Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Rucking

Rucking is a great way to burn calories and build strength. It also helps to get you outdoors, which can reduce stress levels and improve mental health.

The roots of rucking are military – timed marching with heavy loads of equipment is part of the selection process for Army Ranger, Navy SEALs and other elite units. However, it’s not something to jump into without proper preparation.

1. It’s a Sport

The ruck is a physical contest between opposing teams for possession of the ball. It involves players on both sides of the field, and it’s the lowest man who usually wins the contest. The team on attack wants to win the ruck and speed up play by clearing it out and moving the ball forward. The team on defense, however, may try to slow the ruck down or gain possession of the ball so that they can counterattack.

The key to rucking is using the correct technique. The best way to join a ruck is through the gate, which means that you’re coming in directly behind your last teammate. You must also make sure that you’re not taking a shortcut and entering the ruck from the side or diagonally. This is considered a penalty offence. You should also avoid collapsing the ruck. This can disorganize the opposition and cause them to lose the ball, as well as putting you at risk of a penalty kick from the referee.

One of the great things about rucking is that it’s a functional exercise, meaning that it incorporates movements that we use in everyday life. In addition, rucking is low-impact and easy on the joints. Plus, you don’t need a gym membership or access to trails to get started. All you need is a backpack and some weight to begin rucking. Start out with a small load and gradually increase your weight as you get stronger. This is a great alternative to a traditional weighted workout in the gym, and it will give you an incredible total-body workout that’s both fun and effective. Plus, you’ll be able to get out into nature, which has been proven to reduce stress and help you sleep better at night.

2. It’s a Way of Life

Rucking is a great low-impact exercise that can be done by anyone who can walk and requires no special equipment. Rucking combines the low- to moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory activity of walking with muscular strength training by carrying a loaded backpack (or weighted vest). As such, it burns calories, improves aerobic capacity and strengthens lower-body and core muscles. In addition, it can help reduce the risk of age-related health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and sarcopenia.

It’s also a fun way to get outside, explore new places and socialize with friends. In addition, rucking provides a challenge that can help improve mental health by serving as a stress reliever. It is also reported to promote self-esteem by increasing feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

If a person is just getting started with rucking, they should start by incorporating it into their workouts with a rucksack that weighs 10% of their bodyweight. For example, if a person weighs 160 pounds, they should start with an 8-pound rucksack. As they progress, they can gradually increase the weight. However, McCarthy warns against going above one-third of the bodyweight, as this will put unnecessary strain on the joints and back.

Rucking is also a great workout for people who prefer hiking to running as it has the same cardiovascular benefits without putting too much stress on the joints. In fact, rucking can actually burn more calories per hour than running. In addition, rucking can help strengthen the hips and glutes, improve bone density, strengthen the shoulders and core muscles and promote overall flexibility. It is also a great way to build a strong base for higher-intensity activities, such as hiking and jogging.

3. It’s a Great Exercise

Rucking is an excellent exercise, particularly for those who aren’t fans of running or high-intensity workouts. Aside from the cardio work that gets your heart rate up, the additional resistance of the weight in the ruck pack also helps build muscle. While it will most notably tax your legs (quads, hamstrings and glutes), it’s also an excellent upper body workout for your shoulders, back and core. In addition, it’s an activity that’s particularly great for weight loss! And while you may think that walking with weight in a backpack would be too easy, rucking is actually very challenging.

For beginners, it’s best to start with a load that isn’t too heavy. You don’t want to irritate your back and knees too much. However, as your client progresses, you can add more and more weight to your rucksack. Aim for a fighting load, which is typically 30 percent of your bodyweight, to simulate the type of workload soldiers carry in combat.

Because it’s a low-impact form of cardio, rucking is a fantastic option for those with joint problems or who can’t run. As a form of weight-bearing exercise, it also promotes bone density and improves coordination. It’s important to remember that, as with any exercise, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional before you start rucking regularly.

Rucking is an excellent way to train for the demands of combat and outdoor adventures. By adding a load to your ruck, you’ll be developing and strengthening the muscles that will help you move under load in combat and in life. Moreover, you’re building the endurance muscles that will keep you mobile in old age. That’s something everyone should aim for.

4. It’s Fun

Rucking can be a fun challenge to set goals and work toward, and it’s a great alternative to repetitive gym workouts that may grow monotonous. It’s not hard to get started, and you don’t need specialized gear. You can use any standard backpack and add weight to it, starting out light and gradually increasing the load as your fitness level improves. If you’re ready for a more challenging experience, consider buying a pack designed specifically for rucking or ruck marching such as the GORUCK range of packs. These are specially designed with wide straps for comfort and a system that distributes the weight evenly over the shoulders and back to minimize strain.

In addition to promoting strength and balance, rucking burns calories. Ruck marching over off-road terrain with a heavier pack can burn 2-3 times more calories than just walking, according to experienced ruckers. And you can increase the calorie burn by hiking faster and including uphill stretches, or by adding extra weight to your ruck pack or weighted vest.

You can also add a competitive edge to your rucking sessions by setting challenges for yourself or other ruckers. The community that rucking fosters is another reason many people take up the sport. For example, the Seattle Ruck Club—founded in 2021 by veterans Brandon Uttech and Chris Rose—hosts weekly rucking meetups at the West Seattle Thistle Street stairs to encourage camaraderie in addition to boosting endurance and strength.

As a bonus, rucking gets you outside for exercise, which helps to reduce stress and can improve sleep quality at night, according to research. Plus, spending time in nature has been shown to improve mood and boost the absorption of calcium for stronger bones.

5. It’s Competitive

If you’re looking for a competitive edge, rucking is the perfect way to challenge yourself. The grueling workout requires both strength and mental toughness, as you must carry a heavy load while walking through rough terrain. But rucking isn’t just about brute strength—it also helps improve posture and balance. To take your rucking to the next level, try adding some strength training to your workout. Incorporate bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups to increase the calorie burn and target your core and back muscles.

Rucking is a great way to get out and explore the outdoors, where you can immerse yourself in nature while getting an incredible exercise. If you’re a beginner, start with a short distance and light weight and gradually increase both the duration and intensity of your rucks as your fitness level improves.

Be sure to pack a backpack that’s comfortable for long rucks and has plenty of storage space for your food, water, and gear. Consider packing the heaviest items closer to your center of gravity and higher up in your rucksack, as this will reduce strain on your shoulders and back. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your rucks to prevent dehydration. It’s a good idea to monitor your urine color, as a dark yellow color indicates dehydration.

Rucking has become so popular that it’s even become a competition. The GORUCK Games is a series of challenging obstacle races and rucks with points awarded for speed and completion times. Whether you’re competing in the GORUCK Games or simply rucking to improve your outdoor fitness, rucking is a great way to challenge yourself and stay healthy. Be sure to wear proper footwear, pack plenty of water and snacks, and keep an eye on your feet for blisters.