Shopper Informer
Benefits of Rucking: Improved Strength, Endurance, and Calorie Burn

Benefits of Rucking: Improved Strength, Endurance, and Calorie Burn

We independently review everything we inform you about. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more…
Benefits of Rucking
Improve strength, endurance, and calorie burn with rucking. Low-impact exercise option with cardiovascular benefits. Tips for getting started and building muscle.

Shopper Informer

Table of Contents

In this article, you’ll learn about the benefits of rucking, a form of exercise that involves walking or hiking with a weighted backpack. We’ll discuss how rucking can improve strength, endurance, and calorie burn. Rucking is a low-impact exercise that provides cardiovascular benefits and builds strength and stamina. You’ll also find tips on getting started with rucking and making it a scalable exercise that fits your fitness goals. We’ll also cover some important considerations, such as avoiding overtraining and injury and why running with a weighted backpack is not recommended. Plus, we’ll explore how rucking can build muscle in the lower extremities and engage core muscles for stabilization.

Click to view the Benefits of Rucking: Improved Strength, Endurance, and Calorie Burn.

What is Rucking?

Rucking is a form of exercise that involves walking or hiking with a weighted backpack. It is a low-impact workout with many benefits, including improved strength, endurance, and calorie burn. Rucking has gained popularity in recent years and originated in military training.

Definition of rucking

Rucking can be defined as walking or hiking with a loaded backpack. The backpack, a rucksack, is typically filled with weights or other heavy objects to increase resistance and challenge the muscles.

Explanation of rucking as a form of exercise

Rucking is a unique exercise that combines cardiovascular activity with strength training. By carrying additional weight, your body has to work harder to move, resulting in increased calorie burn and improved muscle strength. Rucking can be performed on various terrains, making it a versatile exercise option.


Origins of rucking in military training

Rucking has its roots in military training, specifically in training soldiers who need to carry heavy loads over long distances. Military personnel often ruck as part of their physical fitness regimen to improve their endurance and carrying capabilities. Rucking has since transitioned into the civilian fitness world, with people of all fitness levels embracing its benefits.

Benefits of Rucking

Rucking offers numerous advantages that contribute to overall fitness and well-being. Let’s explore some of these benefits in more detail.

Improved strength

One of the primary benefits of rucking is improved strength. A weighted backpack engages various muscle groups, including the legs, glutes, core, and upper body. Rucking strengthens these muscles over time, increasing overall strength and endurance.

Enhanced endurance

Rucking is an excellent exercise for building endurance. By gradually increasing the weight and distance of your rucksack, you challenge your cardiovascular system and train your body to sustain physical activity for longer periods. This increased endurance can benefit various aspects of your life, from everyday activities to more intense workouts.

Calorie burn

Rucking is an effective calorie-burning activity. The additional weight carried during rucking increases the intensity of the exercise, causing your body to work harder and burn more calories. The number of calories burned during rucking depends on weight, walking speed, and individual metabolism.

Find your new Benefits of Rucking: Improved Strength, Endurance, and Calorie Burn on this page.

Cardiovascular Benefits of Rucking

Rucking provides several cardiovascular benefits, making it an ideal exercise option for those looking to improve their heart health and stamina.

Low-impact exercise option

Unlike high-impact activities like running, rucking is a low-impact exercise option that puts less stress on your joints. The weighted backpack acts as resistance, providing a challenging workout without potential impact-related injuries.

Improvement of cardiovascular health

Regular rucking can improve your cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart and improving blood circulation. The sustained physical activity during rucking helps lower resting heart rate, increase lung capacity, and improve cardiovascular efficiency.

Development of stamina

Rucking is a great way to develop stamina and endurance. As you gradually increase the weight and distance of your rucksack, your body adapts to the demands placed on it, improving stamina. This increased stamina can benefit you in everyday activities and other physical pursuits.

Rucking workout

Strength Building with Rucking

Rucking is a highly effective form of strength training. By engaging various muscle groups, it helps build strength throughout the body.

