There’s almost no workout program that promises to beat you into shape… that doesn’t incorporate a cardio plan or two.
For what it’s worth, cardio workout programs have been the vogue because they’re easily accessible in everyday life, and they deliver substantial results faster than other programs.
While aerobic workouts are considered old gold, not everyone is cut out for running. What if you could achieve the same benefits of running without actually running? The miracle exercise is called rucking. And, as a bonus, rucking promises more benefits than just keeping your heart in shape.
It’s simple. Rucking is wearing a backpack (the ruck) with some weight while going for a walk. It’s quite different from backpacking or even hiking. When you go rucking, the primary purpose is the physical training you get from the long march with a weighted backpack.
Rucking is often described as an Active Resistance Training (ART); it’s partly cardio and partly resistance-training. This ART of loaded marching has its origins in the military. Soldiers in the past, and even now, go on long marches on rugged terrain with their rucksacks (backpacks).
You don’t need much to get started on your first ruck. All you need are a comfortable backpack and some weights, which can come in any form — such as big old books, small rocks, sandbags, or iron plates. There’s no standard for what the weights have to be; once you have them, you can hit the road.
What Are the Benefits of Rucking?
While rucking sounds too easy, walking with a weighted backpack actually makes for a highly effective cardio-strength workout.
#1. Rucking improves your posture
If you spend long hours sitting in an office, chances are high that you’ve developed bad posture. Many nerds have this box checked. During rucking, the weight in the backpack helps pull your shoulders back and bring your center of mass over the hips. Regular rucking can help you achieve good posture, which is foundational to good movement.
#2. Rucking is easier on your joints
Your knee joints, that is. Running has been shown to be two-to-three times harder on your knees than rucking. “Runner’s knee” is a reality. With rucking, you can avoid the damage running does to your body and still burn almost the same amount of calories.
#3. Rucking improves your heart
Walking with a weighted backpack elevates your heart rate and has positive effects almost comparable to those of jogging. Rucking also gives you permanent metabolic gains from stronger muscles at a fraction of the cost to your knees, while improving your all-around work capacity and endurance.
#4. Rucking lets you enjoy the benefits of nature
Rucking, unlike most cardio workouts, can’t be done on a treadmill. Studies support that regular exercise, like rucking, can reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and even help reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Rucking rocks.
#5. Rucking builds your strength
As mentioned, anytime you go rucking, you’re also practically strength-training. Walking with the added weight on your back gives you both an upper-body and lower-body workout.
How Much Weight Do I Need to Ruck?
One of the most frequently asked questions for first-timers is the amount of weight that needs to be stuffed into their backpack.
If you haven’t engaged in much physical activity for a while, starting with a weight that’s roughly 10 percent of your body weight. So, if you weigh in at 180 pounds, you should pack in 18 pounds in your backpack on your first walk.
Each week, you can add five pounds until you hit 35-50 pounds, which is the advisable maximum.
Remember, rucking is a form of Active Resistance Training (ART), which means you benefit from active cardio and strength-training, combined. So what are you waiting for? Get out and ruck!
Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.