19 Benefits I Experienced From Rucking

Photo Courtesy: C.C. Chapman

Rucking continues to gain popularity globally. It started as a form of military training and has transcended into everyday people rucking to work on their fitness.

People ruck for many different reasons but we’re here to highlight all the benefits you can expect should you join the club and start rucking!

Here are the benefits of rucking:

1- Rucking is Easy To Start
2- Rucking is Cheap
3- You Can Ruck Anytime
4- Rucking Improves Strength & Helps Build Muscle
5- Rucking Helps You Lose Weight
6- Rucking is Great For Your Cardiovascular Health
7- Rucking Improves Your Mental Health
8- Great Way To Meet New People
9- Rucking Improves your Balance
10- Rucking Improves your Bone Density
11- Rucking Helps You Unplug from Technology
12- Rucking Allows You To Discover New Places
13- Improves Self Confidence and Self Esteem
14- Rucking Is A Great Excuse To Take Walk Your Dog
15- Rucking is Unique
16- Rucking Reduces The Risk of Injury
17- Rucking Can Be Very Intense
18- No Matter Your age, Anyone Can Ruck

1- Rucking is Easy To Start

Rucking is extremely easy to start. If you can walk, you can ruck!

If you’re just starting out, all you really need is a rucksack or backpack (which we’re sure you have) and add as much weight as you deem appropriate. Check out our recent post, how much weight to carry when rucking to help you figure out how much weight you should carry when first starting out!

We also recommend running boots instead of your everyday boots to help prevent blisters caused from rucking. Here are some more tips to help you prevent rucking prevents.

We’d also recommend following a beginners rucking program if you wish to stay consistent with it!

My experience: It didn’t take me long to get started, I picked up my school backpack, loaded it with weights, and just rucked around my neighborhood.

2- Rucking is Cheap

Photo Courtesy: 401(K) 2012

Unlike other sports such as kickboxing, softball, or soccer, you don’t need much gear to start rucking!

If you’re just starting out, feel free to add anything you have around the house as weight. Check out our recent post, what to put in rucksack for weight for a complete list of everyday items that you can use as weight for your ruck!

If you’ve been rucking for some time now, you can always upgrade your gear. The way we look at it, investing in good rucking gear is pretty much investing in your health.

Certainly worth the investment! Your rucking gear does not have to be expensive, here’s our recommend list of cheap rucking gear to get if you’re rucking on a budget.

If you’ve got a decent budget to invest in rucking gear, check out our complete list of rucking gear.

Here’s the priority list of rucking gear to upgrade to:

  1. Rucking boots
  2. Rucksack or backpack
  3. Socks

My experience: I must admit the for me personally, I spent next to nothing when I first got started. However, I did upgrade my gear when I stuck to a rucking workout program and noticed that I needed a better backpack and shoes (here’s my full review of the GORUCK Ballistic trainers shoes that I still wear a year and a half later).

3- You Can Ruck Anytime

Are you travelling? Do you have an unpredictable work schedule? Well rucking is a sport that accommodates anyone with any schedule!

All you’ll have to do is try to find an hour or two where you’re not busy during your day, grab a backpack or rucksack and start rucking!

My experience: That’s one of the most convenient parts I find about rucking. As you can tell by my tracked ruck, I just rucked in the afternoon during a long break I had at work

Screenshot of the Strava App use to track rucking performance
On this day, I finished a quick 1 hour + ruck around the block with mild inclines since it was in the city.

4- Rucking Improves Strength & Helps Build Muscle

Photo Courtesy: Barry Shelley

Rucking not only improves your cardiovascular system, it benefits your muscles and helps you increase strength.

Gradually carrying heavier and heavier weights will eventually build up your strength. A challenging ruck will build strength and/or build muscles in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs.

Here are the best exercises for rucking to supplement your ruck performance and help you carry more weight.

Learn more about how rucking benefits your strength!

My experience: Personally, I’ve noticed that some of my lifts in the gym have been going up in weight. Mainly, compound movements such as deadlifts, back squats, and front squats have been going up and rucking (especially uphill) have been helping a lot.

5- Rucking Helps You Lose Weight

If you’re looking for a new way to help you lose fat and get in shape, rucking will help you get there!

Rucking is a form of Low Intensity Steady State workout (LISS), meaning that it is a low intensity sport. There is a mountain of evidence proving that LISS cardio aids in fat burning and fat loss (source).

This happens because rucking (a LISS workout) improves your body’s ability to use fat as fuel instead of using glycogen stored in your muscles!

Of course, you have to be in a caloric deficit in order to lose weight through any sport or activity. In plain english, all that means is that you need to burn more calories than you consume.

Learn more about losing fat through rucking and how many calories you can burn by rucking!