Builds muscle in lower extremities

Rucking primarily targets the muscles of the lower extremities, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Carrying the additional weight while walking or hiking recruits these muscles, resulting in increased muscle strength and definition.

Engages core muscles for stabilization

Rucking requires proper stabilization and balance, which engages the core muscles. While walking or hiking with a weighted backpack, you must maintain a stable posture and engage your abdominal and back muscles for support. This constant engagement of the core muscles helps strengthen and tone them over time.

Enhancement of overall strength

Rucking is a full-body workout that engages the lower and upper bodies. The backpack’s weight challenges your arms, shoulders, and back muscles as you maintain balance and control. Over time, this leads to increased overall strength and improved muscular endurance.

Get your own Benefits of Rucking: Improved Strength, Endurance, and Calorie Burn today.

Getting Started with Rucking

If you want to incorporate rucking into your fitness routine, here are some tips to help you get started.

Choosing the Right Backpack

When selecting a backpack for rucking, choosing one that is durable, comfortable, and suitable for your body size is essential. Look for a backpack with padded shoulder straps, a waist belt for added support, and multiple compartments for organizing your belongings. It should also have the capacity to hold the desired amount of weight.

Determining the weight to carry

When rucking, starting with a backpack weighing approximately 10% of your body weight is recommended. This weight allows you to challenge your muscles without straining your joints excessively. As you progress, you can gradually increase the weight of your rucksack.

Gradually increasing weight and distance

To avoid overexertion and injury, it’s important to gradually increase both the weight carried and the distance covered during rucking. Start with shorter distances and lighter weights, and as you become more comfortable and your fitness improves, gradually increase the weight and distance. Listen to your body and make adjustments accordingly.

MudGear Ruck Socks - Boot Height, Merino-wool - Military, Tactical, Work
  • TOUGH AND DURABLE: Designed to withstand harsh conditions and long miles of Rucking. These crew-length socks are made with a high-grade merino wool and polypropylene blend that is soft to the touch and incredibly comfortable. Perfect for active-duty military, GORUCK events, OCR, hiking, hunting, and outdoor sports in general.
  • NO SOCK-LINERS NEEDED: Our ruck-socks include a Nylon-Spandex blend fabric between the toe and heel, which provides an unmatched snug-fit. This unique construction reduces foot movement, prevents blisters, and eliminates the need to add sock-liners - If you're wearing two pairs of socks, you have the wrong socks!
  • MOISTURE-WICKING AND VENTILATED- Ventilated top-layer of mesh-fabric reduces heat build-up and keeps you dry and comfortable during long marches. Foot-arch features vertical channels for moisture movement, and additional thermal control. Merino wool blend provides added moisture wicking and anti-odor properties.
  • VERSITILE PERFORMANCE: Our Ruck-Socks are also an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet. Perfect for trail-running, hiking, hunting, mountain-biking and more. A great boot-length sock for police and first responders.
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY AND 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: Our products are proudly made in the USA and have been tested by obstacle racers, first responders, nurses, and athletes of all types since 2012. We are so confident in our products that If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, simply contact us for a prompt refund or exchange.

Calorie Burn in Rucking

Rucking can be an effective calorie-burning exercise, especially compared to other cardiovascular activity forms.

Comparison with running for calorie burn

Rucking can burn more calories than running, depending on the weight carried and the speed of walking. The additional weight increases the intensity of the exercise, causing your body to work harder and burn more calories. The exact calorie burn varies depending on individual factors, but rucking has been shown to provide a significant calorie burn.

Factors affecting calorie burn in rucking

Several factors can affect the number of calories burned during rucking. The weight carried, walking speed, incline of the terrain, and individual metabolism all play a role in determining calorie burn. As you become more proficient at rucking, you can increase your weight and speed to maximize calorie burn.

Importance of weight and walking speed

The weight carried, and the walking speed is crucial factors in determining the intensity of the rucking workout. By increasing the weight and maintaining a brisk walking pace, you can maximize the caloric expenditure during your rucking sessions.

