Rucking is an excellent workout for building muscle strength and endurance. However, it is possible to get injured if you don’t take proper precautions.
The most common rucking injuries include blisters and back pain. Fortunately, these injuries can be prevented by starting small and progressing slowly. By following these tips, you can avoid injury and train effectively for your military selection course.
1. Wear the Right Gear
Rucking is an all-around great workout that gives your body a lot of health benefits. It works your shoulders, knees, hips, hamstrings, abs, and obliques all at once, which helps prevent back injuries by strengthening the muscles that support your spine. Plus, it burns calories and builds endurance.
Having the right gear is important to prevent injury when rucking. You need a rucksack that fits you well and has comfortable straps and padding. You also need a pair of shoes designed for rucking that fit your feet and give you enough support. Rucking in the wrong footwear can lead to blisters, which are painful and can cause serious injuries if not addressed.
Finally, you need a rucksack with padded shoulder straps that ride high on your shoulders. This setup will allow you to maintain a healthy posture while rucking and keep the weight away from your neck and back.
Another tip is to make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your rucking workouts. It’s also important to stretch after your workout to return your muscles to a relaxed, elongated position and improve flexibility and joint health in the long term. And don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
2. Don’t Overdo It
If you push yourself too hard while rucking, it will wear you out and increase your risk of injury. Rucking is meant to be a slow, low intensity activity. If you find yourself breathing heavily, or your knees are aching, it’s time to lighten the load. It’s best to start with a guide for beginners before attempting the activity.
Linkul advises clients to start rucking with a weight that’s about 10% of their bodyweight and gradually increase it over time. He also suggests keeping the weight high up in the rucksack and close to the spine, which promotes good posture. Leaning too far forward or hunching over can add more pressure on the lower back and neck.
Rucking is a full-body workout that conditions the muscles that support the spine, build core and shoulder strength, and burns fat. It’s an excellent complement to bodyweight calisthenics and the barbell, but it doesn’t have the same stress on joints as running or powerlifting does.
Plus, it’s a great way to get outside and explore new areas with friends or training partners of varying abilities. Whether you’re planning to use rucking as part of your prepping plans or just looking for an amazing outdoor workout, give it a try! You may be surprised at how good it feels.
3. Keep Your Back Straight
Rucking is a low- to moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory activity and strength training all in one. It requires no equipment beyond a backpack and walking shoes (or running shoes) and can be done by nearly anyone who can walk.
Rucking works the core, hips and lower-body muscles as well as the shoulders. It also increases bone density in the spine and hips. Most importantly, it is a safe and effective exercise for most people regardless of age or fitness level. It is a great alternative for those who cannot run due to joint problems or arthritis.
To prevent injury, it is important to maintain proper rucking form. This includes keeping a straight, upright posture with the heaviest weights placed high on the back and close to the body. This helps distribute the load evenly across the entire torso.
Also, it is important to stretch after rucking. This helps prevent the muscles from becoming tight and shortened, which can make you more susceptible to injury in the long term. A good stretching routine should include stretches for the groin and hip flexors, the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings), and the calves. These should be stretched before and after every rucking session.
4. Don’t Lean Forward
Ruck marching is a form of exercise that involves walking while carrying a load, usually a backpack or weighted vest. It is an important part of military and special operations training, as soldiers and operatives often carry heavy packs for long distances while executing missions.
Rucking is a low-impact exercise that burns calories and builds strength, especially in the lower back, hips, and legs. It also conditions the spinal erector muscles, which are important for keeping a strong posture and reducing the risk of back injury. Rucking is also a great way to train for endurance events such as marathons and triathlons, as it simulates the conditions of long distance running while building strength and stamina.
The key to safe and effective rucking is not overdoing it, which can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. In fact, studies have shown that a significant increase in the intensity of rucking (measured by the load carried, distance travelled, and/or frequency of marching) increases the likelihood of injury. Ideally, the heaviest weights should be placed at the top of the pack and close to the body.
Rucking is a cheap, convenient, and easy-to-use fitness activity that can be done anywhere outdoors. All you need is a comfortable backpack and some rucking weight to get started.
5. Don’t Overstretch
While rucking can be challenging, it is important not to push yourself too far. You should always start with a light load and work your way up. Adding too much weight, walking too far, or pushing yourself to the point of not being able to breathe is an excellent recipe for injury and can make the rucking experience very unpleasant.
If you’re new to rucking, don’t try to increase the load, speed, or distance you walk more than 10% per week. This allows your body to adapt to the workout and avoid injury.
Rucking is an effective cardiovascular exercise that targets and strengthens many muscle groups. It also provides a great total-body workout that burns more calories than running, without the knee pain.
Unlike running, rucking requires you to take shorter steps and focus on keeping your feet planted on the ground. Taking long strides increases the amount of stress put on your back and hips, while placing too much pressure on your thighs and calves. A quick, shuffled movement, landing on the mid-foot and rolling to the toes is the most efficient and safe form of rucking. This technique also mimics the Army’s airborne shuffle and helps prevent injuries by distributing the weight more evenly to both shoulders.
6. Don’t Overdo It
Rucking provides a good cardio workout without the knee-destroying impact of running or rowing. It also forces the legs, back, and core to work against a heavier load, strengthening them and improving their endurance. It’s a great workout for people who hate cardio but still want to burn calories and improve their endurance.
However, it’s important to start rucking with an appropriate weight and not overdo it. For newcomers to rucking, it’s best to stick with a weight that is around 10% of bodyweight. For example, if you’re 200 pounds, that means starting with 20 pounds in your rucksack. Overloading puts too much strain on the body, increasing the risk of injury.
As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the weight in your rucksack. Eventually, you can ruck with up to 30% of your bodyweight. But don’t go over 50% bodyweight because that is too much stress for your muscles and joints. Make sure you keep proper form to avoid injuries such as chafing and blisters. Proper shoes, socks, and breathable clothing can help prevent this by decreasing the amount of moisture on your skin. Drinking water and electrolyte drinks regularly can help you stay hydrated.
7. Don’t Lean Forward
Rucking is an effective outdoor workout that combines the low- to moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory activity of walking with the muscular strength training of carrying a backpack. It can burn nearly as many calories as jogging or running and provides a full-body workout that strengthens the back, shoulders, hips, knees, quads and ankles. It also conditions the core.
In addition to being a great calorie-burner, rucking provides a good amount of high-intensity interval training and may help increase cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength and endurance. It’s also far less impactful on the joints of the lower body than jogging and does not cause excessive stress to the knees, hips or ankles.
Ruck marching is a popular option for people who want to get fit but don’t enjoy the rigors of traditional gym-based exercise and prefer to be outdoors. Rucking enthusiasts often gather in groups for events and challenges, helping them to feel a sense of community while enjoying the sweat, sunshine and camaraderie of strenuous physical activity. New ruckers can get started by walking a few miles each week and gradually increasing their weight over time. This prevents injury and helps them build the skills, confidence and endurance necessary for safe progressions that lead to a rewarding rucking experience.