(DISCLAIMER: You are, of course, more than welcome to try rucking, even if you also love running.)
Rucking > Running
It took me a long time to “fall in love” with running. It did not take me nearly as long to fall out of love with running!
And yet, even though I’ve long enjoyed doing kettlebell swings and doing the 5×5 weight-lifing workout, I did begin to miss the benefits of cardio training.
I first heard about rucking—carrying a weighted pack on your back—as a form of personal fitness over at The Art of Manliness:
Rucking is simple. So simple, it’s stupid.
Get a backpack.
Put some weight in said backpack.
Put on the backpack.
Want to Get Started? Here’s How to Ruck on a Budget
To get started with rucking, I first used my old backpack and a couple dumbbells. This worked fine, but I didn’t like how the dumbbells dug into my lower back.
So, I did some research about rucking on a budget, and I found this very helpful blogpost: “How to: Ruck on a Budget.” There’s also this piece at The Simple Dollar: A Guide to Rucking, My Favorite Low-Cost Exercise Activity.
Nevertheless, I picked different gear. Here’s my current rucking setup:
Backpack: LA Police Gear 3 Day Backpack 2.0
This backpack has held up great for me so far. I use it regularly for rucking, and also took it with me out to the Grand Canyon, where it performed admirably. I love that it includes a waist and chest strap, as well as a convenient opening for a hydration pack.
You can buy this pack from LA Police Gear directly, or it’s also available on Amazon.
Hydration Pack: Source Outdoor Widepac Hydration System Reservoir with Helix Bite Valve, 2-Liter
I sweat a lot, so I figured that it would be nice to have a reliable hydration pack to take with me while rucking.
So far, this 2-liter hydration pack from Source has NOT disappointed me!
Weight: Bricks and Duct Tape
I believe that the bricks I currently use came from Home Depot. I could be mistaken, but I think that I have 6 of these Holland 7.75 in. x 4 in. x 1.75 in. River Red Concrete Paver bricks. Currently, they’re listed for $0.58 each.
As for duct tape, I’m pretty sure I used good ol’ fashioned Duck Brand duct tape.
I also used some bubble wrap that I picked up at Walmart.
Here’s a helpful guide to wrapping bricks from GoRuck.
To Position the Bricks: 2 Foam Yoga Blocks/Bricks
I don’t think this is necessary, but I went out and bought two foam yoga blocks/bricks from Walmart in order to position the bricks a bit higher in the backpack.
You could also go with these from Amazon. Just make sure that the yoga blocks are big enough to support the stack of bricks you end up using (or whatever other weights you end up using).
Want to Learn More About Rucking?
To learn more about rucking, I highly recommend this Art of Manliness blogpost, “Cardio for the Man Who Hates Cardio: The Benefits of Rucking,” as well as this Art of Manliness podcast episode about rucking, “Podcast #314: Building Better Citizens Through Rucking.”
Also, check out this great resource from GoRuck, “What is Rucking?,” which features the following video:
Got Questions About Rucking? Ask Them in the Comments Below!
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