Rucking: The better version of running

Rucking is the best. Do you know what rucking is? Here, I’ll give you the low down if you don’t already know:

RUCK • ING –– Walking with a weighted vest or rucksack.

BOOM. That’s it. Nice and simple.

If you search “ruck” or “rucking” on Dictionary.com you will find definitions like “large quantities of mass” and “to fold.” That’s not what we’re talking about here… although you may be carrying large quantities of mass and want to fold by the time you’re done.

Roots:

Rucking is undeniably human. We have carried heavy things over long distances for thousands of years and still do. From The Great Human Migration out of Africa 80,000 years ago to current U.S. Army weighted ruck marches which include 70 pounds or more, we like to ruck.

Nowadays, people are rucking for fun with the help of companies like GORUCK. Part of their community fabric is that rucking is for those who hate running. It helps people get off of the treadmill and out in the real world, outside. Apparently, rucking even burns up to three times as many calories as traditional walking does. Brands and experts like GORUCK, Outside online, Mudruckr, Art of Manliness, Stew Smith Fitness, MensHealth, the British Journal of Sports Medicine, oh, and the U.S. Armed Forces all conclude that rucking destroys calories and improves work capacity among a plethora of other fitness benefits.

“Rucking is great for the average person,” says Doug Kechijian, Doctor of Physical Therapy at Peak Performance, in New York City, and a former US Special Forces soldier. “It’s simple, and it delivers a lot of health and fitness benefits.”

Popular Fitness Culture:

GORUCK holds events across the United States, they sell specifically designed gear for rucking, they created clubs you can join and they started a podcast. (I’m not sponsored or payed by GORUCK to say any of this. I just like them!)

Check out their event locator here: goruck.com/find-an-event/. If you’re like me and live in Southern California, the next event is in Huntington Beach on July 3. For this event: goruck.com/event-15783/. I have never attempted or completed a GORUCK event, but I’m thinking I will sign up for this one!

Nick Bare, U.S. Army veteran, Ironman athlete, marathoner, social media fitness influencer and owner of Bare Performance Nutrition, completed a 100-mile, 50-pound and 30-hour ruck march on May 24, 2019. You can check out this monster of a man below and on his youtube channel:

Benefits:

Calories–– Rucking is known to burn up to three times as many calories as traditional walking. Think about how easy and rewarding that is. Whether you are a bodybuilder or a couch potato, it is possible for you to walk one mile with some weight on your back.

Strength–– Rucking strengthens your back muscles, relieves and even prevents upper back and neck pain. With weight on your back, you are anatomically forced to be in proper posture to protect your spine. Overtime, you will strengthen muscles in your back, neck and shoulders that are neglected from days spent on the couch, looking down at your phone or at your computer.

Endurance–– Rucking builds your endurance without putting your lower extremities at a high a risk of injury like jogging does:

Michael Easter of MensHealth writes, “The cardio benefits of rucking are comparable to those gained from other long, slow distance exercises like jogging,” says Jason Hartman, C.S.C.S. who trains Special Forces soldiers for the US Military. But unlike jogging—which has an injury rate anywhere from 20 to 79 percent, according to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine—rucking actually makes you more injury resilient, says Hartman. “It builds up your hip and postural stability, and that makes you more injury proof in all your other activities,” he says.

Keep it fun and simple:

Remember a ruck is just a weighted walk. You can go for one mile, 10 miles, 20 miles… however many miles you want. You can even listen to music or podcasts. I love listening to leadership, self-development or educational podcasts like the Jocko Podcast when I ruck. Sometimes I take my dog. It’s something you can do with other people or individually, both can be fun. You can ruck in urban landscapes, at the beach, in the mountains, in the desert, heck, you can ruck on the stairs in your house over and over again. No matter what you do, you will become a better version of yourself through rucking.

Sources:

By Gabriel Wahl

Gabriel Wahl is a Southern Californian resident and an alumnus from the legacy public relations program at San Diego State University. He studied a mix of business, environmental science, tourism, public relations and played competitive rugby as an Aztec. Gabe is a plant-based athlete and storyteller who has a passion for sharing positive and educational content.

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