See the Benefits of Rucking: Improved Strength, Endurance, and Calorie Burn in detail.

Scalability of Rucking

One of the great things about rucking is its scalability, allowing individuals to tailor the exercise to meet their specific fitness goals.

Adjusting rucking to individual fitness goals

Rucking can be adjusted to accommodate a wide range of fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build strength, improve endurance, or train for a specific event, you can modify the weight, distance, and intensity of your rucking sessions to align with your goals.

Adaptable for all fitness levels

Rucking is suitable for individuals of all fitness levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, you can start rucking at a pace and intensity that is comfortable for you. As your fitness improves, you can gradually increase your rucking workouts’ weight and difficulty level.

Increasing difficulty as fitness improves

As you become more proficient at rucking and your fitness level improves, you must continue challenging yourself. This can be done by gradually increasing your rucking sessions’ weight, distance, or speed. You’ll see improvements in strength, endurance, and overall fitness by continually pushing your limits.

Goplus Weighted Vest, 12lb/16lb/20lb/30lb Weight Vest Workout Equipment with Reflective Stripe for Fitness, Strength Training, Running, Body West for Men Women Kids
  • 【Breathable Fabric & Premium Filler】Made of high quality 2.5mm neoprene, our weighted vest is soft, comfortable and breathable. Therefore, even if you wear our vest for a long time, you will not feel hot or uncomfortable. In addition, the interior is filled with black iron sand and will not cause damage to your body.
  • 【Thicker & Wider Shoulder Straps】The thickened and widened shoulder straps can evenly distribute the pressure on the shoulders and back, ensuring you won't get hurt during your workout. Besides, with exquisite workmanship and tight stitching, our weight vests will not have the problem of sand leakage.
  • 【Adjustable Buckles & Reflective Straps】The weighted vest has two buckles on the front so you can adjust it to your body shape. Therefore, there is no need to worry that the vest will fall off during exercise. The shoulder straps and back of the workout vest have reflective strips to ensure your safety even at night.
  • 【Integrated Storage Pocket】A mesh bag at the back of the weighted vest can be used to store small items such as cards, keys and mobile phones. This way, you can enjoy your workout without missing an important text or phone call. Don't worry the items will fall when you run, because the elastic edges will keep them well.
  • 【Suitable for All Fitness Enthusiasts】Our weighted vest will help you to increase workout, burn more calories, and build muscles. High quality materials keep our vests soft and elastic under extreme conditions and is ideal for all sports enthusiasts.

Precautions and Recommendations

While rucking offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to approach the exercise cautiously and follow some recommendations to avoid overtraining and injury.

Avoiding overtraining and injury

As with any physical activity, listening to your body and avoiding overtraining is important. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your rucking sessions to prevent strain and injury. Be mindful of any discomfort or pain and take appropriate rest days to allow for recovery.

Recommended frequency of rucking

To reap the benefits of rucking without overexertion, it’s generally recommended to ruck 1-2 times a week. This frequency allows for adequate rest and recovery between sessions while still maintaining consistency in your rucking routine.

Cautions against running with a weighted backpack

While rucking provides an excellent cardiovascular workout, running with a weighted backpack is not recommended. The impact of running combined with the added weight can strain your joints excessively and increase the risk of injury. It’s best to stick to walking or hiking when rucking.

rucking pushups

Proper Technique and Form for Rucking

Maintaining proper technique and form during rucking is essential for preventing injuries and maximizing the benefits of the exercise.

Maintaining proper posture

When rucking, it’s important to maintain proper posture throughout the exercise. Stand tall with your chest lifted, shoulders back and relaxed, and a slight forward lean. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged, and avoid slouching or rounding the shoulders.

Tips for walking with a weighted backpack

Take shorter strides to maintain balance and control when walking with a loaded backpack. Land on your heels and roll through your foot to propel yourself forward. Keep your arms relaxed and allow them to swing naturally. Focus on maintaining a smooth and consistent rhythm.

