Rucking vs Weighted Vest (Pros, Cons, Differences & Which is Better?

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If you have been training and it seems like your runs or workouts lack some intensity, maybe it’s time you step up things by rucking or wearing a weighted best.

Running or working out while rucking or with a weighted vest on helps improve your speed, increases strength, and boosts your endurance.

I have been working out for over 10 years and during this period I have used both rucking and weighted vests.

Both serve their purposes well, but some people might disagree depending on the option they love best.

So, here’s all there is to know about the pros and cons of rucking and weighted vests.

Weighted Vests


  • They add resistance to your workouts.

Weighted vests are wearable fitness tools that are used by workout enthusiasts to add resistance to workouts.

In my case, I use my weighted vest for cardiovascular exercises like running, walking, and aerobics.

When you wear the vest, it makes you heavier, which makes the exercises and moves more difficult.

As a result, your muscles develop resistance which then helps your body build up strength.

  • Overall strength gains.

Our bodies are very adaptive and by using weight vests you’ll reap the benefit of gaining more strength.

This happens because your bones’ density increases and also you’ll have improved cardiorespiratory function.

  • Improves your health.

Medical practioners have emphasized on the importance of wearing weight vests during workouts.

The added weight makes your heart pump faster, which increases the aerobic capacity.

In turn, there’s an increased demand of oxygen and blood supply in the body.

The body gets conditioned to pumping blood fast, taking in more oxygen and this helps improve your cardiorespiratory function.

The weighted vest also affects your muscles, ensuring that you stay balanced and strong as you run or exercise.

  • Helps you improve your balance.

Studies have shown that weighted vests have a great impact on your postural muscles.

This especially applies to postmenopausal women who work out with a weight vest on.

It helps improve the body’s balance and strengthens your bones and muscles.

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No product or tool is perfect. Even though weighted vests have many benefits, there are a few disadvantages of using them and these are:

  • You’ll add more weight.

One of the most obvious downsides of weighted vests is that you’ll be adding a little weight and this might slow you down during runs or exercises.

When you add weight and run slower you’ll be forced to change your running mechanics.

  • Gradual injuries related to the vests.

Due to the mechanical compensation of these vests you need to be extremely careful.

Many running-related injuries occur gradually to people using weight vests.

This happens over time and it can be hard to notice when the body starts getting injured.

Without proper knowledge and usage, you could start putting stress on somebody areas that aren’t used to that.

Additionally, since you’re overloading the upper body, you might end up injuring your spine.

Therefore, if you are suffering from any degenerative arthritic condition of the hips, knees, or spine you should avoid using a weight vest.

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Rucking is for people who are physically conditioned for the task.

It’s the best option if you’re running several miles.

Rucking is mostly used by the military and it’s a standard requirement.


  • Gives you comfort and form.

With rucking you won’t have any discomfort after working out.

Although the rucksack might be heavy, the weight is evenly distributed and your body gets used to it with time.

Thus, you won’t get any lower back pain even after intense workouts.

  • Weight capacity.

People ruck for different purposes, and for me, I do it for the social and health benefits.

Others do it for military purposes.

Regardless your reason the goal is to carry more weight during a ruck event and the weight should be challenging enough for you.

The rucksack will help you endure more weight, and from time to time you can supplement your training with a weighted vest.

  • It has multiple uses.

Rucking vests are perfect because you can either use them in rucking events or during your regular workout.

Military personnel also use rucking vests to intensify their runs and strengthen their muscles.


  • Rucking vests are known to exacerbate pain from previous injuries.
  • Since rucking vests are heavy, without proper training you can also injure your body easily
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So, Rucking vs Weighted Vest, Which is better?

Well, this depends on what you want to achieve.

For people joining the military and meeting the ruck march standards, you can use a rucksack.

That’s because the military has a very intense program that requires you to ruck 12 miles in 3 hours.

So, you’ll require a lot of practice before you join the military, so you can as well start off soon.

However, if your main goal is getting in shape then you should use a weighted vest.

A weighted vest will intensify your runs or workouts and help you achieve lots of flexibility and your body goal.

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Last update on 2023-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API