Rucking is bad for you if you don’t do it right. You could end up with nerve compression injuries due to poor posture, ankle problems, and blisters.
However, if you carry suitable weight, maintain proper form and have the right walking speed, rucking is good for you.
Walking with weight on your back can help with your fitness. Of course, no exercise is perfect.
Rucking might not always turn out the way you expect it to. Despite the health benefits, I like my readers to know what they risk when engaging in a particular physical activity.
So in this rucking guide, I explain how this popular workout routine can be good or bad for you.
How Rucking Can Go Wrong
Back pain is the biggest threat rucking enthusiasts face. The question of if rucking can harm your back is one I have heard dozens of times.
My answer is, ‘it depends on how you do it.’
Back injury is a real possibility when rucking. When carrying that load, make sure it sits correctly.
For one, the amount of weight in your rucksack matters. Inexperienced individuals make the mistake of putting everything they find in an attempt to accelerate desired results.
However, an excessive load can be counterproductive. The weight on your back affects posture and increases injury risk. Think of bodybuilders lifting more than they are supposed to.
Too much weight can lead to trunk lean, the inclination to lean forward to counterbalance a heavy load.
So, every extra pound above the necessary weight means a higher probability of hurting your back.
Leaning excessively strains the neck, shoulders, and back, which could result in a compression nerve injury.
The condition occurs due to the nerve getting compacted for a prolonged period. It causes muscle weakness, pain, and numbness.
Rucking can also be bad for you if you don’t’ distribute the weight in your back appropriately.
If the weight rests at the bottom of the bag, then it multiplies the chances of suffering an injury.
When the load is at the bottom, it messes with your center of balance, requiring the body to work harder than normal to support the weight.
Another issue is that the load imbalance will cause the backpack to sway a lot. Consequently, it rubs against your back, generating friction, which can lead to blisters.
Thus, keep the weight in the backpack as high as possible. Placing a yoga block under the load helps. Remember to distribute the weight evenly.
Also, watch out for the straps on your rucksack. The bag’s straps affect how the load settles on your back. Therefore, they influence posture.
Non-flexible shoulder straps increase pain in the lower back, shoulders, and neck muscles. If the straps are too thin, then they won’t distribute the load, resulting in poor posture.
How is Rucking Good for You?
I have highlighted some of the ways rucking can have negative results. Now, I’ll tell you what to expect when this physical activity goes right.
Rucking is a military staple because it provides several fitness benefits. It offers most of the advantages of running without the downsides.
Firstly, rucking doesn’t stress your knees too much, but you still get to burn calories. Walking a considerable distance with a load lets you burn as many calories as you would while jogging.
However, your knees don’t have to put up with the shock of hitting the ground at high impact. So, you minimize injury risk without giving up on your fitness goals.
Cardio exercise is rucking’s a biggest selling point. Like some experts put it, ‘it’s cardio for those who hate cardio.’
Traditionally, cardiovascular workouts involve high-intensity activities like running, jogging, and biking.
Not a lot of people have the patience for these activities, though. For example, I hate running, regardless of how good it is for my well-being.
Rucking forces your heart to function at full capacity to keep with the pressure on your body. The more you walk with a loaded backpack, the more your heart exercises.
If you sit most of the day, then rucking is good for you. It improves posture by aligning the shoulders and back to support the load.
For a nature lover like me, rucking is another excuse to go into the wild, away from daily distractions, and breathe some fresh, unpolluted air.
Another advantage of rucking is you can adjust the activity to suit your workout requirements.
For instance, if you only need to burn a few calories, you can reduce the weight and walk a shorter distance than usual.
Whether Rucking is Bad or Good for you Comes down to your Approach
Just because the exercise is simple doesn’t mean there isn’t a right way to do it. So, make certain you know the best way to ruck for desirable outcomes.
Rucking is bad for you if you don’t have the proper posture, weight, and backpack.
You can enjoy better heart health, enhanced endurance, and improved posture from rucking if you follow recommendations.
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net