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What is a Ruck? Forced March? Hump?

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RUCK: A Challenging Adventure in Backpacking

If you've never embarked on a hike with a backpack weighing 50+ lbs for many miles, the term "ruck" may be unfamiliar. The definition of ruck can be as simple as strolling with a backpack on a hike or as demanding as swiftly navigating rugged terrain with all your military gear. However, the key concept behind ruck, hump, or forced march is the act of carrying your gear from point A to point B in a backpack.

You may be wondering, what exactly constitutes a ruck? How should you incorporate it into your workouts? Your question has inspired me to conduct an experiment. During a recent three mile ruck test, here's what I found:

MILE ONE: Easy pace / hike: I walked a mile with a 45lb pack at an easy, distracted pace and it took 17 minutes. This is a conversational pace, suitable for leisurely walks but not particularly challenging for a workout. I even took a call on my cell-phone during this first mile. 

MILE TWO: Fast Walk PaceThe second mile was completed at a faster walking pace, similar to power-walking, and took 14 minutes. This pace requires some effort but is sustainable for extended periods. The minimum standard for most Army rucks is a 15 minute mile. Power walking is basically Army ruck pace.

MILE THREE: Slow Jog / Rucking Pace - I call this one a short stride shuffle. Faster cadence but shorter stride than running. Moving out at a pace that is only sustainable if you are conditioned for it, this mile took me under 11 minutes. This is what I would consider "rucking."

Ultimately, rucking involves walking fast with a backpack. It's important to find a pace that challenges you without causing physical discomfort. Incorporating rucking into your workouts can provide a fulfilling and invigorating experience.

Enjoy the rucking.  See Go Ruck if you want to take your rucking to the next level!

Related article - How many calories does rucking burn?

Programs with RUCKING:  Army PFT/CFT Workout, Army Ranger / SF, USMC OCS-TBS, USMC RECON/MARSOC, and others in the Tactical Fitness Section at

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When you start training again, consider the seasonal tactical fitness model.  I call it A WAY to train and obviously not the only way to train. But it offers the opportunity to never neglect your weaknesses, helps with flexibility and mobility, but will also put you at a level of physical abilities where you are happy with your overall ability to do just about anything. We have a system where the seasons dictate our training. When it is nicer outside, we tend to run and do more calisthenics. When it is colder and not so nice, we lift more, run less, and still maintain our outdoor activities with shorter runs and rucks. Check it out: Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System.  

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