What is rucking and why on Earth would I do it?

Rucking is simple: walking distance while carrying weight.  

It is a verb (to ruck) and a noun (a ruck is what you carry while rucking, AKA a rucksack) but not an adjective.  Let’s not get too fancy, ok?


Modern fitness rucking has its roots in US military culture.  GORUCK, the largest promoter of rucking was founded by former Green Beret  Jason McCarthy and draws heavily on what they call the Special Forces Way of Life. But rucking goes back much further. In fact it goes all the way back.

Early humans and things to do and places to go, so they rucked.  Around 26,000 years ago they started weaving fibers into cordage and baskets to carry what they needed, before that they used animal skins. Even with the domestication of animals and the invention of the cart people still rucked. It is a profoundly human thing to load up some weight on your shoulders and head out.

It is also a profoundly satisfying thing to do.  When it comes to health and fitness, there are few activities that are as social and accessible as rucking. It is easy to chat while you go and the comeradery comes naturally.  I recommend you start with 20#, but it’s easy to go heavier or lighter as appropriate.

Health and other benefits

Rucking has many of the same benefits as running, but many people find it is easier on their knees.  Light easy rucks are great for building your aerobic base and as active rest. Heavier rucks are great for building core strength, joint stability and “structural integrity”.

There is a great feeling of accomplishment after a challenging ruck.  It just makes you feel tough. Rucking is also a fantastic way to build teamwork, especially if heavy sandbags and logs get involved.

Social fitness and the Ruck Club

In an effort to get more folks into this fantastic and rewarding activity I have founded the Wild Goose Ruck Club.  The club will organize public rucks and service events (food drives, park cleanups, etc.) as well as special training opportunities for people preparing for GORUCK events and other adventures in the Boulder area. Follow @wildgoosefitness for news and updates.