Using correct body mechanics to prevent strain

Using correct body mechanics while rucking is essential to prevent strain and injury. Bend your knees slightly when walking downhill to absorb the impact and minimize strain on your joints. When walking uphill, take smaller steps and engage your glutes and quadriceps to power through the incline.

Hannibal Tactical MOLLE Assault Backpack, Tactical Backpack Military Army Camping Rucksack, 3-Day Pack Trip w/USA Flag Patch, D-Rings, Olive
  • LARGE CAPACITY - Military tactical backpack size approx.:12"*20"*13" / 30*50*33CM (W*H*D) Capacity:40L, This tactical military assault backpack is made of quality and water-resistant High Density fabric, With Large Capacity allow you to carry all your tactical gears, it can be used as 3 day assault pack, bug out bag backpack, emergency backpack, combat backpack, range bag, molle emt backpack, EDC outdoor backpack, hunting backpack, travel backpack, survival backpack or trekking backpack
  • MULTI-FUNCTIONAL - This tactical assault pack have 2 main compartments, 2 small compartments in front, and a back compartment for a hydration bladder. Each of the compartments has variety pockets to help with organization. The large compartment area has an elastic strap to hold laptops or anything you don't want to move around. Each pocket has two zipper pulls, and one of the compartments that can fully open all the way down to the bottom like suitcase.
  • COMFORTABLE & TOUGH - The shoulder straps are padded and adjustable and the waist belt expands enough. The thick mesh padding back area and shoulder straps will not pinch you under heavy duty. Thick padded back panel pocket works great with 3L hydration bladder(hydration bladder do not include)
  • ARMY MOLLE SYSTEM - The front and both sides come with MOLLE system, Molle webbing throughout for attaching additional tactical pouches or gear as 3 day assault pack backpack combat molle backpack. The Y strap and buckle on the front is great to roll up a sweatshirt or light jacket. And the straps at the bottom can be used to hold a tent or sleeping pad.
  • 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE - Two years warranty and if any question contact us firstly, we will do everything to help. Honor warranty claims! Package Included: 1 Tactical backpack, US Flag patch, 2pcs D-Ring, 1pc MOLLE Webbing Dominators.

Safety Tips for Rucking

Here are some safety tips to remember to ensure a safe and enjoyable rucking experience.

Choosing appropriate terrain

When rucking, choose a terrain suitable for your skill level and fitness. Start with flat or gently sloping terrain and gradually progress to more challenging surfaces, such as hills or uneven trails. Be aware of the terrain ahead of time and plan your route accordingly.

Wearing comfortable and supportive footwear

Investing in comfortable and supportive footwear is crucial for a successful rucking experience. Look for shoes or boots specifically for hiking or walking, with appropriate cushioning and arch support. Proper footwear will contribute to comfort, stability, and injury prevention.

Staying hydrated during rucking

It’s important to stay hydrated when rucking, especially in hot or humid conditions. Carry an adequate supply of water and drink regularly during your rucking sessions. Consider bringing a water bottle or hydration bladder that fits securely in your backpack for convenience.

Rucking workouts

Variations of Rucking

While traditional rucking involves walking or hiking with a weighted backpack, several variations can add variety and challenge to your routine.

Adding inclines or hills to ruck

Walking or hiking on inclines or hills increases the intensity of the rucking workout. The incline forces your muscles to work harder as you push against gravity. Incorporating hills into your rucking route can further enhance strength and cardiovascular benefits.

Incorporating interval training into rucking

Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest or lower intensity. Incorporating interval training into your rucking routine can increase calorie burn and improve cardiovascular fitness. For example, you can alternate between periods of brisk walking and periods of slower-paced walking.

Team-based rucking exercises

Rucking can also be done as a team-based exercise. Participating in rucking events or group workouts can add a social aspect to your fitness routine and motivate you to push yourself further. Team-based rucking exercises can include relay races, group challenges, or military-style fitness classes.

