In an age where we’re surrounded by fitness technology, cutting edge equipment and designer diets, it seems it’s often the simple things that suit us best!
An activity dating back hundreds of years has emerged as the latest fitness trend. Grab your rucksack… and get ready to ‘Ruck’!
Rucking, otherwise known as walking with a weighted pack on your back is clearly nothing new. It is however, no small feat!
Soldiers in training camps often trek miles with loaded rucksacks weighing upwards of 90kgs. And the benefits of this simple fitness solution certainly stack up…
Triple The Burn
For the average person, a 30-minute walk burns around 125 calories. Throw on a weighty rucksack and take that exact same walk, and you’ll burn around 325 calories* . Burning three times as many calories to work with the additional weight, for the regular ‘rucker’ walking three times per week, this equates to over 31,200 extra calories shed over the course of a year.
Bin The Back Pain
As our Lower Back Pain Specialist course outlines, many of us tend to spend a significant amount of our day sitting down. So our bodies get used to this position. It’s only when we start to flex the back through heavy lifting or stretching that we feel discomfort. Our backs simply aren’t used to being flexed in these ways!
Get that back trained. Rucking will help you to practice holding up your torso, to prevent your back muscles from having to take excessive strain. Less compression on your spine means less distress to the discs, in turn helping to prevent and relieve back pain.
Crank Up The Cardio
Heading out for a ruck, rather than a walk adds bags of benefits to your cardio efforts.
“The cardio benefits of rucking are comparable to those gained from other long, slow distance exercises like jogging,” says Jason Hartman, a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who trains Special Forces soldiers for the US military.
Not only will it get the blood pumping, the cardio system working harder, but building up your posture will help to make you more resilient to injury.
Light On The Wallet
Who doesn’t have an old rucksack lying around? Grab a few tins of beans or a set of mini dumbbells and chuck on your ruck every time you walk the dog or commute to work (unless you’re in the car, because that would just be pointless).
No fancy equipment required. Easy on the pocket and a blast of fresh air in the great outdoors to boot! Our Outdoor Fitness Coaches will have bags of ideas to shake up your workout outside of the gym.
Ready To Ruck?
If you fancy having a go, a few top tips to get you started…
- To avoid overkill, don’t head straight for the big guns. Opt for a load that’s around 10% of your body weight to start off with.
- Load your bag with whatever you have to hand… dumbbells, sandbags, bottles of water… If you have a weight that’s an awkward shape, wrap it in a towel to keep it from rolling around in there.
- If you plan to ruck with a heavy load, invest in a rucksack that can hande the weight. This is important to ensure the straps fit properly to your back, and that any weighty loads don’t fall through the bottom of your bag!
- Just walk! Simple as that. Walk for as long as you like to get used to the extra weight and ease yourself in.
- Like any good workout, you’ll feel the effects afterwards, with an added extra few on the muscles you may not usually target in the gym. The great news is, that with your newly corrected posture, your rucking efforts will be working on the exact muscles that need a little work.
*According to the Compendium of Physical Activities