Benefits of Rucking? - MTN OPS Benefits of Rucking? - MTN OPS

Benefits of Rucking?

Apr 02, 2024

By Truett Hanes

Rucking, which involves walking or hiking with a weighted backpack or rucksack, offers several benefits and we'll explore a few below:

  1. Cardiovascular Fitness: Rucking provides a low-impact cardiovascular workout that helps improve heart health and stamina. The added weight increases the intensity of the exercise, leading to a more effective cardiovascular workout compared to regular walking. This type of Zone 2 training leads to an increased cardiovascular foundation which will benefit you in all related endurance training sessions.

  2. Strength Building: Carrying a weighted backpack engages various muscle groups, including the legs, glutes, core, and upper body. Over time, this can lead to improved strength and muscle endurance, particularly in the legs and lower back. This is a no-brainer, but if you're an outdoor-focused person then you're very familiar with this type of exercise. Whether it be hunting or hiking into a camping spot with supplies on your back, you understand the difficulty rucking can provide. Difficulty that over time will increase strength, mental fortitude and applies extremely well to real-life situations. It's no secret that hunters can be among the toughest of us and that comes from things such as having a weighted pack and covering distance, which is essentially what rucking is.

  3. Calorie Burn: Rucking burns more calories than regular walking due to the added weight and increased intensity. It can be an effective way to burn calories and aid in weight loss or weight maintenance efforts. It's like walking with resistance. You can go as heavy as you want, but typically people will start with 20 pounds and work their way up to 50 pounds for a solid endurance session. Having the weight on your back leads to more stress on the body and more stress leads to more calories being burned. Up the weight to experience a more difficult workout, but don't risk injuring yourself with going too heavy.

  4. Mental Resilience: Rucking can also provide mental benefits, such as improved focus, stress relief, and increased resilience. The challenge of carrying a heavy load over varying terrain can help build mental toughness and discipline. A simple understanding of this is to look at the US military. They have a giant focus on rucking and being able to cover distance for time with a ruck on their back. If the military does it, then you know it's for a functional reason. It applies to real-life scenarios and will make your body and kind sharper because of it.

  5. Bone Density: Weight-bearing exercises like rucking can help increase bone density, which is important for overall bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Regular lifting of weights will give you a similar benefit of more durable bones, but rucking has been shown to increase bone density as well. A good blend between weightlifting and rucking is recommended.

  6. Functional Fitness: Rucking mimics real-world activities like carrying groceries, hiking with a loaded backpack, or emergency situations where you might need to carry heavy items for an extended period. It helps improve functional fitness, making everyday tasks easier to perform. Train functionally and you'll be prepared for functional-training moments. You will hardly ever rise to the occasion, but you'll instead fall to the level of your training. Ruck so you can be better equipped for the moments that may arise in your life or hobbies.

  7. Accessibility: Rucking can be done almost anywhere, whether on trails, sidewalks, or urban environments. All you need is a backpack and some weight, making it a convenient and accessible form of exercise. It's as simple as it gets: grab some weight and get moving. 

This incorporation of rucking into your workout schedule will only make you a more versatile athlete. You should train so when moments arise where you actually need strength and endurance, you will be prepared. Rucking does a great job at preparing you for real-life scenarios and you'll be thankful that you made the decision to start walking regularly with weight on your back. Now go get some weight and get walking!