Rucking Workout Plans: Novice to Expert in No Time

Rucking Workout

Are you looking for a fun, effective, and challenging way to boost your fitness? Rucking is the answer!

Picture this: strapping on a heavy backpack, channeling your inner adventure junkie, and conquering the fitness trails like a fearless explorer. If that sounds like your kind of adrenaline-pumping fun, then hold on tight, because rucking workouts are about to blow your mind!

We’ll cover everything from the power of a rucking workout to essential gear and workout plans for all levels.

Get ready to embark on a journey that will transform your fitness routine and unlock your full potential!

Short Summary
  • Experience the power of rucking to improve overall fitness, burn calories and reduce risk of diseases. Workout plans for all levels included.
  • Challenge yourself with strength training exercises to build muscular endurance & mental health.
  • Equip yourself for success and join a club or explore new routes for an even more motivating journey!

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The Power of Rucking Workouts

city ruck

Rucking workouts are an incredible way to improve your overall fitness. With roots in military training, rucking has become an increasingly popular workout for people of all ages and fitness levels.

The benefits of rucking are backed by exercise science and include improved cardiovascular fitness, strength training, and mental health.

Not only does rucking burn nearly as many calories as running, but it also places less stress on your joints.

As you carry a weighted backpack, your lower body works harder, engaging various muscle groups like your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and core.

This full-body workout also helps in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sarcopenia, and osteoporosis.

So, are you ready to begin rucking and discover its incredible benefits?

Cardiovascular Fitness

Rucking is an exceptional aerobic exercise that not only enhances your cardiovascular fitness but also reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases.

What makes rucking even more appealing is that, compared to running, it is a low-impact exercise that puts less strain on your knees.

If you ruck for 45 minutes carrying a 20-pound load, you can burn approximately 9.6 calories per minute or 432 calories in total, which makes rucking for weight loss easily attainable.

By rucking, you’re actively improving your cardiovascular health and ensuring a fitter and healthier lifestyle.

Strength Training and Muscular Endurance

In addition to cardiovascular benefits, rucking workouts also build strength and muscular endurance by engaging various muscle groups and adding resistance training.

As you carry the weighted backpack, your body is forced to work harder, engaging muscles like your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and core muscles.

By incorporating ruck swings and other strength training exercises, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, burpees, and mountain climbers, you can further challenge yourself and enhance your rucking experience.

Mental Health and Stress Reduction

city escape with rucking

Rucking isn’t just about physical fitness; it also has numerous mental health benefits, including improved self-esteem and stress reduction.

Rucking outdoors exposes you to nature and increases physical activity, both of which contribute to lower cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress.

As you embark on your rucking journey, you’ll find that it not only transforms your body, but also positively impacts your mental well-being.

Essential Gear for a Successful Rucking Workout

city night ruck

To make the most of your rucking workouts, it’s crucial to have the right gear. A well-fitting backpack, suitable footwear, and evenly distributed weight are essential for a successful rucking experience.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into the specifics of choosing the right backpack, selecting proper footwear, and ensuring optimal weight distribution.

Choosing the Right Backpack

When it comes to backpacking, having the right backpack is crucial for comfort and performance. A well-fitting backpack with adjustable straps, padded shoulder straps, and a waist belt ensures even weight distribution and minimizes strain on your body.

Some renowned backpacks for rucking include the GORUCK GR1 and GORUCK GR2, which are specifically designed to withstand the rigors of rucking.

Selecting Proper Footwear

Proper footwear is essential for rucking due to the added weight and potential impact on your joints. Lightweight hiking boots, trail runners, or cross trainers that provide comfort and durability are ideal choices for rucking.

Popular brands like Salomon, Danner, and La Sportiva offer great options for rucking footwear.

Always choose shoes that fit well and provide good support for your feet and ankles to prevent injury and enhance performance.

Weight Distribution and Progression

To prevent overuse or strain injuries and maximize the benefits of rucking, proper weight distribution is essential.

