Understanding Rucking: A Comprehensive Guide to a Low-Impact Full-Body Workout

What is Rucking?

Imagine a workout that’s both low-impact and intense enough to increase your heart rate efficiently. That’s rucking for you. Rucking, at its core, is walking with a weighted backpack. However, it’s more than a simple walk in the park – it’s a full-body workout that forces every muscle in your body to participate.

Taking its roots from military training, rucking has evolved into a widespread fitness trend in modern times. Regardless of your fitness level, rucking, with its inherent versatility, can be tailored to match your capabilities and goals. It can be done anywhere, at any pace, making it an easily accessible form of exercise that doesn’t necessarily require a gym membership or fancy equipment.

And if the versatility of rucking hasn’t convinced you yet, let’s talk about the science of it all. When you carry extra weight on your back, your body must put in more effort to maintain balance and move forward. In the process, you’re burning calories, building strength, and contributing to better posture and core stability. Compared to running, rucking is considerably gentler on your joints. It lets you achieve similar fitness benefits without the typical wear and tear.

Finally, there’s a social aspect to rucking that’s often overlooked. Many ruckers participate in group events or challenges which not only adds a competitive edge but also helps build a strong sense of camaraderie and community.

So, whether you’re looking to spice up your fitness routine, or just seeking to change to a workout that matches your pace, rucking is certainly a practice worth considering. Just remember: always start with a weight you’re comfortable with, and gradually increase it as your body adapts.

Benefits of Rucking

Naturally, your curiosity might beckon, “What’s so great about rucking?” Now, let’s dive into some remarkable benefits that rucking imparts onto those who embrace it as part of their fitness routine.

Low-Impact, Full-Body Workout

Think of it this way – you’re just walking, but with a little extra weight. It’s gentler on the joints compared to other intense workouts like running or high-intensity interval training. Even though it’s low impact, this doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. Quite the opposite – rucking combines cardio and strength training, giving you an impressive full-body workout.

Cardiovascular Fitness and Calorie Burn

Rucking efficiently increases your heart rate, enhancing cardiovascular fitness. A weighted backpack adds a challenging dimension to your walks which resulting in a higher calorie-burning efficiency. You’re not only working out your major muscle groups but also torching calories!

Improved Posture and Core Stability

As the weight of the backpack calls for an upright posture during the walk, rucking indirectly helps you improve posture. Moreover, maintaining stability with the extra weight empowers your core, making rucking a hidden gem for those seeking to improve their core strength.

Versatility and Social Interaction

One of the best things about rucking is that it’s flexible. Want to go slow? You can. Feel like picking up the pace? That works too. No matter your fitness level, rucking suits you. Not to forget the social aspect – many ruckers thrive on group events and challenges, making this an excellent activity to both meet new people and keep fit.

So, why not grab a backpack, fill it with some weight, and embark on your first rucking adventure?

How does Rucking Work?

Rucking, in essence, is a simple and straightforward exercise. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast looking for a new challenge, or someone who’s just getting started with their fitness journey, you’ll find rucking easy to pick up.

To get started with rucking, you’ll first need a backpack. Now, fill this backpack with some weight. The weight can be anything, ranging from sand bags to old books, as long as it’s heavy enough to add some strain during your walk. An important point to note though, start with a weight you’re comfortable handling. Whether that’s 10 pounds or 20 pounds, listen to your body and do not overstrain.

Throughout your ruck, you’ll have the backpack strapped firmly onto your back. As a result, you will feel the weight pulling you down. Ready for the twist? Your job is to counteract this force by standing tall and walking with poise. This is where the posture correction advantage of rucking comes into the picture.

With the backpack in place, you’re all set. All that’s left is to start walking. You could opt for an uphill climb for a more strenuous workout, or stick to flat terrain for a low-impact yet effective exercise session. The goal is not speed, but rather consistency of movement and maintaining posture even under load.

Rucking is versatile and can be done at any location – from your neighborhood park to your local hiking trail. It’s all about making the world your gym.

Last but not the least, remember to hydrate and take breaks when you need them. It’s not a race, but instead, a journey to better health and fitness. Over time, as you get stronger and more resilient, you can gradually increase the weight in your backpack.

