People Rucking with Rucksacks and Sandbags

What is Rucking?

Rucking is Simply Walking with Weight.

RUCK•ING [VERB] // Walking with a weighted rucksack (aka backpack). It implies action, energy, and purpose. Rucking requires strength, endurance, and character — and builds it, too.

Jason McCarthy of GORUCK doing Sandbag Workout

Rucking is Cardio

Cardio for people who think running sucks. If you want to burn up to 3X as many calories as walking, ruck instead. Your heart pumps faster during a rucking workout to get oxygen rich blood throughout your body, increasing circulation.

Woman rucking with rucksack

Rucking is Simple

You wear a backpack (or better yet a rucksack), walk, it's a fitness thing. And you're already doing it. Hiking is rucking in the mountains and urban hiking is simply called rucking. Rucking exercises can be done at any weight.

Men and dogs rucking with sandbags and rucksacks

Rucking is Scalable

The weight adds resistance training to your back and shoulders, your glutes and legs with every step - resulting in strength gains without the bulk. Want more? Up the weight, increase the distance, or go faster.

Military Roots

Rucking is the foundation of Special Forces training. Green Berets are well versed in shouldering heavy rucks through cities, mountains, jungles and deserts, in war and in peace — alone when they must, together whenever possible.

How to Get Started Rucking

You wear a backpack (or better yet a rucksack), it’s a fitness thing. When in doubt, start with 20 lbs. Target pace is 20 minutes per mile. Move as fast as you can or as slow as you want. You control the weight and the distance so you control the level of difficulty. It’s better with friends and dogs and you can do it anywhere with anyone no matter their ability, or yours.

Man and woman rucking on the beach with rucksacks

1. Get a Rucksack

Any backpack will do, but we recommend the Rucker® or Ruck Plate Carrier™ — both are purpose-built for rucking. It's important to have thick comfortable shoulder straps and secured weight close to your back.

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Man putting ruck plate into rucksack

2. Put Weight In It

Stabilize the weight next to your back in the ruck. Cinch your rucksack so it sits high on your back and won't bounce around. Anything moderately heavy will do, but we believe our Ruck Plates® are the best weight to ruck.

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Man rucking in a park with rucksack

3. Then, Just Walk

Ruck 2 miles, shoot for 20 minute miles. See how it feels. You might be sore, or you might not. Before you know it, 2 miles with 20 lbs won’t make you sore and you’ll want to either up the weight or increase the distance, or go faster.

Woman rucking with weighted rucksack

Movement, Evolved

Movement with a Purpose

To travel, to get around town, to train at any age — movement is foundational. Walking is one way, but it’s not enough, neither is 20 minutes at the gym. Rucking makes the volume of your daily movement count more, strengthening your foundation without the pounding on your body or the muscle loss of running.

Health Benefits of Rucking

Man showing proper posture for rucking with a rucksack

Improve Your Posture

Do you stare down at a screen all day? When you put a weight in a backpack, that weight helps to pull your shoulders back and bring your center of mass over the hips. Good posture is foundational to good movement. Rucking helps you achieve both.

Man with throbbing knee pain

Running Sucks (and It's Horrible for Your Knees)

Running is 2-3X harder on your knees than rucking, so it should be no big surprise that running is the most frequent cause of preventable injuries in Special Forces (30% compared to 5% from rucking). “Runner’s knee” is a reality, and a problem for millions of us. Avoiding the damage running does to your body is one of the main reasons people get into rucking.

Woman rucking and doing a sandbag workout

Crush Calories & Get Strong

Burn more calories than walking & build strength. Rucking is Active Resistance Training (ART). That means it’s part active cardio and part strength resistance training, with permanent metabolic gains from stronger muscles at a fraction of the cost to your knees and plenty of gains for your heart.

#Rucking Testimonials

"I started rucking because I wanted to strengthen my body, but found that I was also strengthening my mind. I still ruck to stay in shape, but it also helps me to clear my mind of bad distractions and focus on my goals. I can't get enough!"

Women rucking on mountain with a beautiful view
Stephanie Mma

"I ruck to heal my heart. Shortly after turning 40 I woke up one morning with chest pains and one ER visit later I end up with three stents in my chest. I was never an athlete and lived a decidedly unhealthy lifestyle, but rucking has helped me change all of that. I tried running but was never really able to go too far. My cardiologist loves the changes and I am in better shape than I ever was."

Group of people rucking outside of Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois
Patrick Maher

"As a busy dad, my time with my kids is very important to me! After reading about GORUCK and signing up for an event, the training began. I didn't want to lose my precious time with the kids so they also started to train! As you can imagine, it has been awesome! My kids and I are all in! We ruck every chance we get and have enjoyed every mile we've put in. I roll with my 50# ruck, my 9 year old daughter with her 10# ruck and my 7 year old with 5#. My kids are ready to ruck!"

Matt Rogers

"Throwing on a ruck and going for a walk has become my favorite form of exercise. Two years ago if you told me I would be rucking that far with anywhere from 30-50 pounds on my back I would have called you crazy. I was active duty at one time and swore I would never put on another ruck. But my strength and endurance have significantly improved and in the past three months I've lost 13 pounds by increasing my distances. Physically and mentally, rucking is very challenging but the lessons I've learned about how much my body can do and what my mind can push me to do have been invaluable."

Tina Streeter
Group of people wearing rucksacks and holding a log during a GORUCK Challenge Event

Rucking at

GORUCK Events

GORUCK’s Special Forces Cadre have led thousands of rucking events since 2010 - we’ve garnered feedback and testimonials from hundreds of thousands of people of all walks of life. For us, research is purely academic unless it’s proven in the real world by a diversity of people. GORUCK Events have offered us a rucking laboratory, and in that process our community of ruckers grows stronger by the day.

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