Position the weight high and close to your back, about 2/3 of the way up, and as close to your upper body as possible for optimal efficiency.

This will help ensure your body weight is well-supported during your rucking activities. So, how much weight should you carry? It depends on your fitness level and goals, but always prioritize proper form and technique.

Gradual progression is also key; start with a light weight and short distances, and steadily increase the weight and distance as you become more confident in your rucking abilities.

Rucking Workout Plans for All Levels

Couple Rucking in Neighborhood

No matter your fitness level, there’s a workout plan tailored just for you. From beginners to advanced runners, these workout plans offer specific exercises and progressions to help you reach your goals.

In the following sections, we’ll outline beginner, intermediate, and advanced rucking workout plans, providing you with a clear path to success in your rucking journey.

Beginner Rucking Workout Plan

If you’re new to rucking, a beginner workout plan is the perfect starting point.

Let’s face it, if you haven’t been walking, just start walking to improve your fitness, then you can build from there.💡

Focusing on low intensity, proper form, and gradual progression, beginner rucking workouts ease you into the activity while ensuring you build a strong foundation.

***Add a backpack, and start by rucking 1-2 days per week, covering a distance of 2-3 miles with a weight of 10-25 pounds.

As a beginner, it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust your workouts accordingly. If you experience muscle soreness, this indicates that your body is already adapting to the new demands of rucking.

To progress in your workouts, gradually increase either the weight or the distance each week, but not both at the same time. This will help you build strength and endurance while minimizing the risk of injury.

Intermediate Rucking Workout Plan

For those with some rucking experience, an intermediate rucking workout plan presents a new set of challenges.

Emphasizing increased weight, maintaining good posture, and incorporating additional exercises, intermediate rucking workouts push you to new heights in your fitness journey.

Aim to maintain a 15-minute-per-mile pace for 4 or more miles while carrying at least 25% of your bodyweight.

Intermediate rucking workouts also involve integrating exercises such as:

  • Ruck swings
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers

💡Just Ruck down to the gym, workout, take advantage of a sauna if there is one present, and Ruck back. Bam! That’s one powerhouse workout.

Ruck mixed with training exercises

Then, increasing the weight of your rucksack and the distance of your ruck marches will propel you towards achieving the 12-mile ruck in 3.5 hours, carrying 40-45 pounds and maintaining a 13-14 minute pace for 4-5 miles.

Advanced Rucking Workout Plan

Mountain Ruck

For experienced ruckers, advanced rucking workout plans offer the ultimate challenge. These workouts demand higher intensity, longer distances, and more complex exercises to push your limits and test your mental toughness.

  • You must be able to run 4+ miles in 15 minutes or less with 25% of your bodyweight in order to qualify for advanced rucking workouts. This pace can give you a great workout and help you take your fitness to the next level.
  • Advanced Rucking Workout #2, for example, challenges you with 6 miles of rucking, 4 minutes in the plank position, 100 squats, and 100 lunge steps. As you conquer advanced rucking workouts, you’ll discover new ways to challenge yourself and achieve your fitness goals.

Incorporating Rucking into Your Exercise Routine

Incorporating rucking into your exercise routine involves balancing it with other workouts, determining the appropriate frequency and duration, and tracking your progress.

In the following sections, we’ll explore how to effectively integrate rucking into your existing workout regimen to ensure a well-rounded fitness routine while preventing overtraining and injury.

Balancing Rucking with Other Workouts

To create a comprehensive fitness routine, it’s essential to balance rucking with other workouts like strength training, cardio, and flexibility exercises.


Ruck down to your local gym, lift weights and stretch, and ruck back.

By doing so, you not only ensure a well-rounded fitness program, but also prevent overtraining and minimize the risk of injury.

For example, you can incorporate rucking 1-2 days a week alongside your other workout routines to provide variety and maintain a balanced approach to your fitness journey.

Frequency and Duration

Determining the appropriate frequency and duration of rucking workouts is crucial for achieving optimal results and minimizing the risk of injury.

