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US Marines carrying heavy gear in a loaded march

What is Rucking? Military Physical Fitness

If you’re wondering what is rucking, and why it has become popular among fitness pros, you’re in the right place.

What is Rucking?

Rucking is an exercise involving walking or hiking with a weighted backpack, also known as a rucksack. The extra weight takes your normal walk and turns up the intensity. Rucking is common in the Marine Corps and other branches of the US military. But it has been utilized for centuries to build the endurance and strength of soldiers.

When rucking, you’ll experience less pounding on the knees than when running, making rucking a good choice for low-impact exercise. It has numerous benefits such as building muscle strength, improving your cardio, and more.

Other terms for rucking used in the Marines includes stomping, hump, and loaded march.

Military Roots of Rucking

Rucking evolved out of military training and dates back to the first iron-clad army, in the seventh century B.C. The ability to march a certain distance carrying a load of equipment is central to almost all military units and is still a part of military training today. It’s common for soldiers to carry heavy loads on their backs as a way to build strength and endurance.

Rucking has also been used as a way to test the physical fitness of Marines, with long-distance marches with heavy loads serving as a key component of military fitness tests. 

Besides the USMC, rucking is a key element of military training for many other branches of the US military, including the Army, Rangers, special forces, and SEALs.

Rucking for Fitness

Rucking offers a multitude of fitness benefits. By simply adding weight to your backpack and hitting the road, you can improve cardiovascular endurance, increase strength and muscular endurance, enhance functional fitness, burn calories, and aid in weight loss.

Rucking provides a low-impact exercise suitable for various fitness levels, allowing individuals to customize the intensity and distance according to their capabilities. It can be incorporated into a fitness routine by selecting the right backpack, choosing the appropriate weight, ensuring proper fit and weight distribution, and gradually increasing intensity and distance.

With its versatility and accessibility, rucking proves to be an effective and enjoyable fitness activity for all– not just boots in the Marine Corps. 

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, rucking allows you to tailor the workout to your needs and goals. To learn how to ruck like a Marine, check out this guide. Follow the advice and you’ll get the health benefits without the risk of injury.

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