Rucking Workout Plans

Rucking Workout Plans

Rucking is a simple exercise: walking with weight on your back. It’s a low impact, full body exercise rooted in military training that is free and easy to start. You probably have everything you need to go through a rucking workout, and this guide will set you up for success.

Rucking torches calories, builds strength and stamina, and improves posture (you can read 23 benefits of rucking here). It’s all about community, the outdoors, and health.

Any rucking workout plan is tailored to your experience level. Ready to become a machine of strength and endurance? We’ve got a rucking workout plan for beginner, intermediate, and advanced ruckers.

Rucking Workout Plan for Beginners

Being a beginner is a good thing. It means you’re learning, getting stronger, and starting to reap some of the many benefits of rucking. When it comes to introducing rucking workouts to your training, start small and build slowly. The same applies if you’re new to fitness and rucking will be your primary exercise.

Check out our beginner’s guide to rucking for beginner tips and tricks, and join Tribe ‘n Training for access to daily workouts through our own training app.

GORUCK Training workouts are simple (but not easy), scalable to all abilities, and you can do them anywhere — your garage, your front yard, at a park with your friends. You choose the time, the place, and your teammates. Tap here to get the GORUCK Training app.

Volume, Weight, and Intensity for Beginners

Beginners can follow a few simple rules to get the most out of rucking. Start with 1-2 ruck workouts per week, aiming for 2-3 miles. Your rucking pace should be between 15 and 20 minutes per mile. If you find that you’re moving slower than 20 minutes per mile, lower your weight.

When you’re new to rucking, start with about 10-25 pounds. Many beginners use a dumbbell wrapped in a towel. Eventually you may want a ruck plate for a more comfortable ride, but just get started with what you’ve got. When in doubt, opt for less weight and longer distance. Once you’re confident with your starting weight (10-25 pounds), add 5 pounds per week, making sure to keep good posture (shoulders back, standing tall) and your pace under 20 minutes per mile.

You’ll notice some muscle soreness—that's a good thing. It means your body has already started adapting.

Sample Rucking Workouts and Training Plan

For the first few weeks, beginner rucking workouts can be simple. During your 1-2 rucks per week, focus on pace and posture, learning how your body handles the demands of walking with weight.

You can mix in lunges, squats, and core exercises like planks, but only enough to help you learn how the rucksack sits on your back and shoulders, and how best to move while carrying weight.

Try this simple training plan to start your rucking journey:

  • Week 1: 1 ruck | 2.5 miles | 17-20 minutes per mile
  • Week 2: 1 ruck | 2.5-3 miles | 17-20 minutes per mile
  • Week 3: 2 rucks | 2-2.5 miles | 17-20 minutes per mile
  • Week 4: 2 rucks | 2.5-3 miles | 17-20 minutes per mile
  • Week 5: 3 rucks | 3 miles | 17-20 minutes per mile
  • Week 6: 3 rucks | 3 miles | 17-20 minutes per mile

Start with weight that feels appropriate for your current fitness level. Remember, you can always add more weight for your next workout if it wasn’t challenging enough.

Intermediate Rucking Workouts

Alright, you’ve got some rucking workouts under your belt. Maybe you’ve joined an Official GORUCK Club or browsed rucking events. You’re comfortable wearing a rucksack and have a feel for doing basic exercises like squats, lunges, and pushups while wearing weight.

So, what’s next?

While we don’t recommend ever exceeding 1/3 of your bodyweight in your rucksack, keep adding 5 pounds every couple weeks, maintaining good posture and an appropriate walking pace. The Army minimum standard is 15 minutes per mile. Can you keep that up for 3+ miles?

Rucking workouts at this point might get more challenging. It’s tough to keep up 15 minutes per mile, especially when you add strength exercises to your walk. You’re getting stronger, faster, and more durable.

Continue to safely increase volume, but make sure you’re still taking rest days. We don’t recommend rucking every day, even as you get more experienced.

Here are three sample workouts for intermediate ruckers:

Intermediate Rucking Workout #1

  • Ruck 2 miles at <20 minutes per mile
  • Hold plank 1 minute
  • 20 squats
  • 20 lunge steps
  • Hold plank 1 minute
  • Ruck 2 miles at <20 minutes per mile

Intermediate Rucking Workout #2

  • Ruck 3+ miles at ~15 minutes per mile
  • 50 lunge steps
  • 50 squats

Intermediate Rucking Workout #3

  • Ruck 3+ miles at ~15 minutes per mile
  • Bear crawl for 1 minute every 15 minutes during the ruck march

Pro Tip: Introduce PT exercises to your rucking workout plan gradually. Not every workout should be a gut-wrencher.

Advanced Rucking Workouts

You’ve been around the block (wearing a rucksack, obviously). You’re rucking 4-5 days per week, getting up to multiple hour rucks on the weekends. Maybe you’ve even got some rucking friends from Tribe ‘n Training that push you and keep you accountable.

That’s what we like to hear.

Are you ready to get dirty and sweaty?

