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Walking with a weighted backpack, commonly termed as rucking, is a decent way to get rid of some extra calories while enjoying the purity of nature.
It’s a very basic form of exercise that is being performed for quite a long time.
The concept is quite simple, you pick some heavy things up and go on walking with it. And you won’t believe at first how mind-blowing the result is!
If you are someone who loves walking but aren’t sweating enough with it, then walking with weighted backpack is ideal for you.
Be it a backpacking trip or a walk in the park, you can bring along your backpack, maintain proper balance and enjoy the walk! Sounds simple? Because it is!
History of Rucking
The activity of rucking got its name from a military speak “Ruck-sacks”, which is used to mean backpack among the military soldiers. As the name suggests, rucking was first introduced in the military. It was originally walking or marching while carrying your ruck-sacks. In the training, military soldiers almost ruck up to 20 miles or more carrying backpack weighted over 200 pounds.
But as rucking passed down to ordinary people, it became simpler and more enjoyable. Nowadays people who love walking find it both enjoyable and beneficial at the same time.
How Rucking Works
Walking with weight is a great way to boost up your walking exercise. It’s simple yet very beneficial. You just take a backpack with some weight and set out for a walk.
When you walk with some extra weight on your body you increase the resistance your body needs to endure which forces your leg muscle and back work harder. For the extra resistance, your lungs breathe in more oxygen and your heart pumps more blood. This deepens your breath and burns way more calories and thus opens up a new whole world of fitness!
Why Walk with Weighted Backpack?
As walking with extra weight may seem like extra trouble, the question may arise why to walk with a weighted backpack when you can just walk empty handed. The answer to your question is-
Its Inexpensive and Easy To Do
Rucking doesn’t need that many gears to start with. You can just pick up an ordinary backpack from your home, stuff it up with some weights and get started. You don’t need to learn any additional skills or go to trainers. You can just walk at your own pace and lose a lot more calorie than performing an ordinary walk.
It Burns More Calories
In ordinary walking, where an average man burns up to 130 calories, if he puts some extra weight he can crush up to 330 calories with the same time of walking. The result is more than double than the result of ordinary walking. Then why not walk with some weights instead!
It Boosts Up Your Endurance
When you are walking with some extra weight, your body needs to work more to keep up the balance of the load. It results in building up the hips and postural stability which boosts up your endurance to a whole new level.
It Relieves and Prevents a Sore Back
When you work out in the gym with your back flexed or spend too much time sitting, you can feel back pain now and then. But when you are walking with a load, keeps your torso up and puts less pressure on your back. As a result, you feel less compression on your back which helps in relieving the back pain and also prevents it.
It Possesses Less Risk
Almost all forms of exercises have a minimal health risk. Jogging possesses up to 75% health risk where rucking makes you injury resilient. It improves your body posture and helps you maintain proper balance so that become less prone to injury.
Exercise Benefits of Rucking
Cardio and Strength 2 in 1
You can see rucking is basically a 2 in 1 of strength and cardio. You can vary the proportion of these two by changing the weight of your backpack and changing your walking speed. You can go for a very light weighted walk to heavy one according to your need. So while enjoying the walk you can have cardio and strength both in just one form of exercise.
Increase in Intensity in Walking
Walking with a weighted load is much more intense than even running. Even if you are running with the same body mass you won’t feel as intense because your body mass is distributed evenly in your whole body. But the load stays on your back so the muscle needs to work harder which results in burning more calories.
Building Bone Density
When you are walking with a load it stimulates your skeletal system more so that the bones grow stronger. If you do it regularly, it will build your bone density in the long run.
Does Carrying a Heavy Backpack Build Muscle?
Yes, rucking doesn’t only crush your extra calories, it also helps in building the muscle. When you are walking with a heavy load on your back, the muscles in your whole body work harder to keep up the postural stability of your body. Particularly the muscle on your shoulder, core, back, and legs stimulates more. If you keep doing it constantly, you’ll see a great difference in your muscle growth in a very short time!
The Ultimate Rucking Guide- Unlock a New Level of Fitness
Now that you know all the benefits of rucking, let’s get to the details on what you need to start with and how to do it in the most proper way.
What you need:
The best part about rucking is that you don’t need too many things to get started. Pack a simple few things and you are ready to go!
- Backpack with an attached hip
- Hiking shoes
How Much Weight?
When you are loading your backpack with weights you won’t want to overdo it as it can cause more harm than benefits. How much weight you carry depends on your strength and need. Let’s give you a simple idea about it.
|Starter Weight||20% of the body weight|
|Medium Weight||40% of the body weight|
|Intense Weight||60% of the body weight|
You can calculate with your body weight to find out the right weight of the load.
How to Do It?
Another great thing about rucking is that you don’t really need any pre-training or skills to get started. You can just follow these simple steps and you are good to go!
Choose the Type of Your Backpack
You don’t really need any special kind of backpack for rucking. But make sure that it’s sturdy enough to hold the loads. Plus, it has hip belts otherwise it will put much pressure on your shoulders.
Choose Your Load
From weights to bricks or even a few kgs of rice pack, you can load up your backpack with anything. If you are going on a hike or a tour, it’s even simpler if you just pack your bag with necessary stuff like tent, drinks and other stuff. But make sure to calculate the weight compared to your body weight.
Pack Your Sack
When you are done choosing the loads, just stuff your backpack with them. Don’t forget to take water and some refreshments along with you!
Be Aware Of Your Posture
Now that you are done with packing, be mindful of your posture. Keep your body straight and walk with a proper balance to avoid any kind of injury. You can increase your walking speed but do not run, rucking isn’t about running.
Bag packing check. Perfect body posture check! What else do you need? Simply nothing! Now you can just start walking a few miles, at a slow pace at first and then increase your speed as time goes by. Be sure to take small intervals.
Effects of Carrying Heavy Backpacks
Before getting to the effects of carrying heavy backpacks, you need to know how much heavy it is. If its 20%-60% of your total weight then you’ll get the most benefits out of it. But if it’s heavier than that, it will make an inverse effect like causing body pain to even in extreme case may dislocate bones. So make sure to calculate the weight first according to your ability.
Frequently asked questions about Rucking
Is walking with a heavy backpack good?
Yes, when you walk with a heavy backpack it helps in burning more calories, increases postural stability and balance.
How many calories do you burn rucking?
It depends on the weight of your backpack. But you burn calories twice more than you do in jogging.
Is walking with weights good for weight loss?
Definitely! Walking with weight crush more calories than even running.
Do you burn more calories walking with hand weights?
Yes, instead of walking empty-handed if you walk with hand weights you’ll burn more calories.
Does carrying a heavy backpack stunt growth?
It depends on the weight of the backpack. A too much heavy backpack can stunt growth and cause many harms. So make sure to go with a backpack that’s suitable according to your body weight and age.
How do you carry a heavy backpack?
The proper way to carry a backpack is attaching with an adjustable hip strap so the weight won’t put much pressure on your shoulder. You can even carry half of the weight on your back and the other half on your front to keep up the balance.
So we can say, walking with weight sure is a fun way to lose weight while enjoying the walk. Once you start rucking, you sure will be amazed at how enjoyable and beneficial it is. So be sure to give it a try!
Brian Millar is the owner and author of Backpackreviewed. Brian spent every possible minute outside. His passion for the outdoors led him to earn a degree in Biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2010. A guy who is trying to get away from his desk so that he can fish, hike, travel and just be in outdoors!!!