Rucking: focus on an endurance sport that is easy to practice

Very popular with In the United States, where it’s practiced both solo and with others (in “massarucks”), rucking—or hiking with a weighted backpack—is popular for its efficiency, accessibility, and ease of use. You don’t have to equip yourself with sophisticated equipment or learn complicated movements: you put on a backpack (a “backpack”), sneakers and march on! “Inspired by military training, where 20 kilometers of tours with a load of 8 to 15 kilos are the order of the day, rucken is a complete sport that works all the muscles, emphasizes the former soldier Ludovic Monpierre, today a coach in the Episod sports halls in Paris In fitness mode the load is lighter and the distances shorter, but it’s still a formidable workout So, what do we gain?

A pose at the top and envelopment almost effortlessly

Rucking promises an overall strengthening of the body, especially of all the muscles of the posterior chain: glutes, hamstrings, back… without forgetting the deltoid and trapezius. From the start, the weight of the backpack corrects the bad postures associated with our sedentary lifestyle, coupled with screens. Exit the arched back and slumped position, shoulders are pulled back and placed in proper alignment, chest opens. “By keeping your back straight and maintaining a stable posture, the deep muscles, including the abdominal belt, work. As a result, we almost win in spite of ourselves, assures the coach who specializes in boot camp programs. As for the glutes, they have to put in a greater effort to propel the body forward, especially on the climbs. Another and not the least benefit: By strengthening the torso and improving hip stability, rucking can also help prevent back pain.

Burned as many calories as running

Gentler than running (the effort is more controlled and the impact on the joints less), rucking is an excellent cardio workout and has proven to be a top-notch calorie killer. According to the estimates of the calorie calculator offered on goruck.com, a US site launched by veterans of the special forces, an hour of ruck at a good pace (5 mph) burns about 600 calories, or 2.5 times more just one hour of leisurely walk. An average close to that of running. “The whole thing, without ending up in the coals, out of breath and panting, laughs Ludovic Monpierre. Rucking is an activity in which you quickly become efficient because you control your efforts and become less discouraged. It’s also eminently flexible: on days when you’re short on time, pack a little more and walk a little faster; on the weekend you can cover longer distances with less ballast or challenge yourself by taking on some slopes and steep terrain for a sportier ruck. Whichever option you choose, your physical condition will improve. Rucking is also one of the rare sports activities that can be done between people of different levels: an ex-serviceman and a person returning to the sport can walk perfectly together, each with a custom-made load. This adaptability has fueled the success of the practice across the Atlantic, where the GoRuck site values ​​the social aspect by connecting people who want to release endorphins while feeling carried by the collective energy. “The fact that the rucks take place in the open air and in a good atmosphere contributes greatly to their popularity,” adds Ludovic Monpierre. No wonder when you consider how important the connection with nature and socialization are in the fight against depression, anxiety and stress.

Instruction manual

Equipment. Any sturdy backpack will do. But if you want to get serious about rucking, opt for a hiking bag with both a chest strap and a cummerbund for better support. As for shoes, sneakers with a sole that can absorb shocks or trail shoes are essential.

Load. Start with a load equivalent to about 10% of your weight to allow your body to get used to it. Start with a trip of 3 to 6 km, 2 or 3 times a week. If you want to increase your load after a few rucks, do so gradually to avoid the risk of injury. The ruck for miles site (ruckformiles.com) recommends increasing the weight in 2-pound increments as you get stronger. Always listen to your body and don’t go further than ten kilos.

The method. Water bottles, dumbbells, cans…everything is good for bulking your bag. Addicts use weight plates, a type of tablet that slips into the bag without taking up space and is sold on specialized sites. Wrap your items in a sweater or towel to create a compact package and fill the gaps with sweaters or t-shirts. The heaviest items should be clamped inside the bag, back, and what’s lighter, on the outside. Your backpack should be worn close to your body and high on your back so that it doesn’t bounce every time you step forward.