Rucking, a cornerstone of military training, is a test of endurance that has been adopted by fitness enthusiasts worldwide. This exercise, originally designed for US Army soldiers, involves a 12-mile march completed within 3 hours, all while carrying a weighted pack. It's not just a physical challenge, but a test of morale as well.
If you're looking to embrace a tactical lifestyle and stay fit, rucking is the perfect choice. Our comprehensive "Rucking 101" guide will help you dive into this fantastic fitness trend!
The Awesome Benefits of the Rucking Workout
Rucking has transcended its military origins to become a popular fitness activity. It's a demanding workout that involves walking long distances with a weighted pack, offering a plethora of health benefits.
Like other strenuous exercises, rucking strengthens your heart, enhances blood circulation, and builds cardiovascular endurance. It's an effective calorie burner that can help you achieve a leaner physique and improved muscle tone. You'll notice a significant boost in your stamina, particularly in your leg and core muscles. Plus, rucking can help correct your posture and align your back.
Beyond physical fitness, rucking also promotes mental strength. It requires discipline and determination—valuable life skills that can be honed through this workout.
Rucking stands out from other fitness activities due to its low-impact nature. Unlike running and other high-impact sports, rucking is gentler on the joints and feet, reducing the risk of injury, provided you don't overload your pack.
To prepare for rucking, start with regular walking exercises. As a beginner, your ruck pack should carry a load equivalent to about 10% of your body weight.
Rucking 101: Getting Started
Before you embark on your rucking journey, ensure you're comfortable walking long distances. Rucking is an excellent way to up the ante on your regular exercise routine, but it's not recommended for fitness novices. You should be able to comfortably complete a 3-mile walk within an hour before you start rucking.
Once you're ready, invest in a tactical rucksack. While army soldiers use military rucksacks, a tactical backpack is a suitable alternative. The key is to have a sturdy backpack that can handle weights.
As a beginner, start with a lighter load in your tactical rucksack. The Army typically uses packs loaded with 30% of a person's body weight, but you should start with a pack carrying 10% of your body weight.
During your initial ruck marches, aim for 1-2 miles. Gradually increase your distance with each march, but remember, slow and steady wins the race. As you progress, you can aim for 3-4 miles per march. For beginners, a pace of 20 minutes per mile is recommended, while the target pace for US Army soldiers is 15 minutes per mile.
Dealing with the Risks of Rucking
Despite being a low-impact exercise, rucking does come with potential risks. Overdoing it can lead to injuries instead of improved fitness. Carrying a load that's too heavy or pushing yourself beyond your limits can result in neck, shoulder, lower body, or lower back pain.
To avoid these risks, listen to your body and don't push beyond your comfort zone. Proper footwear, particularly shoes that provide excellent ankle support, can also help. Complement your rucking workout with strength training exercises, either weight trainingor bodyweight exercises. The stronger your body, the less likely you are to experience undue stress and strain during your ruck march.
How Can Rucking Be Socially Stimulating?
To make your rucking workout more similar to the Army exercise, consider doing it in a group! Rucking can be a socially stimulating activity that builds camaraderie and enhances morale. The collective effort of a group can be a powerful motivator.
As rucking gains popularity, finding a local rucking group has become easier. Look for a group in your local tactical lifestyle community. If you can't find one, why not start your own? Share the benefits of rucking with your friends and invite them to join you in this military-grade workout.
The Perfect Outdoor Activity
Rucking is not just a workout; it's a perfect outdoor activity. If you choose to ruck on hiking trails, you'll enjoy nature and fresh air while achieving your exercise goals. Combining workouts with outdoor experiences can have significant benefits for your mental health.
If you plan to ruck in nature, remember to pack your tactical rucksack with more than just weights. Plan your pack for an outdoor workout, including essentials like drinking water.
Has our "Rucking 101" guide inspired you to load up your tactical rucksack and start marching? Rucking is a beneficial activity with few downsides. Regular workouts will soon have you feeling stronger and healthier, while also improving your mental outlook. It's an exercise everyone should try, if they can. So, why wait? Start your rucking journey today!