Rucking is the task of hiking or walking with a loaded backpack. The word “ruck” is military slang for a backpack.
Therefore, rucking involves carrying heavy backpacks in their training process. Rucking may help you carry your essentials with ease during desperate times when moving out of an area.
Besides, when there is no danger posed, rucking is a great exercise to burn some calories and help your body build some aerobic endurance due to carrying some added weight.
How to Get Started with Rucking
Get a backpack
Buy a backpack that offers you enough space to carry at least 10% of your bodyweight for rucking.
Any backpack can do as long as it has well-placed straps that have padding to prevent them from pressing against your nerves.
However, if you are putting together survival items, you may want to purchase a backpack that has enough volume to carry all your essentials and some water.
Besides, go for a backpack that is water-resistant to enable you to walk in wet weather.
Load the Backpack
If you’re just getting started with rucking, make sure you’re not loading more than 10% of your body weight.
You can increase the weight as you get used to carrying backpacks. To prevent injury, do not overstrain your back with very heavyweights.
For practice in rucking, you can load dumbbells, bricks, weight plates, and any load that is heavy enough to carry for some distance.
If planning for your survival, you should consider items that you would need for a camping night, such as warm clothing, water, dry food, an extra supply of shoes, medical supplies, and matchboxes, among others.
The distance and pace of walking with a backpack are up to you. However, you should also take into account your physical fitness.
If you have not been exercising, consider walking for short distances of up to 100 meters at a slower pace.
As the body gets conditioned to walk with weights, you will find it easy to walk faster for longer.
We recommend carrying out other aerobic exercises and managing your weight to improve your overall fitness, even as you ruck regularly.
Safety Considerations when Rucking
Walking with a backpack on your back places direct stress on your musculoskeletal system.
If you are not careful, you may end up with soft tissue injuries in your back and knees. Others may experience pain in their feet.
There is also a risk of fractures from carrying heavyweights. In most cases, injuries come from prolonged changes in posture due to heavyweight.
Therefore, before carrying out the exercise, it is important that you carry out various measures to prevent injuries. Here are some recommendations.
Ensure that your backpack is well-fitting and built to carry lots of weight. If in a position, consider buying a backpack that is specifically built for rucking.
There are also some backpacks that allow you to change straps for better padding.
Wear footwear that is best suited for your terrain. For example, if you are walking on a trail on a wet morning, wear some traction boots to prevent fall injuries.
For a stroll in the neighborhood, a pair of low hiking boosts would do,
Distribute the weight equally across the backpack. This ensures balance, especially when walking on uneven ground.
In the same breath, it is good to add a hydration bladder to the backpack to enable you to stay hydrated without the hustle of reaching out for bottled water.
Pick a route that you know and have walked on. You know the gradient and how to walk safely.
In the same vein, your choice should be a route with a phone signal in case you get lost and are unable to find your way back to work.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
The time it takes for your body to handle weight differs from one person to another.
However, if you are a beginner, we recommend walking the same trail distance with the same weight for at least two weeks.
When you find that you can walk with relative ease, you can add a little weight.
Besides, choose a diverse terrain where you will be required to walk up and downhill so that you can use different muscle groups.
Rucking has several benefits, both for your health and the ability to move a long distance in case you are lost or need to get away from danger.
Here are some things to keep in mind when rucking:
- Use a comfortable backpack with padded straps
- Start with 10% of your body weight and increase it gradually as your body becomes fitter
- Begin slowly: a slow pace with moderate weights can help prevent back and foot injuries.
- Always stay safe when rucking by taking precautions such as walking in familiar places, wearing the right footwear, and staying hydrated.
- Keep increasing your challenge as you get used to rucking
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