Rucking is a military phrase referring to walking while carrying weight. It is becoming more popular amongst the general population as a great way to workout with many benefits.

Benefits of Rucking


Rucking is a low-impact exercise perfect for anyone who can’t run or participate in other high-impact movements. 

Anytime, Anywhere

Rucking can be done anywhere…in the city, in the mountains, on trails or on the pavement. 

Low Level Skill

Even if you didn’t know what rucking was, you probably already do it. You most likely have carried a backpack full of items to the airport, school or to work. It’s simple, requires minimal gear and without even knowing it, you already are an experienced rucker!


Rucking gets you outdoors which provides additional health benefits. It takes you away from your electronic devises and allows you to enjoy the beauty of the scenery as you breath in fresh air. Many studies have now documented the physical and mental benefits of immersing yourself in nature. 

Full Body

Rucking works both your cardiovascular and muscular systems. You’ll feel it in your heart, lungs, legs, back, shoulders and core.


Rucking burns 3x more calories than walking. Experience triple the benefits of walking just by strapping weight on your back.


The intensity of rucking depends on how much weight you are carrying, the terrain, and how fast you go. If you’re just getting started, carry a lighter load, and go slower. As you get more fit, start to walk faster, add some incline and/or carry a heavier load.


Rucking can strengthen your back, core, and ultimately improve your posture. A weighted backpack will pull your shoulders back into alignment, which can help counteract the posture we hold when rounding over our laptops or cell phones. 


Since you can scale the intensity of rucking, friends and family members of different fitness levels can ruck together. It can help provide accountability and allow for fun, quality time with those you love. 

Getting Started With Rucking

It’s super easy. Grab a pack, add some weight, and go!

Choose an Appropriate Backpack

Ideally you want to use a backpack that has both a chest and waist strap to evenly distribute the weight to minimize strain. If you only have a chest strap for example, the load will be distributed mostly through your shoulders and that can become uncomfortable very quickly. If your backpack doesn’t offer a chest and/or waist strap, you can still go but just start with a lighter load, so your walk isn’t too uncomfortable. When you’re ready to get serious, you can upgrade to a rucking backpack that offers the appropriate straps.  

Add Some Weight

Depending on your current fitness level, start light and gradually build the load you carry. A weight between 5-20 pounds would be a good starting point. You can use anything to load your backpack…hand weights, books, bricks…you can add anything from your house that’s heavy. If it’s an awkward shape, you can wrap the item(s) in a towel for cushion and comfort. 


Put on your weighted backpack and start walking. Start with a distance and pace that you are comfortable with and progress gradually. It’s a good idea to ruck on alternating days to give your body a break in between rucking workouts. For example, you could ruck on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and then on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, you could take a yoga, barre or cycling class. 

Have fun and Go Ruck it!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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