Rucking everyday is not recommend. However it can be useful if you need to achieve your goal in a short period of time. Should you do it, consider rucking for shorter distances and with heavier weight.
There are many legitimate reasons as to why you may choose to ruck everyday. Whether you’re training to meet the military ruck march standards, or trying to increase your weight load. Some may feel the need to do it, but you should know that it may not be the best option for you to meet your goals.
Is It Bad to Ruck Everyday?
Every BODY has a different threshold for gaining muscle strength and achieving better fitness levels. This means that people respond differently to training programs. However, what can be agreed on is that anyone can overtrain. This means that you can train so much, that it starts work against you, therefore impeding your ability to reach your goal.
Rucking everyday for long distances may lead to Over Training Syndrome (OTS). According to a study published by the Sports Health Journal, Overtraining symptoms for Aerobic exercises, including rucking, are:
- Loss of motivation
The problem with rucking everyday (assuming that the distance is challenging per your fitness level) is that you continuously put your muscles through a great deal of stress, not giving it enough time to recover.
While stressing and tearing your muscle fibres is essential for growth through (the process of protein synthesis) rucking everyday prevents your body from recovery. This could lead to negative consequences which is counterproductive to achieving your goal.
Example: John is a relatively active person who is new to rucking. In an effort to increase his rucking weight load, he decides to ruck daily for a month doing 7 miles a day carrying 30% more weight than usual. Here’s an example of what he’ll probably experience.
|Days 1 – 10||The first 3 or 4 days, he’ll get through the workouts fine. He’ll get a good sweat out of it but will still have the motivation to keep going. For the remainder of the week, his back starts to feel tight and his leg muscles become sore. DOMS kicks in.|
|Days 11 – 20||John manages to keep going, but day by day his back start to hurt. His abs, legs, and back are sore. Before every ruck he feels exhausted and the thoughts of skipping a day start creeping in.|
|Days 21 – 30||Surprisingly, John keeps going. At this point, he’s struggling to get past the 4th mile. His body is aching, and is experience fatigue. His muscles ache doing simple daily activities. Motivation is running extremely low.|
Given the example above, it’s clear that with time Johns body was unable to recover properly. While his body was attempting to recover, John continued to apply a great deal of stress on his muscles. He also increased his risk to injuring his joints and other common injuries associated with rucking. Towards the end of his one month challenge, his performance declines.
His muscles were sore throughout the month as a result of Delayed Onset muscle soreness (DOMS). According to Elaine Choung-Hee Lee, an assistant professor of Molecular Biology and Applied Genetics, University of Connecticut DOMS is post-workout soreness that is heightened a day or 2 after working out. To combat this, rest and a protein rich diet is required. While John may have had a good diet, his lack of rest pushed him to experience DOMS.
Benefits of Rucking Everyday
Rucking daily for a specified time period, if done correctly, can help you increase your weight load and endurance, but it does require trial and error which is a time consuming process. Everyone rucks for difference reasons, and some people may feel the need to do it to achieve their goal quickly, which is understandable.
Rucking for shorter distances but with heavier weight is beneficial. It will help you increase your threshold for heavier weights. However, proper tracking of your training is strongly recommended. This is because it will help you identify how much weight is too much weight or how many miles is too much for you. You can therefore adapt and change your strategy.
Finally, rucking burns a lot of calories given that it is classified as a form of low intensity interval Training (LISS) workout. Rucking is great for muscle strength, cardiovascular health, burns a lot of calories, and more!
Can or Should You Ruck Every Day?
With all that said, it may sound like rucking everyday is definitely not recommended. However should you be in a situation where it is absolutely necessary, consider rucking with heavier weight but for shorter than usual distances.
While rucking everyday is not recommended, it’s an attempt to prevent or prolong exhaustion. So in Johns case, had he rucked for 3 miles (instead of 7) everyday with the same increased weight, he could have delayed his exhaustion, muscle fatigue, and lack of motivation.
Recommended Frequency of Rucking
Here at RuckForMiles, we recommend rucking 3 – 5 times a week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week for adults.
This should be accompanied with proper nutrition. Learn more about the right nutrition for rucking here. Whether you decide to ruck daily or not, it is recommended that you have the right gear. This means that you should probably consider wearing a rucksack with proper ventilation to avoid back sweats, using anti-chafing balms and other necessary gear to aid your endurance and keeping you in the game for much longer. Check out other rucking gear that might be useful to you.
If you’re signing up to the military and have a short notice to train, then rucking everyday may help you meet the fitness requirement. However, if you’re rucking casually as a sport or for an event, rucking daily may be counterproductive. Check out our complete guide to the recommended rucking training program to learn more.
The principle of 10,000 hours is vital to any activity, including rucking. This means that to prefect any skill or activity, deliberately practicing for 10,000 hours is the minimum. Malcom Gladwell, the author of the book “outliers” mentions this principle as the key to the success of legends such as Bill Gates. Bill Gates started coding at such a young age and actively engaged himself in the activity for thousands of hours which made him a pioneer in his industry.
This principle fits in perfectly with rucking. The more you practice, the better you will get. An obvious yet simple concept. So rucking everyday can get you closer to that goal, but it may set you back and take you much longer to get to the 10,000 hours mark compared to rucking 3 – 5 times a week.
Photo Credit to Jon West: https://www.flickr.com/photos/simplynutty/16114457731/