Last Updated on August 30, 2023 by Kayla
Do you love walking but feel like it’s “not enough”? Or, perhaps you want to incorporate weight training into your current routine without spending endless hours in the gym? If so, then rucking might be for you!
If you’ve never heard of rucking, today you’ll learn:
- What is rucking?
- Why rucking is an effective exercise – especially for women
- How to get started – including what gear you’ll need
After reading this post, you’ll know how to level up your workouts and put your multitasking skills to work with little to no inconvenience to your current routine.
Let’s get started!
What is rucking?
Simply put, rucking is walking with weight. If you’ve ever worn a backpack or hiked in the woods, you’ve rucked.
Rucking is a rugged yet highly customizable way to workout and was influenced by military-type exercises. Think of a soldier carrying their gear or a hunter backpacking in the woods. You’re essentially outside, carrying stuff.
You can easily tone up or dial down the intensity of a ruck by experimenting with various terrain, speed, and, of course, weight.
I first learned about rucking while reading The Comfort Crisis* by Michael Easter. Now, I’m obsessed.
*I rarely rate a book five stars on Goodreads, but this was an exception.
Rucking is an excellent exercise for everyone – especially women. And, I would argue that rucking is one of the most effective exercises for women who want to lose weight without sacrificing time or energy.
Why women should ruck
Now I hate to “should” on you, but rucking for women is one exception.
Women are built to carry, and frankly, they’re better at it than men. Women are typically shorter than men, which gives them a center of gravity better suited for rucking.
Rucking also combines endurance exercise and strength training, allowing you to “multitask” your workout and get the best of both worlds.
Besides maximizing your time, other benefits of rucking include:
🦴 Increased bone density*
💪 Better body composition (i.e., you’ll lose fat and gain muscle*)
🥾 Low-impact activity means rucking is easy on your joints
🩸 Improved blood sugar regulation
🌳 Spending more time outdoors
*Note: Rucking is not a replacement for lifting weights.
Not to be overlooked, the emotional benefits of rucking are meaningful too. Time in nature is known to alleviate stress and anxiety and elevate mood.
In addition, I especially love rucking for women after bariatric surgery. On top of the benefits mentioned above, rucking provides an incredible non-scale victory (NSV).
When you carry even a fraction of the weight you lost, you’ll mentally teleport back to your pre-surgery days and be filled with gratitude for how far you’ve come.
For more on rucking for women, check out this article from Michael Easter, Why Rucking is the Best Exercise for Women. ⬇️
Rucking vs walking
To demonstrate the effectiveness of rucking versus walking, here’s a comparison of a recent walk/ruck I did.
Same route. Same elevation. Same distance and pace. Yet, by carrying an extra 20 pounds, I increased the intensity of the walk with one simple change.
So by now, you might be sold on giving rucking a go. Try it for yourself with the equipment you already have on-hand. Here’s how.
Rucking for beginners
Rucking doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. You can easily ruck on a budget with the weights you have at home.
For example, I started by putting a 10-pound dumbbell wrapped in a bath towel in my backpack. Once I proved to myself that I’d rucked enough, I leveled up my set-up by purchasing ruck plates.
Ruck plates easily slip into the laptop pouch or water reservoir compartment of a backpack or hiking pack you already own.
I like this set of two 10-pound plates with straps. Being able to tether the plates together helps with stability and prevents the weights from clanking together.
Rucksack vs backpack
As you build endurance and increase the weight load, it helps to have a sturdy rucksack with padded shoulders.
Once you start carrying more weight – say greater than 20 pounds – on a consistent basis, you’ll begin to appreciate the difference between a rucksack versus a backpack.
A typical backpack isn’t rated to carry heavy weight over long distances. A rucksack, however, is more durable and is meant to go the long haul. Oftentimes, the handles and stitching are reinforced to tolerate a heavier load and hold the weight more appropiately.
I’ve tested several packs and love the Bullet Ruck from GORUCK. This rucksack is compact, yet has the capacity to hold a hydration bladder and all your day-hike essentials. It’s the perfect starter pack for women and is rated up to 40 pounds.
With a lifetime guarantee and 1% of profits donated to non-profits who support those who serve — military, Veterans, First Responders, teachers, social workers, and military spouses — I love knowing that my dollars are well spent with GORUCK.
At 5′ 3″ tall, the GORUCK Bullet Ruck holds the weight right where I want it, and I can ruck comfortably. For extra support, I highly recommend adding the GORUCK sternum strap to help cinch down and distribute the load.
For a simpler way to upgrade your set-up, a ruck plate carrier can also make for a sturdy substitute for a standard backpack.
Regardless of how you choose to carry the load, I recommend starting with 10 lbs – maybe even an empty backpack depending on your fitness level – and, as you acclimate to the weight, increase by 5 to 10-pound increments.
Rucking is an easy, effective way to ramp up your existing walking routine. You can begin with equipment you already have on-hand and upgrade your gear when you’re ready.
Experiment with different terrains and speeds to change the intensity of your ruck, and you can experience numerous physical and emotional benefits of rucking.
Rucking is one way to embrace the suck and practice getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. A little bit of suck *err, ruck* goes a long way!
Keep calm and ruck on! ✌️
Founder of LIFe – Lose It Forever
This post may contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through any of the links, there is no additional cost to you, and I may earn a small (and very appreciated) commission. Thank you for your support!