My experience: As you can tell by the image below, rucking really helped me to lose weight. I’ve documented my body transformation journey in full.

My Rucking Body Transformation
Here’s my full body transformation that got me into shape. A combination of rucking and other accessory work helped me lose fat, and maintain my muscle mass.

6- Rucking is Great For Your Cardiovascular Health

According to WebMD, hiking (which is the closest exercise to rucking) has numerous cardiovascular benefits (source). This includes decreasing risk of heart disease and Improve your blood pressure.

As previously mentioned, rucking is a LISS workout which means your heart-rate will be elevated for the duration of your ruck. The longer your heart pumps, the more it benefits your cardiovascular health!

Learn more about the difference between rucking and hiking.

My experience: I recently went to the doctor for a general health check, and thankfully the results were good. What caught my attention was that previous health problems that I had were resolved given my rucking and workout journey.

As you can tell below, my recent vitals that were measured on Dec 4th 2023 clearly show that my blood pressure vitals (Systolic & Diastolic) are well in the healthy range for an adult. Furthermore, my resting heart rate is at 69 (the healthy range for adults is 60 – 100 (source) – As you know, the lower your heart rate is, the more indicative it is that your cardiovascular health is in tip top shape)

My health vitals after a year of rucking & other accessory workouts. My health vitals including my cardiovascular health improved immensely after incorporating rucking and other accessory workouts into my daily routine.

7- Rucking Improves Your Mental Health

Rucking, as well as most other forms of exercises, consistently will help improve your mental health and help reduce common mental health issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Negative mood

This happens for a couple of reasons. First, a rucking workout will help improve your self-esteem. This happens because after or during your workout, your brain releases dopamine!

A recent study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded that 15 minutes to 1 hour of walking reduces the risk of major depression by 26% (source). So if you ruck, which is more challenging than walking, we’d imagine you’d see similar if not better results since it’s more challenging!

Rucking also helps improve cognitive function. This involves improving memory and problem solving!

My experience: While mental health is hard to quantify is constantly changing, I did find that whenever I was stressed, I’d feel much better after a ruck, especially if it was a rough one with heavy weight and a rough incline.

8- Great Way To Meet New People

ruckers shaking hands
Photo Courtesy: Barry Shelley

Speaking of mental health, rucking helps you avoid loneliness because it’s a great way to meet new people!

There are tons of rucking events in many cities across the US! If you recently moved to a new city and looking to expand your social circle, then it’s definitely worth taking advantage of.

Rucking can certainly benefit your personal life by meeting new people!

My experience: I did meet some great folks from the rucking events that I took part in. I even interviewed a fellow rucker in one of our local rucking events. However, given my busy schedule lately, I have not been able to ruck with anyone. Nevertheless, rucking is a great way to meet people, especially if you’re new to a city.

9- Rucking Improves Your Balance

Balance is a commonly over looked. Improving your balance will help you better perform everyday activities like standing on your tiptoes, walking up and down the stairs, and walking up and down hills without falling! (source)

Not only that but balance helps you in different sports. Say you’re lifting weights, there are many exercises like dumbbell lunges that require balance to prevent you from falling over!

Rucking helps improve your balance since it actively engages your core muscles and legs. BearFootTheory makes a great point when talking about how hiking helps with balance.

Hiking and rucking involves going through uneven terrains, going up hill and down hill depending on the route you’re on. The more you ruck or hike, the stronger your core and leg muscles get which helps you balance better.

Furthermore, hiking and rucking helps you increase your proprioception. Proprioception is the brains awareness of the body’s position and movement in its physical environment (source).

Since both workouts are similar, improved balance and proprioceptions also improves with rucking.

10 – Rucking Improves Your Bone Density

According to WebMD, resistance training (which includes rucking) helps with or prevents Osteoporosis because it improves muscle and builds bone.

They reference many studies show that resistance training, like rucking, increases bone density (source).

Bone density is crucial for your health. Weaker bone density means your bones can break easily. As you age, your bones naturally get weaker. So the more you ruck, the better your bone density gets!

11- Rucking Helps You Unplug from Technology!

We’ve all heard it before, you need to spend less time on your phone, computer, TV and the list goes on.

Rucking is a great way to disconnect. Put your phone on airplane mode and ruck!

According to SilverMaples, here are some benefits of unplugging from technology (and rucking can help you achieve this!)(source):

  1. Reduces Stress From Technology: Eases anxiety we get from contant notifications, news alerts, and emails.
  2. Reduces Felling of Loneliness: Focusing on your friends allows you to connect with the better, unplugging from technology also gives you an opportunity to meet new people through rucking events!
  3. Opportunity to Focus on Appreciation and Gratitude!

