How to Start Rucking [A Beginner’s Guide]

Your heart, body and mind crave exercise to remain healthy. This doesn’t have to be vigorous, either. Walking is a perfect form of exercise, as almost anybody in any physical shape, can do it. You can even do it every day if you wanted!

Walking provides an excellent cardiovascular workout… and if you step up your walking to rucking, this workout could fast become your favorite exercise plan ever! Not to mention the added rewards your body will reap.  

Rucking is a creative way to give your health and fitness routine a shot in the arm! So if you are one of many individuals who do not particularly like to exercise, but don’t mind walking, you may find rucking to be just what the doctor (or trainer) ordered to change the way you look at exercise.

What is Rucking?

Many individuals have never heard of the exercise concept of rucking. Other people have heard of this exercise, but don’t know what it’s all about.  And a small, but fast-growing, group of exercise enthusiasts participate in rucking regularly as a part of a larger group.

Rucking is a form of cardiovascular exercise incorporating calisthenics. Rucking targets many areas of the body, such as:

  • The heart muscles
  • The traps
  • Shoulders
  • Quads
  • Outer thighs
  • Calves
  • Glutes
  • Groin
  • Hips
  • Hamstrings
  • Mid-back

You do not need to invest in any high-priced exercise equipment to target all of these areas of the body.

A Bit of Background on Rucking

Rucking was born out of the military arena. Soldiers refer to the backpack used in rucking as a ruck pack.  During military training, men or women would load their ruck packs with heavy gear, weighing many pounds on their backs while trekking off to who knows where.  When incorporated into military training gradually, rucking helps to increase the endurance and strength of military personnel.

Rucking refers to walking with a loaded backpack that adds additional weight to the body, thus, burning more calories. This exercise helps military personnel increase their fitness and ability to survive successfully in the most rugged conditions.

Rucking for the non-military sector is one of the most beneficial and straightforward cardio workouts available. It is cheap and doesn’t require expensive equipment, other than a few essentials such as a backpack filled with added pounds and a quality pair of hiking boots. Rucking burns more calories, while building aerobic strength, because of the added pounds you’re carrying. 

What Are the Main Health Benefits of Walking/Rucking?

There is no other cardiovascular exercise that affects so many body areas than rucking does, by simply walking but adding weight to the body when walking. 

  • It strengthens the heart muscles.
  • It helps you burn calories.
  • It increases endurance.
  • It increases strength.
  • It helps to tone up the body.
  • It helps to improve the function of the heart muscles. 
  • Rucking offers excellent aerobic and cardiovascular fitness.
  • Rucking provides an introduction to meeting new friends who also embrace Rucking. 

Put Your Feet First When Rucking

Rucking success depends largely upon the quality of shoes you wear. Suppose you do not have quality walking or rucking shoes; your feet will pay the price and become sore. You can quickly develop blisters and sores that can easily become infected.

The type of shoes you buy can mean the difference between success and failure in your attempts at rucking. We strongly advise you to make this one necessary investment because the health of your feet is of the utmost importance. 

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There is no other cardiovascular exercise that affects so many body areas than rucking does, by simply walking but adding weight to the body when walking. 

While you need no special equipment to walk while training yourself for a ruck, you will need a pair of good-quality hiking boots or shoes. Your choice of shoes depends on the surface you are walking or rucking. 

Everyone has preferences for what type of surface they enjoy walking when rucking. While pavement is the most common surface on which many ruckers walk, other surfaces like stones, sand, bricks, concrete, dirt, and rock trails are areas that heighten the challenge for ruckers.

Serious ruckers frequently opt to walk on sand because sand requires you to use more energy, which means:

  • You’ll burn additional calories 
  • Encounter more resistance
  • Works in strengthening all muscle groups
  • Help to improve balance and stability

There are other benefits to rucking on the sand as well. Think of it as getting a pedicure, leaving the skin on your feet feeling smooth.  Rucking on the sand with the ocean waves to your side seems to renew your spirit, giving your energy level a boost.

A Step by Step Rucking for Beginners’ Guide Starts with an Excellent Cardio Routine

As with all exercise plans, you must set some goals to physically and mentally prepare for rucking. It is best to have specific goals in mind before you begin your plan of attack to achieve success. 

  • This goal can be to lose weight by setting a loss of weight goal in a set time. 
  • Your goal could be to increase your overall strength. 
  • You may yearn to increase your endurance. 
  • Perhaps you have lung issues, and your goal is to increase your lung capacity. 
  • Maybe your goal is all of the above reasons you want to start exercising in the simplest terms. 

It’s also a good idea to consult with your doctor if you have any questions about starting a new exercise routine.  Your doctor may also want to monitor your progress if you have any underlying health issues.

How to Start Rucking: A Beginners Guide

  1. Make a plan or plan your route. Setting up a walking strategy makes you stick to your goal. Planning allows you to remain organized in your exercise endeavors.
  2. Choose a comfortable pair of hiking boots or shoes.
  3. Be sure to wear a comfortable pair of thick socks to help cushion your feet. 
  4. Prepare your favorite water to carry in your backpack.
  5. Choose a comfortable ruck pack (backpack).
  6. Fill with weights equivalent to 10 percent of your body weight.
  7. Maintain excellent posture when rucking; Keep head up, shoulder down, and back.
  8. Utilize your arms for balance and consistent speed.
  9. Never run.
  10. Walk at a brisk and consistent rate. 
  11. Eat three balanced meals per day with three nutritious snacks between meals.
  12. Drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water daily. Drink more water when actively rucking. It is easy to become dehydrated. 

If you are new to rucking, please baby-step your daily walks and never overdo the length of your walk. Perhaps start out walking for ten minutes the first couple of days. You know how long of a walk you can tolerate. 

You will realize better success if you gradually increase the weight in your backpack. You can start by adding five pounds of weight to your pack. If you can add ten percent of your body weight, that is excellent.

You can use the following things to add weight to your rucksack (backpack): bricks, weight plates, or dumbbells are excellent sources of additional weight. The rule of thumb is to work up to carrying an extra 20 pounds in your ruck pack. However, this may prove too much for a first-time rucking beginner.

It is essential to stabilize the weight in the backpack. Adjust the pack straps so that your bag sits higher on your back.

Remember that adding weight to your ruck may change your calculations of how far you can walk or for how long. Gage your daily walk according to the pace your body sets for you. Rucking for two miles generally results in apace of 20 minutes per mile for most ruckers. A longer ruck is perfectly OK too. When starting out, a shorter ruck is recommended. 

Gear is Key

As your rucking for beginners increases, you may feel a need to outfit yourself better, especially in colder temperatures, by layering on clothing. You do not need to invest in any high-priced exercise equipment to target all of these areas of the body. All you need is some essential rucking gear that helps to keep you healthy and fit, such as the following items. 

GoRuck offers a wide selection of all essential rucking equipment, designed to make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Their products are high quality and made to last, making it easier for you to advance in your rucking adventures.  Here are some of the top products to consider:

Final thoughts on Rucking for Beginners

Converting your walking routine into a full-blowing rucking obsession requires some education, legwork and advanced training on your part. After all, you are entering a new and more productive level of exercise!

Rucking can have its challenges in the beginning, especially as you get used to walking with added weight… but the end results are worth it! Things like better overall fitness, new friendships and challenging your body and mind.

This article provided you with a plethora of information on rucking for beginners, but it may not be a bad idea to find forums and community rucking groups to lend added support as you’re starting out.  It’s also a good idea to increase the difficulty of your walks before jumping into rucking… as it really is the foundation you’ll need to be successful.

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