Benefits Of Rucking: 13 Reasons To Try This Exercise!

Rilor Staff
Update: April 12, 2021
Table of Contents

What are the benefits of rucking? Is it a suitable outdoor activity that you should pursue?

The short answer is yes. 

But of course, I am going to explain its perks in detail. For starters, rucking is a form of exercise that involves carrying a weighted backpack for long distances. Rucksacks can range in weight from 1 to 40 pounds, depending on the length of the hike or mission. 

The benefits of rucking are many and varied, so let's take a look at some of the most important provisions to your mind and body. 

What Is Rucking?

Before we highlight the benefits of rucking, allow me to give you an overview of this particular exercise.

Rucking is a form of walking or hiking that involves wearing a weighted backpack. While it's not a new form of exercise by any means, rucking is becoming increasingly popular, especially among soldiers and first responders. 

Rucking is typically thought of as a form of aerobic exercise. While that's not entirely wrong, rucking is more than just walking with a weight on your back. In fact, rucking is a whole-body workout that can help you burn calories, build muscles, and improve your cardiovascular health. 

Rucking is not only beneficial for outdoor enthusiasts and military professionals, though. It also provides an easy way for almost anyone to get in shape, whether you're training for a physical fitness test or you just want to try a new hobby!

How Is Rucking Related To Military Backpacking?

Rucking came about as a method of getting fit during military boot camp. Soldiers had to be prepared to march for miles and miles with a pack on their back, and rucking training helped your body get used to the physical stress of that. 

Nowadays, rucking is a fun, non-competitive way to get fit that harkens back to military roots. And, you can do it anywhere: in your city, around your neighborhood, or even on the trails.

When individuals participate in rucking, they are often watched by other people, as is common in a military setting. As a result, rucking is an exercise that demands a great deal of endurance and strength. However, rucking is also a stress reliever for many people, as military backpacking can be. 

What Is The Proper Form Of Ruck Marching?

The proper form of ruck marching has been the subject of much debate in the rucking community, as more and more people are taking up this popular fitness activity. Many ruckers who have been doing the sport for years have noted that the way they ruck march is how it's supposed to be done. 

However, nobody can argue that the correct form of ruck marching is walking with a rucksack on your back. Specifically, you need the central mass of the load near you.

It is also recommended that you put the weight in the lower part of the pack so that it would be within your hip level. But at the same time, others prefer to put the load higher because they find it comfortable. Once you get used to rucking, you can experiment with different load placement. 

Don't forget that the weight should be balanced from both sides. As much as possible, you have to make it secure. It should not move or wobble around. 

Benefits Of Rucking

This time, allow me to discuss the several health benefits of rucking.

1. It Is Simple

Rucking is the best activity for you if you prioritize simplicity. You simply need the right rucking backpack, some weights, and a pair of rugged rucking shoes, and you are good to go. It is not similar to other physical exercises and fitness routines where you need to invest a lot. 

2. It Is Generally Cheap

How much are the gym fees these days? Probably the membership fees monthly of a standard gym goes from a hundred bucks or more. In some places, a day in the gym could cost you roughly $10 at least. 

Now, are these prices worth paying for fitness? Probably yes. Probably not. 

But if you are living frugal, such amounts might not be suitable for you. Hence, rucking becomes an excellent alternative. As mentioned, you only have simple amenities for this exercise. A pair of good shoes and a rucker would be enough to sustain you for years. That's a one-time investment for long-term use!

3. You Can Do It Anywhere And Anytime You Want

Rucking is usually done on a trail, on the road, or a track. Some choose the road or the track, while others prefer to ruck on a trail. But where is the best place to ruck? The truth is that there are many options. 

As long as there's enough for you to run or walk, you are free to ruck a load. And you don't have to be time-conscious, too. This exercise is doable in any part of the day. You can even ruck, regardless of the season!

4. You Can Do It During Your Travels

Unlike other forms of exercise, you can do rucking while you are away from your hometown. Going to other places for vacation is not an excuse for you to leave your ruck in your house. You can carry them while you are sightseeing or touring. It is very doable. 

In fact, you might encourage some locals and tourists in the area to do the same thing! And the best part of it is that it will never be illegal. I have yet to encounter a law that forbids rucking!

5. It Strengthens Your Cardio

When most people think of cardio, they think of treadmills and ellipticals. While those machines can burn a lot of calories, there are other ways of doing cardio that can be just as effective. 

One of them is rucking. As explained, this exercise is a method of walking that builds endurance and strength by rucking weighted backpacks. Although the military has used ruck marching for years to train their soldiers, civilians can also reap the benefits of this low-impact form of cardio.

In fact, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, adding a weighted backpack to your workout routine can help you lose weight and burn more calories than walking without a rucksack.

The weight that you carry also improves your overall strength. It can beef up your structure while enhancing the durability of your legs. Furthermore, it helps in the correct spine posture and the formation of your abdominal, shoulder, and lower back muscles.

6. Rucking Helps You Resist The Impacts Of Old Age

As people age, mobility becomes a problem. Many seniors lost their ability to walk or run due to the deterioration of bones and muscles. Moreover, it is difficult for them to balance because their hips and pelvis are becoming unstable. 

If you are rucking properly, you will be able to maintain your muscles and bones' health. It helps in keeping your strength and endurance at the top level. Rucking also helps enhance your "endurance muscles," which will have a positive effect in your old age.

But even if you are still young, you can experience these benefits already. Specifically, the muscle conditioning provided by rucking can make you more resistant to injuries. A strong spine and core can protect you from any bone and muscle-related hazards while sporting and adventuring.

