Rucking On A Treadmill

To ruck on a treadmill, start with proper gear including comfortable clothing and supportive shoes. Load your rucksack with an appropriate weight, and maintain an upright posture. Begin at a warm-up pace, gradually increasing speed and incline if desired, and mix in interval training for variety. Remember to listen to your body, adjust as needed, and incorporate entertainment to make the workout enjoyable.

Rucking on a treadmill
Photo Courtesy: Amanda Tipton

Rucking on a treadmill has become quite a trendy for anyone in search of an effective workout practice and for most ruckers as more and more people start to work out from home.

Rucking on a treadmill comes packed with an array of benefits, including being a convenient strength and cardio trainer. Additionally, it is an easy-to-start, safe, and highly affordable way to achieve a healthy, strong, injury-resistant, and durable body.

Here’s a complete list of rucking benefits if you’re still looking for a reason to get started!

Why Rucking on a Treadmill?

Believe it or not, rucking on a treadmill can offer a unique set of benefits that might just surprise you. Here’s why you might want to give it a shot:

  • Weather Won’t Rain on Your Parade: No more fretting about weather conditions. Whether it’s scorching sun or pouring rain, your treadmill adventure awaits indoors.
  • Time Management: Tight schedule? No problem! Rucking on a treadmill lets you fit your workout into your day without having to carve out extra time for commuting to your favorite trail.
  • Control Freak’s Paradise: Treadmills give you precise control over your pace and incline, allowing you to fine-tune your ruck to match your fitness goals.

How to Ruck On A Treadmill

Before you start racking up those treadmill miles with your ruck, here’ are some pro tips to keep in mind’s what I do when rucking on a treadmill:

  1. Use Proper Gear: Just like hitting the trails, make sure you’re wearing comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing and well-fitting boots to prevent blisters and discomfort. Check out my top picks for the best socks and boots for rucking.
  2. Pack It Right: Load your ruck with a weight that challenges you but doesn’t throw off your balance. Aim for a weight that mimics your outdoor rucking routine. Here’s a complete list I compiled for things to put in your rucksack for weight if you don’t have access to rucking plates.
  3. Posture Perfection: Maintain a strong, upright posture while rucking to avoid straining your back. Engage your core and take shorter steps to prevent overstriding.
  4. Incline Intervals: If your treadmill allows, mix it up with incline intervals. This can simulate uphill climbs, giving your leg muscles an extra workout and spicing up your routine.

Charting Your Course: Rucking on a Treadmill Workout

Here’s a sample rucking workout you can try on your trusty treadmill:

TimeSpeed CategorySpeedInclineNotes
0-5 minWarm-up pace4.8 Km/h0%Get those muscles warmed up!
5-10 minModerate pace5.6 Km/h2-3%Find your rhythm and settle in.
10-15 minBrisk pace6.4 Km/h5%Time to pick up the intensity.
15-20 minRecovery pace4.8 Km/h0%Catch your breath and reset.
20-25 minIncline climb8-10%Engage your leg muscles with an uphill push
25-30 minSteady pace5.6 Km/h3%Back to a moderate pace to finish strong.
30-35 minCool-down pace4.0 Km/h0%Wind down and stretch those muscles.
The speed numbers is simply what I use, feel free to adjust as needed as per your fitness level. For the “Incline climb” segment, I left the speed column blank as the speed might vary depending on individual preferences and treadmill capabilities. Feel free to adjust the speeds, inclines, and workout durations based on your fitness level and goals.

Is Rucking On A Treadmill Good For You

One cannot help but wonder whether rucking on a treadmill is as good compared to rucking outside. Simply put its not as good of course as rucking outside since the treadmill belt assists leg turnover, making it easier to ruck and gives you a bit of a boost.

Furthermore, some of the conditioning that comes with regular outdoor rucking is possible due to the tough terrains. Whereas rucking on a treadmill does not help as much when it comes to the conditioning.

However treadmill rucking still helps build a strong cardio system and can still provide the resistance you’re looking for.

Here’s how to benefit the most out of rucking on a treadmill:

1- Add weights to your rucksack/backpack

The weights in your backpack force your back, legs, shoulders, and entire core to work simultaneously, as you ruck.

This synch in body energy helps in getting your heart rate to levels that are high enough to give you a great cardio workout session, without straining any of your muscles.

The ruck weights can go a long way to building your muscle strength, and keeping your upper back, lower back, abs, and spine erect.

Check out our top things to put in your rucksack for weight.

2- Improves Strength

If your priority is to lose weight, rucking on a treadmill can still help you lose weight. Remember that action beats inaction any day!

Rucking on the treadmill will still develop muscle endurance, especially on your core, hips, and back ‘twitch fibers’.

Adding more weight in your rucksack can help you improve your strength as it adds more resistance. check out our recent post, how much weight you should carry when rucking, to find out how much weight you should carry when rucking.

Learn more about rucking for strength.

3- Burns Calories

Most treadmills out there have an incline or decline feature. This will help you tremendously if you’re trying to burn more calories.

Stabilizing your own bodyweight along with the added resistance and weight from your backpack will increase the number of calories you burn when rucking on a treadmill.

You can always increase or decrease the speed or incline to match your fitness level. Remember, try to push yourself but not too much that the workout is unbearable.

Find out how many calories you can expect to burn when rucking.

My Recommended Tips to Master Rucking on a Treadmill

  1. Start Slow and Progress Gradually: Just like hitting the trails, don’t jump into high speeds and steep inclines right away. Begin with a comfortable pace and incline, then gradually increase as your stamina improves.
  2. Invest in Quality Footwear: Your boots are your best friends. Invest in well-fitting, supportive boots that provide stability and comfort. This goes a long way in preventing blisters and discomfort during your treadmill rucks.
  3. Mind Your Stride Length: On a treadmill, it’s easy to overstride. Take slightly shorter steps than you would outdoors to avoid putting excessive strain on your joints.
  4. Stay Upright: Maintain proper posture throughout your ruck. Keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed, and engage your core muscles. This helps prevent back pain and ensures an effective workout.
  5. Mix Up Your Intensity: Spice things up with interval training. Alternate between faster-paced rucking and recovery periods to keep your heart rate up and maximize calorie burn.
  6. Master the Incline: When tackling inclines, lean slightly forward and engage your glutes and quads. Avoid hunching over, and remember that a moderate incline can simulate outdoor rucking conditions.
  7. Mind Your Hands: Don’t grip the handrails too tightly. Lightly touch them for balance, but let your arms swing naturally just like you would outdoors.
  8. Entertainment Matters: Set up a TV, tablet, or play your favorite music to keep boredom at bay. A good distraction can make the time fly by.
  9. Stretch It Out: After your ruck, don’t forget to stretch your leg muscles, hips, and lower back. This helps prevent stiffness and promotes flexibility.
  10. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any discomfort or pain. If something doesn’t feel right, slow down, adjust your form, or take a break. Your safety always comes first.

What to Consider when Rucking on A Treadmill

While we all want results, it is crucial to take some factors into consideration before you jump in.

1- Weight

Rucking outside on the road is different than rucking indoors on a treadmill. There is no exact number of weight you should be carrying but if you find that the workout is too easy, add more weight.

Rucking on the treadmill should be a bit easier than the outdoor so that is most likely the situation, but always listen to your body first.

2- Pace

Start slow then build up speed with time. Start the speed at 4mph and increase the incline by 1% – 2%, increase at 1 minute intervals until you feel like your calves are doing most of the work and then decrease the incline to a point that you think you can sustain for 30 minutes minimum.

Strike a balance between speed and incline for optimal results.

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

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