Understanding Rucking: Essential Gear and Strategic Tips for Beginners

Ever heard of rucking? If not, you’re in for a treat. It’s a simple, yet highly effective form of exercise that’s gaining popularity across the globe.

Rucking essentially involves walking with a loaded backpack. It’s a workout that’s as challenging as it is versatile. From burning calories to building strength, rucking offers a myriad of benefits.

But what makes rucking stand out? It’s its simplicity. No need for fancy gym equipment or high-tech gadgets. Just grab a backpack, fill it up, and you’re good to go. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the world of rucking.

What is Rucking?

Now that we’ve dipped our toes into the basics, let’s dive deeper into what rucking actually entails. Rucking, at its core, is a form of cardio exercise that incorporates resistance and weight-bearing loads. You’re essentially walking with a weighted pack on your back to add an extra layer of challenge and boost your exercise’s overall benefits.

The term rucking may sound relatively new to you, but it’s worth noting that this exercise method has been around for quite some time. It has roots in the military, where soldiers would “ruck march” for miles carrying their packed gear. This wasn’t just a part of their training routine – it was a fundamental way to prepare themselves for real-life combat situations where they might have to bear heavy loads for extended periods.

Rucking has proven to be a practical, no-frills workout approach for soldiers. And now, it’s trending in civilian health and fitness circles. Why? Well, rucking doesn’t require expensive gym equipment or trendy workout gear. All you need is a backpack and something to weigh it down. This could be anything from books, sandbags, or even water bottles.

As simple as rucking may sound, it’s potential to transform your physical health is immense. Essentially, rucking will contribute to burning hundreds of calories, boosting cardiovascular health, improving posture, and building both endurance and strength.

Whether you’re trekking through city streets or meandering down a forest trail, rucking turns your everyday environment into your own personal gym. And believe it or not, rucking can be somewhat therapeutic. There’s a soothing rhythm to the pack’s weight settling on your shoulders and your feet hitting the ground as the world glides by.

But, like any other exercise, rucking comes with its own set of guidelines and safety precautions, ensuring that you get the most benefits while avoiding potential risks. You’ve got a ton of benefits to look forward to – once you get the right gear, the right amount of weight, and start off at a pace that’s right for you.

Benefits of Rucking

When it comes to cardio workouts, you’ve likely tried running, cycling, or swimming. But have you considered rucking? Rucking – a term derived from the military practice of marching with weighted gear – is increasingly gaining traction in civilian fitness circles. This might be attributed to the numerous benefits it offers.

Firstly, rucking is a great way to burn calories quickly. Unlike traditional gym workouts, this exercise engages both your upper and lower body since you’re carrying extra weight. This results in a more significant calorie burn.

For instance, a person weighing 180lbs could burn around 105 calories with a 20-minute run. The same person could torch approximately 164 calories during a 20-minute ruck. Let’s look at it from a different perspective:

ActivityDurationCalories Burned
Running20 mins105
Rucking20 mins164

Rucking not only boosts your calorie burn but also improves your cardiovascular health. The added resistance from the weight in your backpack makes your heart work harder, enhancing your overall cardiovascular fitness.

Beyond cardiovascular health, rucking is beneficial for your posture. Carrying a weighted backpack inherently forces you to maintain a straighter, upright posture. This can be helpful in countering the negative effects of sitting for extended periods.

But wait, there’s more! Rucking also impacts positively on endurance. As you ruck more frequently, you’ll notice improved stamina and conditioning. This means you’ll be able to not only ruck for longer, but you’ll also be well conditioned for other physical activities.

Lastly, let’s not forget the strength-building benefits that rucking provides. Because you’re carrying additional weight, your muscles (particularly your back, core, glutes, quads, and hamstrings) are constantly working, contributing to muscular development and strength.

It’s quite clear why rucking has become trendy in the fitness space. It’s simple yet highly effective and offers a wide spectrum of health benefits.

Why Choose Rucking Over Other Workouts?

As you maintain an active lifestyle, you’ve likely tried many workout regimes in an attempt to find the one that suits you best. You might’ve been on the treadmill, lifted weights, even tried HIIT workouts, but have you gone rucking before? Allow us to expound on its superiority over other exercise routines.

Knowing about caloric expenditure is crucial when trying to get the most bang for your buck from a workout. There’s little sense in spending hours at the gym if you’re not maximising your calorie burn, right? This is where rucking holds a significant edge. On an average, it burns 3 calories per minute more than walking. That’s an added 180 calories per hour!

WorkoutCalories burned per minute

Cardiovascular benefits of rucking trump those of conventional gym workouts. Such mainstream routines concentrate more on anaerobic exercises that might not increase heart rate as consistently or for as long a time as rucking does. Instead of short bursts of intense activity, rucking provides continuous moderate-intensity training that’s highly beneficial for your heart.

