leg muscles is vital for carrying a ruck without wrecking your body. Body weight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, squats, planks and pull-ups are effective ways to build these muscles. Integrating a blend of these exercises into a regular workout schedule can considerably enhance your rucking abilities.

Apart from core strength, mobility is crucial for rucking. Focusing on exercises that enhance hip mobility, and lower body flexibility – such as yoga and pilates – can significantly improve your rucking experience. Pair these with targeted exercises for specific muscle groups like your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves to optimize your stride and reduce injuries.

Remember that rucking is a sustained activity, hence, developing your cardiovascular fitness is equally important. Incorporating running, swimming, or cycling into your workouts aids in boosting cardiovascular health and enhancing your endurance capacity.

Consistency with your workouts is key. Start with less weight and gradually increase as your muscles adapt. Additionally, rest days are vital to allow for muscular recovery and growth.

Incorporating Strength Training for Rucking

Building up your physical strength is a vital element in preparing for the rigors of rucking. As you’ve come to understand, rucking isn’t as simple as strapping on a loaded backpack and hitting the trail. It’s a demanding workout that requires a fit, well-prepared body. Strength training, when properly incorporated into your fitness routine, can dramatically enhance this preparedness. But where do you start?

To better handle the added weight of a rucksack, focus initially on compound exercises. These will target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, mimicking the full body effort required in rucking. Exercise stratagems like the bench press, squats, deadlifts, and rows are your friends here.

Compound Exercises for Rucking
Bench Press

Moreover, it’s beneficial to supplement those powerhouse movements with muscle-specific training. Focusing on your core, lower back, quadriceps, and calves can further bolster your rucking effectiveness. Exercises such as planks, back extensions, leg presses, and calf raises can fortify these areas.

Muscle-specific Exercises for Rucking
Back Extensions
Leg Presses
Calf Raises

Mindful incorporation of strength training into your routine necessitates proper planning and progression. This is particularly true for beginners. Don’t worry if you’re not lifting big weights, it’s more about perfecting form and gradually increasing your capacity. Always remember, the goal isn’t to be the best in the gym, but to be the best on the trail.

While the specifics can be tailored to individual needs, a solid strategy incorporates these training sessions 2-3 times per week. In between your strength training days, you might fill in with other activities. These could include some of the previously discussed options, like yoga or bodyweight exercises.

Naturally, recovery time and rest are crucial. Thankfully, your body intuitively knows how to repair and strengthen itself. As such, it’s necessary to actively listen to its signals, allowing sufficient recuperations between workouts.

Mental Preparation for Rucking

Mental preparation plays an equally important role in acing your rucking performance. To attain the right mindset, planning and visualization are crucial stepping stones.

Planning your ruck march ahead helps in reducing anxiety and gaining control over the situation. Map out your route, factor in the terrain, decide on the weight you’ll carry, and estimate the time it’ll take. This level of preparedness ensures you are not caught off-guard during the ruck march.

Visualization helps in positive mental conditioning. Picture yourself successfully completing the ruck march. Imagine navigating the path, maintaining a steady pace, and handling the weight effortlessly. Visualizing these scenarios preps your mind for the real experience and lifts your confidence significantly.

Besides planning and visualization, it’s paramount to manage your discomfort during the ruck march. Expect to encounter some level of discomfort and prepare to tackle it. When your muscles start to burn or when your pace slows down, remind yourself that this is part of the process. Use motivational self-talk to spur yourself on.

Remember, rucking is as much about mental toughness as it is about physical strength. So, work on building mental resilience. Incorporating practices like meditation and mindfulness can be beneficial for improving concentration, relaxation, and reducing stress levels. They also equip you to deal with physical discomfort and fatigue better.

Above all, always remember the ultimate goal of your ruck march. Whether it’s improving your fitness level, preparing for a military training exercise, or simply challenging yourself, keeping this objective in mind gives you the mental stamina to push through the demanding miles.

To support your mental preparation, it’s also helpful to create a supportive and positive environment for training. Surround yourself with people who understand and support your goals. Listen to pumping music or motivational podcasts during your ruck marches. They amp up your morale and add an element of fun to your training sessions.

Without mental preparation, your performance could suffer. So, invest as much time in prepping your mind for rucking as you train your body. You’ll find yourself better equipped to handle any obstacles that come your way.

Tips and Tricks from the Army Reddit Community

Turning focus to the invaluable advice from the Army Reddit community, it’s a treasure trove of actionable tips and tricks, straight from the experienced ruckers themselves. If you’re aspiring to improve your rucking performance, this is the realm you’d want to plunge into.

