My walks are probably the most valuable part of my day—the mental benefit is unmatched, and taking a walk has a way of helping me think through complex problems and come up with creative ideas.
But sometimes I want a little more. So, I’ve taken up rucking, which is walking with a weighted backpack. I wanted to put together a quick Q&A about rucking, and you can decide whether you want to add some oomph to your walks and hikes.
Let’s jump right in.
Pic below: Getting ready to walk to a local park where our HQ is located. On the weekends, I like to hit the woods and walk up and down the hills for a tougher challenge.
What does rucking do for your body?
Rucking is a great way to get a full-body workout. It works your legs, back, and core, and can even help improve your posture. Rucking can also be a great way to burn calories and lose weight.
Does rucking build muscle?
Rucking does build muscle, particularly in the legs and back. Rucking also requires a great deal of core strength to maintain good form, so the abdominal muscles are also engaged during rucking.
Rucking is not primarily an exercise for building muscle mass; it is primarily a cardiovascular endurance activity. If you want to put on serious muscle, you’ll have to add weight training to your routine.
If I want to start rucking, do I have to buy a special pack?
You can use a basic backpack and put something heavy into it, like water bottles or small weight plates. Or, you can buy a rucksack that’s made specifically to ruck comfortably.
How long should you ruck for?
How long you ruck for depends on your fitness level and goals. If you are new to rucking, start with shorter distances and work up to longer ones. If you are looking to improve your cardiovascular endurance, aim for 30-60 minutes of continuous rucking. For a more intense workout, try interval training, where you alternate between periods of walking fast and periods of walking at a slower pace. You can even add in squats or calf raises to mix things up.
How much weight should you carry?
Again, this depends on your fitness level and goals. A good rule of thumb is to start with 10-20% of your body weight and work up from there. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, start with 15 pounds in your rucksack and gradually add more weight as you get stronger. Remember to focus on posture and proper form to avoid injury.
Is rucking as good as running?
There is no definitive answer. It depends on your individual fitness goals. Many people find that rucking is a more versatile and sustainable workout than running, because it can be done anywhere and does not put as much strain on the body.
The aging population may particularly benefit from rucking over running because it’s easier on the joints than the pounding and impact that comes with running.
These are the questions that I came up with, but if there’s anything else you want to know about rucking, hit reply and ask. I’m no expert, but I am consistent with it and I’m happy to share what I know.
Keep crushing your health and fitness goals!