The Top 5 Benefits Of Rucking

Running is the most popular form of cardiovascular training. Millions of people – from average civilians to highly trained soldiers and professional athletes – have incorporated running into their exercise routines in the hope of improving themselves physically, aesthetically, or even psychologically. And while running is great, can it be improved upon?
Hopefully, this list of 5 reasons will have you reaching for your 10 – 45 lb rucksack/backpack the next time you think about just regular running.

RUCKING INCREASES CALORIES BURNED OVER THE SAME DISTANCE

There are certainly a lot of factors involved when calculating the number of calories that a person burns when traveling a given distance. These include a person’s weight, fitness level, body composition, and training intensity.

For our purposes, we’re going to keep things very simple. If two people cover the same distance in the same length of time, but one person weighs significantly more than the other person, the heavier person will burn more calories than the lighter person.

It’s a simple matter of it taking more energy to move a heavier object than it takes to move a light object, and this is a fact you can exploit by rucking instead of running. If you can consistently maintain ten-minute miles during your runs, and you can add a rucking backpack and still maintain ten-minute miles, you will simply be burning more calories while rucking instead of running as you are covering the same distance. This is only one of the benefits of running with added weight, but it’s a significant one.

THE TOP 5 BENEFITS OF RUCKING

RUCKING IMPROVES BALANCE, STABILITY, AND BODY AWARENESS

Some of the benefits of exercise are less obvious than others. The majority of people clearly think about exercise benefits in terms of aesthetic improvements, weight loss, strength gains, and body composition optimization, because these are all visible to the naked eye. Secondary benefits like improvements to balance, stability, and body awareness are often overlooked, despite being nearly as important as some of the popular training benefits. And, from an athletic performance standpoint, nearly all of these secondary benefits are certainly more important than increased attractiveness.

Applying weight to a person’s shoulder blades is a common tactic to improve coordination and stability because it helps the person carrying the weight to feel more grounded. The mind and muscles become instantly aware of the added weight’s presence, and sync together to accommodate it. In essence, the connectedness of the mind and body are being trained at the same time as the muscles are being challenged. Therefore, improved balance and body awareness are far more likely to be reinforced during ruck training as opposed to weightless running.

RUCKING PREPARES YOU FOR OTHER ACTIVITIES

In many instances, running is a requirement for many activities because it’s a core component of a sport or job. This includes sports like football, volleyball, tennis, baseball, softball, and many others. And while many activities require the ability to run while wearing or holding additional gear or padding, if you ruck instead of run, you are familiarizing your body with the concept of moving through space with additional resistance. Therefore, when you eventually put on the required pads or body armor, the additional weight will feel light when compared with the rucksack/backpack. Not only will you be more conditioned to manage the additional weight, but you’ll also feel more comfortable.

RUCKING PREPARES YOU FOR EMERGENCIES

When you think about many emergency scenarios, you probably think about sprinting away from a dangerous environment and off to a safe location. Yet, there’s a reason that many people have checklists in their heads involving what they would grab and carry off with them if they needed to escape from a fire. Often, these lists include more than one item, and the more items you choose to bring with you, the heavier the load you are carrying will become. And if you’re a parent, the items you carry may include a child or two.

On the other hand, what about the people who run towards danger? Soldiers, Firemen, Police, and EMTs regularly carry many pounds of equipment and every second is meaningful when lives are on the line. The key takeaway here is that many emergencies involve running while carrying weight, and therefore rucking is automatically a more beneficial training tool for emergency preparedness than running.

Grey Team Ruck Marching Sunday October 11 2020
Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

RUCKING INCREASES LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Usually, increases in lower-body strength are accomplished by weightlifting movements, or other strength training methods specifically designed to challenge the muscles of the lower extremities. Running alone isn’t well-tailored to build lower-body power, but adding weight in the form of a rucking backpack is a rapid way to increase the challenge level and build a corresponding amount of muscle. It still won’t be as rapid or significant as the muscle growth that can be achieved through weight training, but if your time is limited and you can only train one way with two objectives in mind, rucking will help you achieve more muscle growth in your legs than running alone. On the other hand, what about the people who run towards danger? Soldiers, Firemen, Police, and EMTs regularly carry many pounds of equipment and every second is meaningful when lives are on the line. The key takeaway here is that many emergencies involve running while carrying weight, and therefore rucking is automatically a more beneficial training tool for emergency preparedness than running.

A GREY TEAM WEEKLY TRADITION

Every Sunday, Grey Team staff members, volunteers, donors, and veterans come together and come together for a 45 minute Community Ruck March. 

Community building and engagement is one of Grey Team’s mission initiatives. To learn more visit our “What We Do” webpage.

If you would like to participate, email us at [email protected].

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