7. You Can Pair It With Other Bodyweight Exercises

Rucking can be done simultaneously with other exercises. You can use the weight in the backpack for an upper body regimen. Alternatively, you can also bring calisthenics while you are lifting a load. It is also possible to use a suspension trainer while rucking. In this way, you will be able to do lower body exercises anywhere you want. 

Here are some of the exercises that you can do while rucking:

  • Pushups
  • Backpack swings
  • Backpack rows
  • Overhead presses
  • Burpees

8. Anyone Can Do It

Of course, I have to emphasize that rucking is for everyone. Even children can do it. 

After all, you don't need to start heavy in rucking. You don't need to impress anyone. You can start light, which means that you can encourage your friends and family to do the same thing. 

But depending on your physical capabilities, you can ruck heavy loads right from the get-go. 

Before you start rucking, consult your attending doctor first. Histories of injuries may prevent you from rucking. 

9. Rucking Is A Natural Exercise

Humans are designed to lift heavy objects on their backs. Back in the day, people don't have machines and devices that do the carrying for them. Hence, they have no other option but to carry their things on their backs. Farmers have to lift sacks of rice. Hunters used to bag their trophies on their posterior. 

And did these things ruin their health? They didn't. In fact, it strengthened their bodies. 

The only thing that ruins your health is being sedentary. Eating junk while not exercising is a primary cause of illness. Before you look at the difficulties of rucking, take a look at the benefits that it can give you. 

Again, let emphasize that rucking is a natural form of exercise that our bodies are designed to. You'll get used to it eventually. 

10. It Trains The Shoulder

The shoulder complex is made up of three joints–the acromioclavicular joint, the sternoclavicular joint, and the glenohumeral joint–as well as numerous muscles. When these three joints and the muscles that surround them work together, they form a unit with many functions. You should train them properly to ensure that they remain fit to do the tasks that they are supposed to do.

Rucking is beneficial because it trains the shoulder joints and muscles. After all, they have to work together so that you can lift a weighted backpack correctly. Keep in mind that rucking is used by the military to prepare soldiers for combat situations where they might have to carry a heavy load for an extended period. Your shoulders and back are directly responsible for these tasks. 

When you ruck regularly, your shoulders benefit from it directly. And that's a good thing!

11. It Burns Calories Faster

Walking helps you burn calories. Running can do the same thing, too. However, rucking can do it better. 

The reason for this is quite simple. The presence of weights puts additional stress on your legs and upper body. Carrying heavy loads makes it difficult for someone to move. It would require a lot of energy to do so. Hence, it should not be a surprise that you are burning more calories while you are rucking than walking without weights. 

However, remember that the rate of calorie burn differs from one person to another. One of those factors is the weight. If you weigh more than another person, you will burn more calories.

12. Rucking Is A Social Activity

Rucking is a clever way to combine three things that most people love: walking, socializing, and fitness. As I said, anyone can do it. Hence, you are free to invite your family and friends to try the exercise. 

If you have no social proximities that are interested in rucking, you can join rucking clubs in your locality or community. I am pretty sure that you can find a circle that will accept you. 

13. Rucking Enlivens Your Mood

Among all the benefits of rucking, mood enlightenment is perhaps the most appealing and wholesome. Physical exercises that are done outside can improve your mood and relieve you from any form of stress.

According to multiple studies, prolonged stay in parks, forests, and peaceful environments can improve one's mental health. And not only that, but it also reduces your chances of acquiring cardiovascular diseases.

If your ruck during the daytime, you get enough Vitamin D dosage from the sun. That's more than enough reason to get this started on this exercise!

How To Get Better At Rucking?

Rucking is the act of walking with a weighted rucksack on your back. You'll see it referred to as GORUCK and GORUCK Challenge, and it's used to prepare people for a variety of real-life situations. 

It can be used for learning how to move under heavy load. It teaches learning how to move with a team, and it can even help you lose weight. Rucking is a great way to lose weight. It's also a great way to get in shape, stay in shape, or get back in shape. As with any exercise, the key is to have a plan.

Here are some of the things that can help you get better at this activity. 

Do It Slow

You don't need to rush in rucking. You can begin carrying at least 10% of your body weight. If you are 80 kilos, you can carry an 8-kilo load. The distance that you need to cover should not be too extensive. Start rucking for a mile or two. That should be enough for starters. 

Make Your Progress Gradual

You'll get better rucking if you continue adding weights to your backpack. You should add at least 3 kilos a week and improve your distance by a mile. The gradual increase should be enough to condition your body to the exhausting aspect of rucking.

Practice Proper Posture

Posture is important in rucking. It is a way of enabling yourself to handle the heavy load without experiencing any injuries and strains. 

You should practice standing straight, with your spine and head properly aligned. This is a simple yet effective means of preparing your body for rucking. While you are rucking, make sure that you don't lean your body too far forward. It can make things difficult for you. 

If you have issues with your posture, I suggest that you don't ruck. Consult your doctor on how to address this matter.

Do Stretching Exercises

Always remember that rucking is a low-intensity exercise. Slowly, it will wear your muscles. To prevent the cooling of your muscles while in a stiff and contracted position, you have to stretch after your rucking routine. 

Specifically, you have to stretch your hip muscles (i.e., groin flexors), hamstrings, and glutes. In this way, you will relieve your lower back from potential strains. Don't forget to stretch your calves, too, as rucking punishes them heavily!


The benefits of rucking are clear: it's a cheap, portable way to carry large loads, and it is a great way to tone the glutes and legs. It is an exercise that you can start now; you don't need to spend big for it, too. 

Your biggest investment in rucking is your determination to get better at this exercise! 

I hope that you learned from this guide. For other related inquiries, ask me in the comment section below.

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