Consider your current fitness level, goals, and any existing injuries when establishing your rucking routine. If you do experience existing injuries, there are ways to recover from them by without resorting to meds.

Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you become more comfortable and confident. This will help you maximize your results and ensure a safe and enjoyable rucking experience.

Tracking Progress and Adjusting Goals

Tracking your progress and adjusting your goals is key to maintaining motivation and ensuring continuous improvement in your rucking performance.

Use apps like Strava or GORUCK to monitor your stats, set goals, and gain insights into your progress.

Rucking Zone 2

I like to use my Whoop band to monitor my progress and my Zone Training.

If you want to know more about Whoop you can read my review.

Adjust your goals based on your progress; if you’re advancing slower than expected, modify your goals to be more achievable, and if you’re progressing faster than anticipated, make your goals more challenging.

Enhancing Your Rucking Experience

To make your rucking experience even more enjoyable and challenging, consider joining a ruck club, exploring new routes, and adding calisthenics and intervals to your workouts.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into these strategies and provide tips on how to get the most out of your rucking adventures.

Ruck Hike

Joining a Ruck Club

Ruck clubs offer camaraderie, motivation, and a sense of community, making your rucking workouts more enjoyable and challenging. These clubs provide a support network of like-minded individuals who share a passion for cycling and encourage each other to achieve their fitness goals.

Search online for local clubs, ask friends and family, or join online forums and groups to connect with other ruckers and discover new opportunities.

Exploring New Routes

Exploring new routes keeps your workouts fresh and interesting while exposing you to different terrains and challenges. Try varying your rucking routes by venturing into new neighborhoods, parks, or nature trails.

Changing your workout scenery not only keeps things exciting, but also helps you stay motivated and committed to your workout journey.

Adding Calisthenics and Intervals

Adding calisthenics and intervals to your workout increases intensity, variety, and overall fitness benefits.

Incorporate exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks into your routine for a more challenging and well-rounded workout.

By alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity periods, such as walking and running, you can further enhance your rucking experience and achieve your fitness goals faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rucking is an effective way to build muscle in your lower body, as well as your back, core, and shoulders. With the right weight, distance, and frequency, rucking can help you gain functional strength and lean muscle.

However, don’t overdo it – start with lighter weight and increase your intensity gradually.

For optimal comfort and performance, start with a weight of 10% of your bodyweight in your backpack for rucking, then progress in increments of 5-10 pounds until you reach a maximum of 13% of your bodyweight.

This will help you gradually build up your strength and endurance while avoiding injury. Rucking is a great way to get in shape and stay active, and with the right weight, you can maximize your results.

As a beginner, start by racking 2 miles per week at a pace of 20 minutes per mile. As you get used to this distance and pace, gradually increase the weight you’re carrying and the total distance until you reach your desired goals.

Rucking is a form of exercise based on military training that combines walking with carrying a weighted rucksack or backpack. It’s a low- to moderate-intensity activity that works both the cardiorespiratory system and muscles.

Rucking can be done either in mountains, known as hiking, or in urban areas, called urban rucking.

Rucking strengthens muscles throughout the lower body, including calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and lower back, as well as upper back, core, and shoulder stabilization muscles.

The weighted vest or ruck pack carried across your torso further builds these muscles.

Rucking every day can be safe for some, especially those with experience and good fitness levels, but it’s essential to listen to your body, avoid overtraining, and consult a professional, especially if you’re new to rucking or have health concerns.

Start slowly, gradually increase frequency, and prioritize proper form and rest for a safe and effective rucking routine.


Rucking is an incredible workout that offers numerous benefits for your body and mind.

From improving cardiovascular fitness and building strength to reducing stress and boosting self-esteem, rucking is an excellent addition to any fitness routine.

With the right gear, workout plans tailored to your fitness level, and strategies to enhance your experience, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your rucking goals.

So, lace up your shoes, grab your weighted backpack, and embark on a rucking adventure that will transform your fitness journey!

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