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How To Get Better At Rucking: Training, Gear, Techniques, Nutrition, And Mental Prep

Learn how to get better at rucking with our complete guide that covers everything from training and to , , and mental preparation. Discover how to improve your endurance, strength, , cadence, breathing, hydration, recovery, goal setting, visualization, and mindfulness for optimal rucking performance.

Training for Rucking

When it comes to training for rucking, there are three main areas to focus on: endurance, strength, and cross-training.

Endurance Training

Endurance is essential for , as it requires you to cover long distances with a heavy pack. The best way to build endurance is through consistent aerobic exercise, such as running, cycling, or swimming. These activities will help improve your cardiovascular fitness and build up your endurance over time.

To maximize the benefits of endurance , it’s important to gradually increase your distance and duration. Start with shorter distances and gradually increase your mileage each week. You can also incorporate interval into your routine to improve your speed and .

Strength Training

Strength is another critical aspect of rucking. Rucking requires you to carry a heavy load on your back, which puts a lot of stress on your muscles and joints. To prepare your body for this, you need to focus on building in your legs, back, and core.

Some effective strength training exercises for include squats, lunges, deadlifts, and rows. You can perform these exercises with weights or bodyweight, depending on your fitness level. It’s also important to incorporate exercises that target your core, such as planks and Russian twists, to improve your stability and balance.


Cross- is crucial for rucking because it helps prevent injury and improves your overall fitness. Cross-training involves incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine, such as yoga, Pilates, or weightlifting.

One effective cross-training method for rucking is doing exercises that mimic the movement of rucking, such as stair climbing, hill sprints, or sled pulls. These exercises will help improve your power and explosiveness, which are important for rucking.

Overall, a well-rounded program for should include a combination of , strength, and cross-training exercises. By focusing on these areas, you’ll be able to build the necessary fitness and to complete your rucking goals.

  • Endurance
    • Aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming)
    • Gradual increase in distance and duration
    • Interval
  • Strength training
    • Squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows
    • Core exercises (planks, Russian twists)
  • Cross-
    • Yoga, Pilates, weightlifting
    • Exercises that mimic rucking (stair climbing, hill sprints, sled pulls)

Gear for Rucking

If you’re planning on taking up rucking, you’ll need to ensure that you have the right to make your experience as comfortable and efficient as possible. Here are some essential items you’ll need to consider:


One of the most crucial pieces of for rucking is a backpack. You’ll need to find one that is durable, comfortable, and fits well. Look for a backpack that has adjustable straps, a padded back, and a waist belt to distribute the weight of your load evenly. The size of the backpack you choose will depend on the length of your ruck and the amount of weight you plan to carry. A good starting point is a 20-30 liter backpack.


The right pair of shoes is essential for any form of exercise, and this is especially true for rucking. Look for shoes that are designed for hiking or trail running, as they will provide the support and stability you need. Make sure they fit well and have good traction to help prevent slips and falls. It’s also a good idea to break in your shoes before you start rucking to avoid blisters and discomfort.


When it comes to clothing for , you’ll want to choose items that are comfortable, breathable, and moisture-wicking. Look for clothing made from synthetic materials like polyester or nylon that will keep you cool and dry. Avoid cotton, as it tends to retain moisture and can lead to chafing and discomfort. You’ll also want to dress in layers, so you can adjust your clothing as you warm up or cool down. Finally, don’t forget to wear a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

In summary, having the right is essential for a comfortable and successful experience. Make sure you invest in a good backpack, comfortable shoes, and breathable clothing to ensure you can go the distance.

Rucking Techniques

Rucking is a physically demanding activity that requires proper technique to avoid injury and maximize performance. In this section, we will discuss some key rucking techniques to help you get the most out of your training.

Posture and Form

Maintaining proper posture and form is crucial for rucking. When carrying a heavy backpack, it’s easy to slouch or lean forward, which can put undue stress on your back and shoulders. To avoid this, make sure to keep your shoulders back and down, and your chest up. Your head should be in a neutral position, with your eyes looking forward.

As you walk, take short, quick steps and keep your feet pointed straight ahead. Avoid twisting or turning your body as you move. Keep your core engaged to help stabilize your torso and prevent excessive movement.


Cadence refers to the rhythm or tempo of your steps while rucking. A consistent cadence can help you maintain a steady pace and conserve energy. Aim for a cadence of around 120 steps per minute, which equates to two steps per second.

To help maintain a steady cadence, you can use a metronome app on your phone or listen to music with a beat that matches your desired tempo.