Posture is another significant aspect that rucking plays a part in promoting. Unlike stationary bikes or rowing machines that allow slouching, rucking keeps you upright and strengthens the back and core muscles. As per a study by the American Council on Exercise, individuals who go rucking have shown impressive improvements in posture and spinal alignment.

In your ongoing quest for the next best workout trend, it’s worth considering rucking. Its benefits span from increased caloric expenditure, superior cardiovascular gains, to posture improvements. Be it fitness enthusiasts or casual exercisers, it’s a simple yet effective workout that continues to be more sought after. So, ready to get your ruck on?

How to Get Started with Rucking

Ready to give rucking a try? You’re making a great choice since this form of cardio is effective and provides numerous health benefits. It’s more than walking and offers a continuous moderate-intensity workout. Plus, it’s a fun and sociable way to hit your fitness goals.

Starting is relatively simple. Don’t worry—you don’t need to be an experienced hiker or a military veteran to get going!

Choose The Right Gear

Gear up! Rucking requires a bit of equipment but nothing too extreme. Your main investment will be a good-quality rucksack. You’ll also want weight to put inside it. The weight you choose should be based on your current fitness level and the duration and difficulty of your planned hike.

Make sure your rucksack can support the weight you’re adding. And never overlook the importance of good shoes because foot health and comfort are paramount when you’ll be on your feet for extended periods.

Set Your Workout Plan

Next, plan your workout. Just like any exercise routine, you’ll want a plan in place to help you hit your goals. Decide on the following:

  • The mileage you want to cover
  • The amount of weight you’ll carry
  • The terrain you’ll take (should be decided based on your conditioning and the amount of weight you’re carrying)

Monitoring Progress

Last but not least: track, track, track. You’ll want to monitor your progress. Use any fitness app or device to keep an eye on calories burned, distance covered, and time taken. This tracking gives you objective data to make sure you’re consistently pushing your limits.

Rucking Gear and Equipment

Let’s talk gear. In simple terms, rucking requires nothing more than a sturdy backpack and weight. But if you’re thinking of turning rucking into a regular routine, investing in equipment designed for this unique form of cardio will make the difference.

A Proper Rucking Backpack

Choosing the right backpack for rucking is a game changer. The better the backpack fits your body, the more improved your endurance will be. Look for a backpack with adjustable padded straps, back ventilation, and a compartment to properly secure the weight. An extra pocket for water bottles will also come handy. Ignore overly complex features, you’ll need rugged simplicity over gimmicks.

Weight Selection

In the beginning, it’s best to start small with the weights. A common starting point is around 10 percent of your body weight. As you develop strength and stamina, you can gradually increase your ruck weight. You can use traditional weights like plates or kettlebells but specially designed ruck plates are also available that securely fit into your backpack, which can make the weight distribution more even.

Footwear and Clothing

The right pair of shoes is equally important – comfort meets durability is vital. A pair of supportive hiking or trail-running shoes with a firm grip will do the trick. As far as clothing is concerned, opt for breathable fabrics which can help regulate body temperature and keep moisture at bay during your ruck session.

Hydration and Nutrition

Staying hydrated is paramount while rucking. As you’ll be sweating more than usual, it is recommended to intake plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration. Conveniently, most rucking bags come with a hydration bladder. Including protein-rich snacks for post-workout recovery in your rucking gear is a wise move.

Transitioning to the next gear section, let’s see some optimal rucking plans and strategies.


So you’ve got the lowdown on rucking. You’ve learned the importance of the right gear, from adjustable backpacks to supportive shoes, and the need for proper hydration and nutrition. You’ve also discovered how to start small with weights and progressively challenge yourself. Remember, rucking is not just about the physical exertion, it’s also a strategy game. It’s about planning your sessions, managing your resources, and pushing your limits. As you embark on your rucking journey, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you make the most of your workouts, ensuring you get the best results. Now, it’s time to get out there and start rucking!

What is the basic gear needed for rucking?

The basic gear needed for rucking includes a backpack with adjustable padded straps, back ventilation, and a compartment for weights, supportive hiking or trail-running shoes, and breathable clothing.

How should beginners start with rucking weights?

Beginners should start rucking with small weights. As they build stamina and strength, the ruck weight should be gradually increased.

What type of clothing is best for rucking?

Breathable clothing is the best for rucking. It keeps the body comfortable during the workout.

What is an important nutrition tip for post-workout recovery?

Including protein-rich snacks in your post-workout meal is important for recovery. These help to repair the muscles that have been strained during your rucking session.

What’s a good strategy to stay hydrated while rucking?

Staying hydrated during rucking is crucial. Keep a water bottle in your ruck or invest in a hydration bladder to sip water throughout your workout.

What are some general rucking plans and strategies?

The article transitions to this topic after discussing gears and nutrition, but precise plans and strategies depend on individual fitness levels and goals. The idea is to start with manageable weights and distances, gradually increasing over time.


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