12- Rucking Allows You To Discover New Places

Let’s assume you’ve learned how to start rucking and have been consistent. Great!

But then it dawns on you that you’ve been going on the same route and you’re starting to get bored! Well you’re in luck cause rucking gives you the chance to go wherever you want to go!

You’re able to discover more spots around your city while getting you’re workout in!

Adam rucking during his trip in Vancouver, Canada
Here I am, rucking during my vacation in Vancouver. While I was unable to take my proper rucksack with me, I used my regular backpack and filled it with weight and got to exploring the mountains.

13- Improves Self Confidence and Self Esteem

Most forms of exercises help increase your self confidence because you naturally produce dopamine.

Dopamine is crucial because it’s involved in helping us with motivation, memory, attention, and most importantly it creates a feeling of pleasure and reward (source).

Your self esteem typically improves as you get in shape, and rucking can definitely get you there!

Seeing results from rucking will accelerate the improvement of your self confidence!

14- Rucking Is A Great Excuse To Take Walk Your Dog

Dog on top of a rucksack
Photo Courtesy: C.C. Chapman

Many ruckers use rucking as an excuse to workout and take their dog out for a walk. There’s no dog in the world that doesnt need and enjoy daily walks!

You’ll find many ruck events where the ruckers get their dogs with them!

Here are our top tips for rucking with your dog!

15- Rucking is Unique

Rucking is a relatively new sport that more people have been adopting since the launch of GoRuck.

Clearly the benefits of rucking that we’re discussing has encouraged many people across the globe to adopt it as their go-to workout routine.

It’s unique because you can supplement rucking with any other sport to help improve your performance. It’s low barrier of entry and accessibility allows anyone to participate!

Learn more about the best exercise to improve your rucking performance!

16- Rucking Reduces The Risk of Injury!

man at ruck event
Photo Courtesy: Steve Mullis

Many sports come with their fair share of injuries.

For example, basketball players commonly face ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, and knee tendonitis etc (source). Soccer players commonly face calf strains, foot fractures, kneecap bursitis and more (source).

The same can not be said about rucking.

Yes, there are some injuries some ruckers face but that’s because of common mistakes such as carrying too much weight or previous injuries.

Generally speaking though, rucking is a very safe sport. In fact, many people turn to rucking because they were injured from a previous sport and are looking for a new sport ro continue working on their fitness!

Learn more about the common rucking injuries and how you can prevent them!

17- Rucking Can Be Very Intense!

While rucking is simple, it can be very intense.

There’s a reason why the US army adopts rucking as a pillar exercise. In fact, they soldiers are expected to ruck 12 miles in 3 hours! Learn more about the army’s ruck march standards!

Here’s how you can increase the intensity of your rucking workout:

  1. Ruck uphill
  2. Increase pace (learn how to ruck march faster)
  3. Log your workouts to complete the distance in a shorter period of time (here’s our favorite apps for rucking)
  4. Steadily increase the weight your carrying (without scarfing your form)

Looking for the toughest ruck march of them all? Learn more about the Norwegian Ruck March where participants have to ruck for 18.6 miles in 4 hours and 30 minutes.

18- No Matter Your age, Anyone Can Ruck

On the polar opposite side of the spectrum, the intensity in rucking can be adjusted given your age. I interviewed a 65 year old rucker during a ruck where he shared how he has been rucking for a year. Rucking has helped him overcome some health issues and allowed him to improve his fitness in spote of the challenges he was facing given his age and health.

Check out my full interview with Jerry where we dive into the topic of, rucking for seniors.

19 – Rucking is a Great Option for Zone 2 Training

I’ve spoken at length about Zone 2 training for rucking. In a nutshell, zone 2 training is when you work out so that your heart rate is at 60% – 70% of your maximum heart rate. There are a ton of benefits to it, the most well known benefit of it being it’s improved efficiency at burning fat.

Personally, I’ve personally noticed a lot of benefits from Zone 2 training which I mainly got from rucking. However, what worked for me to transform my body from 23% body fat to 15% body fat was a mix of CrossFit, HIIT training, and Zone 2 training from CrossFit.

My advice here is to use a smartwatch during your rucks to monitor your heart rate to make sure you stay within the zone 2 heart rate interval. It’s extremely easy to fall out of your zone 2 heart rate range without noticing, by either working yourself too hard or letting loose a bit too much

Check out my recent post on the best apps for rucking if you’re looking to track your heart rate peoperly so that you stay in Zone 2.

Adam Sheriff

Adam is an experienced rucker and has been in the game for the past 5 years. He competed in a local ruck challenge and was hooked ever since. He has been actively helping people get into rucking and has set up local ruck events to help spread the word and encourage more people to get in on the action. When he’s not out rucking or setting up ruck events in town, he manages RuckForMiles.com.

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