Rucking vs. Jogging: A Comprehensive Guide to Understand Your Workout Better

Ever wondered how rucking stacks up against other forms of exercise? You’re not alone. Rucking, the simple act of walking with a weighted backpack, is gaining popularity as a go-to fitness routine. It’s a military-inspired workout that’s as straightforward as it sounds, yet its benefits are anything but ordinary.

Compared to traditional exercises like running or weightlifting, you might be surprised by what rucking brings to the table. It’s a low-impact, full-body workout that can be easily customized to fit your fitness level. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s dive in and explore how rucking truly compares to other exercises.

Benefits of Rucking

Let’s dive into the numerous benefits rucking offers. To start, rucking is a low-impact exercise. Unlike running, which places a considerable amount of pressure on your knees and joints, rucking is gentle on your body while still providing a rigorous workout. You’ll find it’s an excellent alternative if high-impact exercises aren’t your thing.

One of the intriguing features of rucking is its adaptive nature. It can be tailored to match your fitness level. Are you just beginning? Try walking with a backpack filled with a few books. If you’re a fitness pro, pack in bricks or weights. The flexibility it offers means everyone can participate and modify it to their fitness abilities.

Rucking is a full-body workout. Yes, it targets more muscles than most traditional workouts. Your legs do the lifting, the core balances the weight, your shoulders and back support the pack, and your arms swing in rhythm with your pace. Did we mention it burns more calories than walking without a backpack? In fact, rucking can burn up to three times as many calories as walking at the same speed.

The table below quantifies the number of calories burnt by a person weighing 160 pounds indulging in various exercises for an hour.

ExerciseCalories Burned

On a side note, rucking also helps improve your cardiovascular health. By increasing your heart rate and exercise duration, you’re giving your heart a beneficial workout. Moreover, it boosts your endurance and stamina, which will come in handy for your other fitness activities.

Last but not least, rucking also contributes to your mental well-being. Stepping outside, breathing in fresh air, and being amidst nature does wonders for your mental health. It might just help reduce stress and increase your overall happiness.

With rucking, you get both a splendid workout and a healthier mind. No gym needed, no fancy equipment required. Just a backpack, some weight of your choice, and the great outdoors. You’re all set to take on the world! Next, we’ll discuss the things you’ll need for a smooth rucking experience.

Rucking vs Running: Which is Better?

Before delving into the comparison of rucking and running, understanding what these two exercises entail is crucial. Rucking is walking with a weighted backpack, a full-body workout that allows you to customize the intensity by adjusting the objects in your rucksack. On the other hand, running is a faster-paced cardio exercise that involves no extra weights but the person’s body size and workout intensity.

One of the key advantages of rucking over running is the relatively low risk of injury. Rucking is a low-impact exercise that is kinder to your joints than running. While running, especially on hard surfaces, can cause high impact on the knees and ankles, rucking distributes the load across your body, decreasing the stress on your joints.

Rucking also burns more calories due to the added weight. A 200-pound individual would burn approximately 546 calories an hour running at a moderate 6mph. The same person would burn 636 calories an hour rucking with a 50-pound backpack, illustrating the impact of weight on calorie burning.

ActivityWeightSpeedCalorie Burn/hr
Running200 lbs6mph546
Rucking with 50lbs200 lbs3mph636

On the downside, running generally covers more distance in the same amount of time and can potentially improve cardiovascular health faster. Furthermore, running can be a faster route to improving your aerobic capacity and speed.

So, is rucking or running better for you? It depends on your goals. If you want a low-risk, high-calorie burn, and full-body strength exercise, then rucking is better. But, if you are aiming for fast weight loss, quick aerobic capacity boost, and speed training, running might work best for you. Evaluate your fitness goals, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the exercise that aligns best with your objectives and the condition of your body.

Rucking vs Weightlifting: A Comparison

Rucking and weightlifting, two exercise regimes that might seem worlds apart. While they both demand a certain level of physical prowess, they target different aspects of your fitness.

Rucking, at its core, is a cardio workout with the bonus of weighted resistance. It’ll enable you to get your heart pumping while also working on your muscles. Rucking can be your go-to form of cardio, especially if you’re someone who struggles to enjoy traditional cardio exercise like running. By adding a little weight to your pack, you make an otherwise easy walk a challenging workout for your whole body.

On the other hand, weightlifting focuses more on strength and muscle-building. It’s all about micro-tears in your muscle fibers, strengthening, and expanding them during the recovery period. Weightlifting primarily works with fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for strength, power, and speed.

But what does that mean for you? If you’re seeking a lean and muscular physique, weightlifting could be your answer. If you aim to build endurance and overall fitness whilst also improving muscular strength, rucking might be a better suit. Remember, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to fitness.

