Do you love boot camp workouts? What about hitting all of your major muscle groups with military precision? Well, you can do it on a hike — Ruck-style. Say what? A Ruck March, also called a “forced march” or a “hump,” involves walking at a fast clip over rugged terrain with a weighted backpack. In the Armed Forces, participants carry at least 45 pounds in their backpack, in addition to their helmet, canteens, shoulder harness and weapon. If you want a similar civilian-style workout, try an off-road Ruck March and see how you rank. Load up your backpack with some weights and go for a rugged hike — the added resistance will work your body harder and burn more calories.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Build incrementally. Put on hiking shoes, strap on a weighted rucksack (or regular backpack) and head out for the trails. Seek areas with rugged terrain and hills. In the beginning, start with a lightweight pack of 10 pounds and just do a few miles. As your body gets used to the weighted hike, incrementally increase your load, miles and hiking speed. How to add weight? Try hand weights wrapped in towels, bricks wrapped in towels, or sealed water jugs.
Cross-train. If you want to improve your Ruck March, the solution is threefold: Train your major muscle groups, condition that ticker, and work on your stamina and endurance. Cross-train with running, core exercises and weight training to prepare your body to carry weight, keep form and tackle hills. A strong core is essential to avoid injury on the trail. Carry the rucksack closer to your body, and the reduced sway will diminish the strain to your back muscles.
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