T Nation

Replacing Weight Vest with Ruck Marches?

Hey Jim-
I’m currently on the back half of the beach body challenge, and I’m going to transition to Beyond 5/3/1 Program 1.1 following that. I’m a bit strapped for cash at the moment and a weight vest really isn’t an option for conditioning, but I’m wondering if I can simply toss some weight in my ruck sack I’ve got from my Army days and walk with that instead. Is that an acceptable substitute, and how much weight should I be tossing in if it is?

Love the program btw, I’ve never made bigger gains.

Some of my friends have used both and all of them said the same thing - the vest and ruck, while looking the same, are very different.

With this in mind, I have no idea what kind of weight you would use. However, I can say, without any doubt, that if done for conditioning reasons, most people use way too much weight. So don’t try to make this into a challenge. I just finished the conditioning section of my new book and I repeat, many times, the conditioning mantra that most people and trendy shit-programs forget:

"Training is not testing."

Let that be your guide.

I tried this and while it definitely wasn’t ideal, it’s all I had at the time. I kept the weight around 50 pounds and didn’t do anything crazy like a 12 mile ruck. You get some funny looks walking the dog with a ruck but it worked well enough until I could afford a quality vest.

Thanks for the advice. Trust me I know this isn’t ideal (Jim’s made his opinions on substitution clear), but I really getting a decent vest really just isn’t an option at the moment. Although I’m sure I know someone with a plate carrier, so maybe that is.

Thanks for the advice guys - I figure not ideal, but buying a decent vest is just out of the question right now. That said, maybe i’ve got some friends with plate carriers.

Plate carrier should work well as long as it’s snug!