To lay it out more clearly, here are some key points to consider:

  • Cardiovascular Fitness: Rucking offers more cardiovascular benefits than weightlifting due to its nature as an aerobic exercise. It promotes heart health, lung capacity, and endurance.
  • Calorie Burn: While weightlifting has a significant after-burn effect, rucking burns a substantial number of calories during the workout itself, thanks to the added weight.
  • Injury Risk: Rucking has less impact on your joints compared to hefty lifting. For beginners or those with joint issues, rucking is a safer option.

Ultimately, both rucking and weightlifting have unique benefits and can be incorporated into your fitness routine for a well-rounded workout. The choice between the two will heavily depend on your personal fitness goals, lifestyle and preferences.

And as with all exercise, it’s crucial to maintain proper form and safety precautions to prevent injury. Seek professional advice if you’re unsure about beginning a new exercise regime.

The Full-Body Workout: How Rucking Engages Muscles

A closer look into rucking gives an insight into how this activity hits almost all your major muscle groups. Unlike other exercises, it’s not a targeted workout but a comprehensive way to work your entire body – from your legs and lower back to your triceps and biceps.

To maintain balance with a rucksack, your core muscles come into play. These include your abs, obliques, and coverage of the lower back. As you continually stabilize yourself with each step, you’re essentially performing an active core workout without the traditional sit-ups and crunches.

Next up are your leg muscles. Since rucking is essentially walking with added weight, it’s impossible to avoid a good leg workout. Your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves will all be engaged as they power each stride.

Talking about muscles without mentioning the upper body would be incomplete. Even in rucking, your arms and shoulders aren’t left out. Carrying a weighted pack means your biceps, triceps and shoulders are constantly engaged. This goes hand in hand with working your back muscles. Your trapezius, rhomboids and latissimus dorsi get put to task to support your packed sack, ensuring you maintain good posture throughout.

When performed routinely, you’ll notice improvements in muscle definition and strength. You’re not only shedding pounds with rucking but also sculpting a stronger, fitter physique.

Remember, just like any other workout, it’s important to start slow and increase intensity over time. This will help your body to better adapt to rucking and avoid potential injuries. Additionally, ensure your ruck pack is properly aligned and confortable. That way, you’re sure to build muscle, burn calories, and enjoy the outdoors at the same time, all while engaging each part of your body.

  • Consult a fitness professional
  • Assess your current fitness level
  • Gradually increase workout intensity
  • Ensure safety and proper form during workout

As we delve deeper into rucking, let’s explore how rucking stacks up to jogging and running in the next section.

Customizing Rucking for Your Fitness Level

Rucking’s flexibility means it can be tailored to fit anyone’s fitness level. Whether you’re a fitness novice or a veritable gym guru, rucking can always match your pace.

Start your rucking journey with a manageable weight. Remember, it’s not about how heavy your backload is, but about maintaining right form and steady progress. If you’re new to rucking, start with a load equivalent to 10% of your body weight.

It might seem light initially, but it’s a key step to gradually acclimate your body to the strain of the weighted walk. Over time, you’ll develop the strength and stamina necessary to ruck with heavier loads.

Increase Intensity Over Time

As your body adapts to the challenge, you can progressively amp up your rucking routine’s intensity. This can be accomplished by gradually adding more weight to your pack, increasing the distance you travel, or even incorporating diverse terrains like uphill paths or uneven ground to your routine.

Listen to Your Body

But, in all your efforts to push yourself harder, don’t forget to listen to your body. When you feel sore or start experiencing unusual aches or pains, it’s alright to take a step back. Even a fitness enthusiast needs to mind his limits. A reasonable break from rucking will not sabotage your fitness journey, but injury caused by overexertion could terribly set you back.

Consider this guidance as you embark on your rucking adventure to better fitness. Next, we’ll delve into the critical differences and potential benefits comparing rucking to jogging and running.


So, you’ve seen how rucking stacks up against other exercises. It’s versatile, adaptable, and can be tailored to your fitness level. You’ve learned that it’s not just about lugging a heavy bag around, but gradually increasing intensity, and listening to your body. You’ve discovered that rucking can offer a whole host of benefits that other exercises might not, especially when it comes to building strength and endurance. Remember, it’s not a race – everyone’s rucking journey is unique. So, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a fitness newbie, why not give rucking a try? You might just find it’s the perfect fit for your workout routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is rucking?

Rucking is a form of exercise that involves walking with a weighted backpack. It works multiple muscle groups and can be adapted to accommodate any fitness level.

How should I start rucking?

Begin with a manageable weight and gradually increase the intensity over time. This can be done by adding more weight to your backpack, increasing your distance, or trying out diverse terrains.

How can I increase the intensity of rucking?

You can increase intensity gradually by adding more weight, covering more distance, or incorporating different terrains into your routine.

Is rucking safe?

Yes, rucking is safe when done properly. Listen to your body’s cues and take breaks as needed to avoid injuries. Make sure the weight you use is manageable to avoid unnecessary strain.

How does rucking compare to jogging or running?

While all of them provide cardiovascular benefits, rucking adds a strength training element due to the added weight. Remember, the right selection depends on individual fitness goals and physical condition.


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