Getting Started with Rucking

Once you’ve grasped the concept of rucking, the next step is to get started. Similar to any fitness routine, rucking requires both dedication and the right equipment for it to be successful and beneficial.

Equipment Guide for Rucking

Let’s focus on the gear first. The key equipment is a high-quality, durable backpack that can hold weights. It’s also beneficial if the bag has padded straps for extra comfort. The weight in the bag, typically, varies depending on your fitness level and rucking goals. As a beginner, you may start with a weight equivalent to 10% of your body weight and slowly increase it as you get comfortable.

Your weight (lb)Initial backpack weight (lb)

Make sure you’re comfortable with the weight, as too much weight can cause serious injury. Other essentials include comfortable clothing, sturdy shoes suitable for walking, and a water bottle for hydration.

First Steps for Rucking

Starting with rucking is all about taking one step at a time. Since it’s a low-impact exercise, you have the comfort of going at your own pace. Begin with a 15-minute brisk walk around your neighborhood park. Gradually increase the duration, distance, and weight you carry as your body gets accustomed to the routine.

Remember to maintain good posture. Keep your back straight, chest out, and eyes forward. This way, not only are you working on your fitness, but also improving your posture and reducing the risk of injuries.

Joining a Rucking Community

Lastly, make it a point to join a local rucking community or group. Rucking often becomes more enjoyable and persistent when done with others. It brings a sense of camaraderie and mutual encouragement that fosters adherence to a regular rucking routine. Not to mention, it’s a wonderful way to meet new people and explore new places.

Rucking Gear and Equipment

In the realm of rucking, choosing the right gear is far from being trivial. The quality of your rucking kit directly affects your comfort and performance. Your rucking gear should be able to withstand the pressure of carrying a load over extended periods and varying terrains. Now, let’s break down the essential items you need in your equipment roster.


At the heart of rucking is, of course, the backpack itself. Make sure it’s well-constructed, durable and capable of carrying your chosen weight. Avoid bags with flimsy straps or weak zippers, you don’t want your rucking journey interrupted by a faulty backpack.


Next, you need weights. These can be anything from special rucking plates, dumbbells to simple books or water bottles. The rule of thumb is to pack 10% of your body weight. Gradually, you may opt to add more weight, building up to rucking with 30% to 50% of your body weight.


As for clothing, you want to gear up with moisture-wicking, breathable pieces. This will help minimize chafing and maximize comfort. If you’re rucking in colder climates, don’t forget to layer up. Remember, it’s crucial to adapt clothing to the weather conditions.


Lastly, invest in a solid pair of sturdy footwear. Rucking shoes should provide ankle support, have nice traction, and be able to endure extended periods of walking. Don’t skimp on a subpar pair, you’ll thank yourself later.


So there you have it. Rucking isn’t just a military-inspired workout, it’s a versatile full-body activity that you can tailor to fit your pace and environment. It’s not only about burning calories, but also about improving your core stability and posture. Plus, it’s a social activity that can bring you closer to a community of like-minded fitness enthusiasts. Remember, starting with 10% of your body weight in your backpack is key and investing in the right gear – a sturdy backpack, weights, breathable clothing, and durable footwear – will make your rucking experience more enjoyable. Why not give rucking a try? You might just find it’s the workout you’ve been looking for.

What is rucking?

Rucking is a workout that entails walking with a loaded backpack. Originating from the military, it’s now a favorite exercise in many fitness circles due to its low-impact, full-body benefits, flexibility, and ability to boost heart rate and calorie burn.

How does rucking improve fitness?

Rucking increases heart rate, burns calories, and strengthens the core and posture. Unlike other fitness routines like running, it’s gentler on the joints making it accessible for wider range of fitness levels.

Where can I perform rucking exercises?

One of the great things about rucking is its versatility. You can do it practically anywhere and at any pace. This introduces a variety of potential paths and routines to keep your workouts interesting.

What type of gear is required for rucking?

For rucking, you need a durable backpack and weights. The initial weight should be about 10% of your bodyweight, which you can gradually increase for added challenge. Other essentials include moisture-wicking clothing, breathable gear, and sturdy footwear.

Is rucking a social activity?

Absolutely! Whilst rucking can be a solo workout, many engage in group events or challenges. Joining a local rucking community can add a social dimension, making your workouts more engaging and motivating.


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