Proper breathing technique can help you maintain energy and avoid fatigue while rucking. Try to breathe deeply and rhythmically, in time with your cadence. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, and try to keep your breathing relaxed and controlled.

If you find yourself getting out of breath, slow down your pace or take a short break to catch your breath. It’s better to take a brief rest than to push yourself too hard and risk injury or exhaustion.

In summary, maintaining proper posture and form, maintaining a consistent cadence, and practicing proper breathing technique are all essential components of effective rucking. By focusing on these , you can improve your performance, avoid injury, and get the most out of your training.

Nutrition and Hydration for Rucking

Rucking is an intense physical activity that requires a lot of energy and hydration. To perform at your best, it’s crucial to fuel your body with the right nutrients and maintain proper hydration levels. In this section, we’ll discuss pre-ruck fueling, hydration strategies, and post-ruck .

Pre-Ruck Fueling

Before heading out for a ruck, it’s important to consume a balanced meal that provides the necessary nutrients to sustain your physical activity. A combination of carbohydrates and proteins is ideal for fueling your body for a long-distance ruck. Complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal or brown rice provide sustained energy, while lean protein sources like chicken or tofu help repair and build muscle.

It’s recommended to consume your pre-ruck meal 2-3 hours before the activity to give your body enough time to digest. If you’re unable to eat a full meal, a light snack such as a banana or a protein bar can provide the necessary energy to get you started.

Hydration Strategies

Staying hydrated during a ruck is essential to avoid dehydration and maintain optimal performance. It’s recommended to drink at least 16-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before the activity to ensure your body is adequately hydrated. During the ruck, aim to drink 8-10 ounces of water every 20-30 minutes, depending on the intensity of the activity and temperature.

In addition to water, electrolytes also play a crucial role in maintaining hydration levels. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium are lost through sweat and need to be replaced to avoid cramping and fatigue. Sports drinks or electrolyte tablets can be added to your water to replenish lost electrolytes.

Post-Ruck Recovery

After a strenuous ruck, your body needs time to recover and repair. Proper nutrition and hydration can aid in the recovery process and reduce muscle soreness. Within 30 minutes of completing a ruck, consume a snack or meal that contains both carbohydrates and protein to aid in muscle .

In addition to , hydration is also crucial for post-ruck recovery. Continue to drink water and electrolytes to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. Stretching and foam rolling can also aid in muscle recovery and reduce soreness.

By fueling your body with the right nutrients and maintaining proper hydration levels, you can perform at your best during a ruck and aid in the recovery process. Remember to listen to your body and adjust your and hydration strategies accordingly.

  • Pre-ruck meal should include carbohydrates and proteins
  • Consume pre-ruck meal 2-3 hours before the activity
  • A light snack such as a banana or protein bar can provide necessary energy if unable to eat a full meal
  • Drink at least 16-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before the activity
  • Aim to drink 8-10 ounces of water every 20-30 minutes during the ruck
  • Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium are lost through sweat and need to be replaced
  • Consume a snack or meal that contains both carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of completing a ruck
  • Continue to drink water and electrolytes for post-ruck recovery
  • Stretching and foam rolling can aid in muscle and reduce soreness.

Mental Preparation for Rucking

When it comes to rucking, mental preparation is just as important as physical training. In order to perform at your best, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your goals, a strong visualization of success and a mindfulness practice to keep you focused and grounded.

Goal Setting

Setting goals is an essential part of mental preparation for . It gives you something to work towards, motivates you to keep pushing and helps you measure progress. When setting your goals, be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). For example, your goal might be to complete a 12-mile ruck march with a 35-pound backpack within 3 months. By setting this goal, you have a clear target to work towards and can create a plan to achieve it.


Visualization is a powerful tool for mental preparation. It involves creating a mental image of yourself successfully completing your ruck march. By visualizing yourself performing at your best, you can increase your confidence, reduce anxiety and improve focus. To visualize effectively, find a quiet place, close your eyes and imagine yourself completing your ruck march step-by-step. Visualize yourself carrying your backpack, moving at a steady pace and crossing the finish line with a sense of accomplishment.

Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of your thoughts, feelings and surroundings. It can help you stay focused during your ruck march, reduce stress and improve mental clarity. There are many mindfulness you can incorporate into your training, such as deep breathing, body scanning and meditation. One effective technique is to focus on your breath as you ruck. Inhale deeply for 4 counts, hold for 2 counts and exhale for 6 counts. Repeat this pattern as you walk, focusing on the rhythm of your breath and the movement of your body.

By incorporating goal setting, visualization and mindfulness into your mental preparation for rucking, you can improve your performance and reach your full potential. Remember to stay focused, stay motivated and visualize success every step of the way.

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