Advanced rucking workouts are for those who can maintain a 15 minute per mile pace for 4+ miles, carrying at least 25% of bodyweight. These workouts are intense and best performed with friends who like to sweat.

When introducing PT exercises, start with one PT workout per week. Keep the remaining workouts to just rucking. Adjust your weight if needed and pay close attention to form. These exercises will be difficult while wearing a rucksack.

Try these advanced rucking workouts to take your fitness to another level and test your mental toughness:

 

Advanced Rucking Workout #1 “Boulders”

    • Ruck 2 miles at 15 minutes per mile
    • 50 pushups (with or without a ruck, modifying to knees as needed)
    • 50 ruck overhead presses (two hands, bring ruck to chest level then push it overhead)
    • Ruck 2 miles at 15 minutes per mile
    • 50 pushups (with or without a ruck, modifying to knees as needed)
    • 50 ruck overhead presses (two hands, bring ruck to chest level then push it overhead)
    • Ruck 2 miles at 15 minutes per mile

    Total: 6 miles rucking, 100 pushups, 100 overhead presses

    Advanced Rucking Workout #2 “PT Sandwich”

          • Ruck 3 miles at 15 minutes per mile
          • 2 minute plank (with or without ruck)
          • 100 squats (wearing your rucksack)
          • 100 lunge steps (wearing your rucksack)
          • 2 minute plank (with or without ruck)
          • Ruck 3 miles at 15 minutes per mile

    Total: 6 miles rucking, 4 minutes in the plank position, 100 squats, 100 lunge steps

    Advanced Rucking Workout #3 “Tree Trunks”

          • 100 lunge steps (wearing your rucksack)
          • 100 squats (wearing your rucksack)
          • Ruck 3 miles at 15 minutes per mile
          • 100 lunge steps (wearing your rucksack)
          • 100 squats (wearing your rucksack)
          • Ruck 3 miles at 15 minutes per mile

    Total: 6 miles rucking, 200 lunge steps, 200 squats

    These advanced rucking workouts are challenging and should not be completed every day. They’re used to assess fitness and preparation for endurance events like the GORUCK Challenge. Get creative with them and bring your friends along for the ride. Scale them to your fitness level and perform them when you’re craving a challenge.

    Ruck PT for GORUCK Challenges

    If you’re preparing for the GORUCK Challenge, you’ll want to spend a lot of time wearing your rucksack. That should be obvious. Get your shoulders, back, and legs accustomed to long hours under weight. Ruck PT is necessary to prepare for GORUCK Challenges, no matter which challenge you choose.

    Cadre will require you to perform a variety of exercises as individuals and as a team, all while wearing your rucksack. Prepare with farmer’s carries, overhead presses, pushups, planks, squats, and lunges.

    Each “Advanced Rucking Workout” listed above can be used to prepare for GORUCK Challenges.

     

    Best Exercises for a Rucking Workout

    There are many great exercises to include in a rucking workout. Here are a few of our team’s favorites...

      Rucking exercises while wearing a ruck:
    1. Squats
    2. Lunges
    3. Step-ups
    4. Pushups
    5. Planks
    6. Mountain climbers
    7. Pullups/Chin-ups
    8. Dead hangs
    9. Bear crawl
    10. Farmer’s carry
    11. Burpees
      Take your ruck off and try these:
    1. Overhead ruck press
    2. American twists
    3. Ruck clean and press
    4. Ruck thrusters
    5. Overhead rucksack squat
    6. Flutter kicks

    Final Thoughts: Get Creative in Your Rucking Workout

    Remember why we ruck. Humans are more important than hardware. Outside is better than inside. Together is better than alone. If the workout you’re putting together checks these boxes, you’re on the right path.

    So don’t stress about the perfect rucking workout. Get creative. Rucking is a flexible exercise. You’ll have everything you need on your back to make it count.

    Get outside and get a little sweaty with other good people. Explore yourselves and your communities.

    That’s the best rucking workout there is.

    FAQs

    How many days a week should you ruck?

    Beginners should start with 1-2 days per week. As you add weight and get more comfortable wearing a rucksack, steadily increase to 4-5 days per week. We do not recommend rucking every single day. Rest and come back fresh for your next workout.

    How long should you go rucking for?

    Start with 1-2 rucks per week, traveling about 2-3 miles. Your first rucks should be around 20 minutes per mile. As these distances feel easier, increase the weight you’re carrying or the distance. Rinse and repeat, increasing by no more than five pounds per week and 10% of your previous week’s total distance. We do not recommend rucking every day, or rucking with more than 1/3 of your bodyweight.

    What muscles does rucking build?

    Rucking is a full body workout. It trains your legs, back, shoulders, and core. Adding ruck PT to your workouts can increase the intensity and specificity of your sessions.

    Can you get ripped from rucking?

    Absolutely. As your rucking volume increases, you can add weight and introduce PT exercises that will take your fitness to a new level. Squats, lunges, overhead presses, and pushups are a few favorites.

    Is rucking good for you to lose weight?

    Rucking burns about 3X the amount of calories as walking. It’s a low impact exercise that will benefit anyone on a weight loss journey.