ZELUS Weighted Vest 12lb Weight Vest with Reflective Stripe for Workout, Strength Training, Running, Fitness, Muscle Building, Weight Loss, Weightlifting
  • PREMIUM MATERIAL: This strength training weight vest is built to last with durable neoprene rubber fabric, double-stitching, and weighted with iron sand for extreme durability through hundreds of different workouts.
  • DUAL STORAGE POCKETS: Enjoy your workout without the fear of losing your valuables! Includes detachable front zipper pockets to keep your cell phone, car keys, and other items safe and secure, plus a rear elastic-mesh pocket for extra convenience.
  • COMFORTABLE MATERIAL: Enjoy your workout in complete comfort with maximum mobility. With cushioned shoulder straps and gentle, non-chafing fabrics, you can go the extra mile in your personal fitness journey with ease and comfort!
  • ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: Adjustable elastic straps and reflective stripes help this vest go any place at any time. For circuit training, weightlifting, cardio, strength training, weight loss, and beyond, this vest will take your workout to the next level!
  • EVEN WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION: Evenly filled with iron sand, this well-balanced vest decreases injury risk while working out.

Rucking vs. Other Exercises

Let’s explore how rucking compares to other popular forms of exercise.

Comparison with running

Rucking and running are both excellent forms of exercise, but they offer different benefits. Running is a high-impact activity that primarily targets the lower body and provides cardiovascular benefits. Rucking, on the other hand, is a low-impact workout that engages the entire body and provides both cardiovascular and strength-building benefits. Rucking is a more accessible option for individuals with joint issues or those looking for a full-body workout.

Differences between rucking and weightlifting

Rucking is often compared to weightlifting due to its strength-building benefits. While weightlifting focuses on isolated muscle groups using equipment like dumbbells or barbells, rucking engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Rucking is also a more functional exercise, mimicking real-world activities such as carrying groceries or hiking with a backpack.

Benefits of rucking over traditional gym workouts

Rucking offers several advantages over traditional gym workouts. It provides an outdoor, immersive experience that allows you to enjoy nature while exercising. Rucking also offers a functional workout that translates to everyday activities. Additionally, rucking can be a more cost-effective alternative to a gym membership, as all you need is a backpack and suitable footwear.

Personal Experiences and Testimonials

Many individuals have experienced significant benefits from incorporating rucking into their fitness routines. Here are some real-life stories and testimonials.

Real-life stories of individuals benefiting from rucking

  • A former soldier, John found that rucking helped him stay in shape after leaving the military. It provided a sense of familiarity and enabled him to continue challenging his physical capabilities.
  • A fitness enthusiast, Sarah incorporated rucking into her workout routine to enhance her endurance. She found that rucking allowed her to explore new hiking trails and provided a more challenging cardiovascular workout than traditional walking.

Feedback from rucking enthusiasts

  • “Rucking has become my go-to exercise. I love how it engages my entire body and leaves me feeling energized and accomplished.” – Mark
  • “Rucking brings a sense of adventure to my workouts. Each time I hit the trails with my backpack, I discover new places and challenge myself in ways I never thought possible.” – Rachel

Success stories and transformation journeys

  • Adam, a beginner in rucking, started with a lightweight backpack and gradually increased the weight over several months. He noticed significant improvements in his overall strength and endurance and even easily completed a challenging hiking trip.
  • Emily, a dedicated rucker, shared her weight loss journey, attributing a portion of her success to consistent rucking. Increased calorie burn and improved cardiovascular fitness significantly impacted her health and well-being.


Rucking is a highly beneficial exercise that combines cardiovascular activity with strength training. It offers numerous advantages, including improved strength, endurance, and calorie burn. With its origins in military training, rucking has gained popularity among individuals of all fitness levels. By incorporating rucking into your fitness routine, you can experience the many benefits it has to offer. So grab your backpack, load it with an appropriate weight, and hit the trails. Discover the transformative power of rucking as you improve your fitness, build strength, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Discover more about the Benefits of Rucking: Improved Strength, Endurance, and Calorie Burn.

Related Categories: Health & Fitness
Tags: Article

Best Sellers

Related Content: