T Nation

Thoughts on Rucking


Hey all.....I wanted to get your two cents on rucking. I know there are military guys on the forum and also some SF applicants that pass through. Is this something that you would consider a good tool to include in your training? I recently started to throw in some road rucks after reading Dan John's article on loaded carries and I've been able to work my way up to 13min miles for 10mi w/ 50lbs so far. Their tough that's for sure but I just wanted to get some more opinions just for shits and grins.


definitely a fan, rucking always seemed easier for the bigger guys. I haven't done a ruck in a couple years but it was great for fat loss, however after years and years I'd assume it would take it's toll on the joints. If you overdo your leg workouts will suck balls though.


I am not sure what you are training for so...:

If you are training to join, keep up the good work. Increase the mileage to about 15-20 miles, then increase the weight and start back at 3-5 miles and work your way up. Don't kill yourself over it if you have time. I am assuming you are going on a hump once a week or more. If you cannot increase the weight anymore, find a really tall hill or a mountain.

If you are training for Afghanistan and are already in the service, drop the pace (or at least don't worry about it as much), increase the weight. Patrols are stupid slow and you will get real good at dropping to a knee in a security posture while waiting for someone to prod at something potentially explosive in the ground. Wearing full PPE, with weapon, ammo, and water your carrying at least 60 pounds on a flak jacket. Also practice casevac as dragging another person really blows.

What I do: I perform 5/3/1 four days a week. I squat 225 (which is 50% of my one rep max) on my non squat day for three sets of five (which will be significantly heavier than any load I will need to carry). Before my bench and press I walk a mile with 80 pounds of weight vest while either doing farmer carry or a sled drag. I have seen great carry over to tactical movements as well as ruck marching. I also will drag a sled for recovery sans weight vest.

Remember that patrol=tactical movement; ruck march=administrative movement (i.e. moving from a relatively non hostile area to another).


Not a military perspective but :

Have been carrying loads around mountain areas since my twenties. Nowadays i try to do a day of heavy rucking sessions each week.
I carry around 80lbs per load but over short distance although the loaded carry is all uphill (about 1 mile per carry) and usually heavy unseasonned wood.
I tend to get a load of around 65lbs upwards in the ruck and another 25lbs or so in my arms--a friend who is ex military says it looks as though i am carrying a heavy weapon in my arms--wouldn't know as anever done that.

I think it is excellent conditioning work and carries over well into my outdoor life, have no idea how it carries over into other weight training though.


I remember my first 10 mile ruck in the army and my shins felt like they were going to break in the first 2 miles...then it was OK.

And yeah, I was about 215lbs so carrying the standard 45lbs wasn't much of a problem for me compared to running. It was a scoot and shoot and at the end I was one of the only guys in the platoon to remember to take off his dust cap from the end of the rifle. The other guys were just too fucked over I guess. Ha! They looked like I did after running 2 miles in 13 minutes or whatever.


My profession in the army called for alot of rucking. Lengthy marches with 70-100 lbs loads. Than active duty had some really sick weights with some interesting terrain :). More than anything I think it was mental conditioning, it definately takes it's toll on the body when done frequently. I could see great benefits for a weekly or bi-weekly session though.


I always try to structure my workouts around my ruck for that exact reason


I am already in and I do know what you mean about slow patrols in the sand box. My last deployment allowed me to actually partake on convoy duty which introduced me to a much different side of the military. I'm actually using rucks to take up my weekends because that is where I get the most time by myself. At the same time I am training with the hopes of cross training into a more demanding career field.


Holy shit! 215lbs!!!!!! The most I've ever had on my back was a 100lbs and that was brutal. I don't weigh too much either but I noticed that I'm the perfect height for positing a molley or old ruck bag.


I think the poster weighs 215 mate, not his pack :slightly_smiling:


I ruck atleast 4-5 times a week, anywehre from 30 min to 1hr+ with 45lbs. I think its great for fat loss and its just fun in my opinion. I havent had rucking get me too tired or sore for my workouts later in the day either.


This book has a good ruck program as well as lots of other pointers(foot-care, lacing, etc), I'm sure the military guys here have probably heard of it.



A must read if entertaining thoughts of joining the teams.


I just got myself an ALICE pack. For the life of me I cant figure out how to get it attached to the frame. Once I figure it out, My rucks will be going much more smoothly.


I'm not exactly sure what "rucking" is, but I hike with between 50-80pounds over a varied terrain (sometimes I take a giant piece of wood/vest, or a weighted vest and a hiking pack with 60pounds) sometimes I carry a person on my back over a good distance.

It's a good workout esp on the calves (if you try and jog with that weight) pretty intense over a long distance and uphill.

It also result in amazing hypertrophy if done after a heavy back or leg day. Really tears you up. great for back hypertrophy, leg hypertrophy and endurance.

navigating and hoping from beach rock to rock at the pace of a good jog with that kind of weight, it's awesome. Thoroughly exhausting esp in deep snow.


My usual rucking.

Carrying a load of firewood up our of the valley.

This load was about 60lbs in the ruck and 25 in my arms.


this is realy simple as im sure you already know but im going to say it any ways. if doing for any mil reason you already know your max dis, aprox 25m im guessing and 80lbs+/-. build up the distance by 5 if not there yet, when you are start triming down the time. eventualy you shouldn't feel right when you dont get your 25m 'run' in once a week. get there and youll be in plenty good enough shape to handle any future rucks. If not for mil purpouse, then realy there just isnt enough info here to intelligently coment. good luck to you and do read the stuff other members linked.


sorry didnt notice you already said you had experiance. all the same my recomondations stand.


worst thing was 30 mile ruck during high elevation training. Carrying 110 lbs rucks oh man a real spirit breaker more than anything. Great way to see your general body strength too. Any imbalances and you will feel it.


Are we talking running or walking? Because whenever I run with a pack on either stuff falls out or a strap breaks.
I've actually taken to occasionally running sprints with my 13 year old sis on my back though. I find it works much better because nothing falls out without warning.