First off, prioritize quality. Don’t skimp on your rucksack. Make an informed decision and invest in a high-quality, durable backpack specifically designed for rucking. Remember, it’s not just about cheap prices; you need a pack that can stand up to rigorous training sessions and serve you in the long run.

Next, instead of jumping right into a hard, grueling ruck, take baby steps. Make a schedule and start off with light loads then gradually increase the weight as your strength improves over time. Slowly, but surely, this will build your endurance and prevent potential injuries that can sideline you from your rucking journey.

Another tip: get your footwear right. Your choice in boots can make or break your rucking experience. Research and choose boots that offer great support, comfort, and durability. It’s vital to remember that everyone’s feet are different and the most expensive boot may not be the best for your individual needs.

To build your endurance, you should incorporate workouts that target your entire body. Recommended exercises include squats, lunges, planks, and push-ups. Don’t forget to work on your cardiovascular fitness as well with activities like running, swimming, or cycling.

Last but never the least, don’t underestimate the importance of adequate rest and recovery. Like any intense physical activity, rucking stresses your body and muscles, which need time to repair and strengthen. Ensure you have enough rest days in between your rucking routines.

Overcoming Common Challenges in Rucking

Let’s get to the core of the matter – how to overcome common challenges faced during rucking. By encountering these hurdles head-on, you’ll achieve peak performance, but be prepared to break some sweat.

Challenge 1: The Dreaded Blisters

Blisters are a common nuisance in rucking. They’re painful and can sideline you quicker than a misstep on a tree root. The solution? Proper footwear! A pair of quality socks can make a world of difference. Opt for wool or synthetic blend socks for their moisture-wicking abilities. Don’t forget to break in your boots before hitting the trail. Trudge around your neighborhood, walk your dog, or just wear them during house chores. Your feet will thank you on rucking day.

Challenge 2: Sore and Stiff Muscles

No pain, no gain right? While this may hold some truth, it shouldn’t be your mantra during rucking. Feeling sore and stiff is your body sending a message – you’re pushing too hard. Here’s what you can do:

  • Incorporate full-body workouts to build overall muscle endurance.
  • Maintain a regular yoga or Pilates routine for flexibility and mobility.
  • Don’t rush. It’s better to gradually step up your weight and distance in rucking.

Challenge 3: Fatigue

Rucking involves endurance, and this means pushing through fatigue. While building physical endurance is essential, it’s equally important to hone mental resilience. Here’s where consistent training comes into play. Realize that fatigue is a part of the process. Remember, it’s not just about physical strength, but mental toughness is also key in developing rucking resistance.

Challenge 4: Diet and Hydration

When it comes to rucking, diet and hydration are often overlooked. Fueling your body correctly can make a significant difference in your performance. Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred fuel source for endurance exercises like rucking. Drink water consistently before, during, and after your ruck. Staying well-hydrated is key to battling fatigue and achieving top physical performance.


So, you’ve journeyed through the world of rucking with us, learning from the seasoned pros of the army Reddit community. You’ve grasped the basics, understood the benefits, and mastered the techniques. You’re now aware of the importance of endurance, fitness, and recovery in enhancing your rucking abilities. You’ve also tackled common challenges head-on, equipped with practical solutions. Now it’s time to put all this knowledge into action. Remember, start slow, be consistent, and listen to your body. Invest in quality gear, incorporate a balanced fitness regimen, and prioritize recovery. With patience, persistence, and the right approach, you’ll see your rucking skills improve significantly. Here’s to your successful rucking journey!

What is rucking?

Rucking is a military training exercise that involves marching with a loaded backpack over varying terrains. It improves cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, metabolism, posture, and stamina.

How can I improve at rucking?

Improving at rucking requires understanding its basics like selecting the right backpack and weight, progressively increasing the distance and weight, and choosing suitable footwear. Regular body weight exercises, yoga, pilates, and targeted exercises for specific muscle groups can also enhance your rucking abilities.

What’s the right way to carry a rucksack?

Carry a rucksack by positioning it high on the back and adjusting the straps for a secure fit and comfort. Maintaining good posture is vital to prevent injuries and discomfort.

What are essential factors to consider for building endurance for rucking?

Building endurance for rucking requires fitness, core strength, mobility, and cardiovascular fitness. Consistency, gradual progression, and rest days are also important for muscular recovery and growth.

What challenges might one face in rucking and how can they be overcome?

Common challenges in rucking include blisters, sore muscles, and fatigue. These can be overcome by investing in quality footwear and a backpack, starting with light loads, gradually increasing weight, maintaining proper diet and hydration, and allowing for adequate rest and recovery.


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