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Rucking: What, How and Why

Rucking. Have you ever heard of it?

For the past two years I have been enjoying the benefits of consistent rucking. I use rucking as cross-training for my endurance pursuits, but I also love the health benefits of rucking as a stand-alone workout. Today we will discuss what exactly rucking is, how to do it and what the benefits are.

Rucking can be simply defined as walking while carrying weight in a rucksack (i.e. a backpack.) It's something simple that anyone, anywhere can do. No gym or special training is required.

How should I start Rucking?

To begin rucking, you first need a sturdy rucksack or backpack. You will place some weight in the pack and then...go for a walk! Sounds simple, right? It is--but follow the guidelines below before you start:

-make sure you have a proper-fitting rucksack/backpack that is sturdy enough to hold weight

-you can use anything you'd like for weight (bag of rice, dumbbells, sandbags etc.) but note that some items may be bulky or not sit right in your pack--so you'll have to experiment

-there are several companies that make products specifically for rucking--they have both rucksacks and weighted plates that make rucking a breeze and they take the guesswork out of setting up a pack

-if you are just starting out, try carrying 10% of your body weight and then increase the weight slowly over time

-start with a flat, one mile walk and make sure you feel comfortable with your weight and pack

-you can increase mileage and/or weight as you progress

-walk briskly, but don't run

So now here's the big question, why Rucking?

There are many benefits of rucking. Whether you are a runner who is looking for useful

cross-training exercises or you are just trying to find a non-gym fitness routine, read on to learn about the benefits of rucking.

-Rucking burns more calories than walking alone and also raises your heart rate higher than when walking without weight--which makes it totally count as cardio! Rucking is great cardio for those who typically hate cardio in a gym setting.

-Rucking erases the divide between cardio and strength training. It can help boost endurance and cardiovascular fitness while simultaneously building muscle (hello runners!!)

-Because of these unique benefits, runners may find rucking to be a great form of cross-training. It turns out that rucking is less stressful on the body than running and counts as low-impact exercise.

-Rucking can increase balance, coordination and help strengthen the upper body as well.

-There are organized rucking events you can participate in with friends.

-You can add a weighted rucksack to your existing strength routine by wearing it during step-ups, lunges, squats, planks, etc.

So, do you ruck? Share your experiences in the comment section.

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