New fitness apps seem to be popping up all the time. I know when I go to the App Store, I see the newest and latest app suggestions for workouts, hiking, and more. Unfortunately, there isn’t one or a few rucking-specific apps for your smart device like there are for running, hiking, and other workouts.
There are, however, several fitness apps you can use to track your rucks. Why do you want a rucking app?
You can use an app for rucking to see how many calories you are burning, which trails/routes you’ve walked, your pace and time spent rucking, and more. Then you can analyze the data to see how your rucking training is going and where you can improve.
In this article, you’ll learn what rucking is and the benefits of this kind of workout. Then I’ve got the 5 best rucking apps for iOS & Android to get you started.
What You'll Learn
What Is Rucking?
Rucking, also called foot marching or a loaded march, is a popular form of cardio exercise where the rucker (you) walks, hikes, or runs while carrying a weighted backpack (rucksack or ruck). Rucking is accessible and cost-effective since you only need good footwear, a ruck, and a ruck plate (or other weighted items like soup cans) to get started. Apart from being a workout for your heart, rucking builds muscle strength and improves your endurance.
The origins of rucking can be found in the military world where ruck marching forms one pillar of their fitness regimen and drills to make soldiers strong and build stamina and endurance. Soldiers need these skills in particular when they need to carry heavy loads over diverse, and often tough, terrain.
In more recent years, rucking has become a popular form of exercise among the regular folk – like you and me. What I like about rucking is that it’s such a versatile workout. I can:
24 Benefits of Rucking
If you want to try rucking, I’ve got some good news for you! You can start today or this weekend. All you need is active wear, good quality rucking footwear, a rucksack or backpack, weights, and an action plan.
Plus, if you are in good physical shape, it’s fairly easy to transition from walking, running, or hiking to rucking – with proper training.
Want to know what benefits rucking has for you before you start marching? (Not really marching per se, unless you want to.)
There are at least 24 benefits to reap when you go rucking. Rucking:
- Is an excellent form of cardio (A study found that rucking increases your cardiorespiratory and energy output)
- Improves bone density
- Helps build back, core, glute, quad, and shoulder muscle
- Is easier on your joints (than running, for example)
- Can be combined with other workout styles, like cross training or yoga so you have a well-balanced workout training program
- Can help protect your body against injuries – provided you ruck with the right posture, don’t carry too much weight for your body weight and strength, distribute weight well by having a backpack with padded, non-flexible, and wide shoulder straps and a hip belt, and more
- Will test your character and help you increase what you are capable of (or think you are capable of)
- Equates to time spent outdoors, and there are a host of other benefits when you spend time in nature
- Burns more calories than going walking or hiking
- Helps you lose weight
- Improves your balance as you need to move with purpose, hold the correct posture, engage your core muscles and legs, and move over easy and rough terrain
- Increases your proprioception, which is your brain’s awareness of your body’s movement and position in your environment
- Is a low intensity exercise, which is ideal for anyone who doesn’t like or can’t do high intensity workouts
- Can be a solo workout or a social one if you join ruck groups
- Improves your posture as the weighted ruck helps pull your back and shoulders into the right alignment
- Disconnects you from technology, which improves stress and provides an opportunity to be grateful and appreciate your surroundings
- Helps you explore new places
- Improves your self-esteem and self-confidence as your brain will naturally produce more dopamine, a hormone that makes you feel good since it affects your mood, motivation, and sense of reward
- A great way to take your pooch out for a walk and spend some time with your furry bestie
- Gives you a way to challenge yourself – you can ruck faster, ruck uphill, and gradually increase how much weight you carry
- Is a natural, functional exercise that helps you with everyday movements and activities
- Has a quick recovery time in comparison to other workouts like strength training, CrossFit, and HIIT (high intensity interval training)
- Improves sleep
- Can be done anywhere, anytime, even when you travel
The 5 Best Rucking Apps
Called the “#1 app for runners and cyclists,” you can use Strava to track your rucks too since the app can track 31 exercise types.
You can share the route you rucked and track your fitness stats when it syncs with your device, like an Apple Watch, Garmin, Polo, or Fitbit tracker. I like that you can get stats like your heart rate, moving time, pace, distance, elevation gain, calories burned, and more.
The app is easy to use. You can also customize your homepage feed, “favorite” people, and get notifications when someone uploads an activity.
Key Features of Strava
There’s a free version of Strava with limited features and a Premium version, which is $7.99/month or $59.999/year.
I love Relive, and it’s one of the apps I use in conjunction with another fitness tracker. Relive lets you track your outdoor activities, and you can create stories of each activity with the photos you take, captions you write, the map Relive records, and a tune.
Plus, you can turn your activity into a 3D video, which looks super cool when sharing it on your feed in the app, another social media platform, or with friends via your messaging app. You can also connect and follow your friends on Relive.
Key Features of Relive
The free version of Relive lets you track your activity, take photos, see your highlights, and create a video, while Relive Plus offers a lot more customization options for photos, music, video quality and more. Sign up for the 30-day free trial of Relive Plus, or subscribe for $6.99/month or $38.99/year.
ASICS Runkeeper is another great rucking app. You can set goals, plan how you want to achieve them, and track your rucks.
Runkeeper tracks your time, calories, distance, current and average pace, and more, and with audio cues, you’ll stay motivated and on track. I like the idea of the audio cues part.
Key Features of Runkeeper
You can choose to use the free version of Runkeeper, try out the full app via the free trial, or pay $9.99 for Runkeeper Go Monthly or $39.99 for Runkeeper Go Yearly.
AllTrails is one of the best hiking apps, so that’s why I’ve included it here. Choose the hiking option when you go rucking since this app also doesn’t have a rucking option.
The app features 300,000+ trail maps, including photos and reviews. You can easily choose the best trail for your fitness level.
Your phone (via AllTrails) records your ruck, and you get stats like distance, duration, and elevation gain. You can also share your rucking adventure with your family and friends on Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms.
Key Features of AllTrails
Use AllTrails for free, or get access to the app’s premium features with the Pro membership plan at $29.99/year, with your first 7 days being free (like a trial).
5. MapMyRun or MapMyWalk
MapMyRun is a fitness app by Under Armour that tracks your rucking activity in terms of stride length, cadence, pace, elevation gain, calories, and more. You can log your ruck workout with your phone, Apple Watch, Garmin, or another fitness tracker via the App.
The app also features a community so you can “friend” your friends, create challenges, and find the motivation and support you need to keep going.
What I like about the MapMy apps is that MapMyWalk and MapMyFitness are other fitness apps by Under Armour that offer the same features and functionality. Each app, however, is tailored slightly more toward its specific audience. You can use any of the MapMy apps to record your rucks as your activity is linked to your MapMy profile or account.
Key Features of MapMyRun
Use the MapMy apps for free, or sign up for the MVP monthly subscription at $5.99/month or the MVP annual subscription for $29.99/year.
Final Thoughts on the Best Rucking Apps for iOS & Android in 2022
It’s unfortunate that the best fitness apps don’t yet have an option to choose rucking as the activity you want to track. For now though, we can make do with other fitness apps like Strava, AllTrails, MapMyRun (or MapMyWalk or MapMyFitness), Runkeeper, and Relive.
Explore them all and choose the app that best suits your rucking needs. Just be sure to take advantage of the free trials before signing up for a membership.
And if you are curious about the pros and cons of running vs rucking, be sure to check out our rucking vs running article, which can also help you decide which exercise is better for you. Maybe it will be both?