Exercise Trend Alert: Ruck March - What Is It & What You Need to Parti - FITS®

June 16, 2022

If you’re looking for ways to shake up your fitness routine, a ruck march could be one challenging option to add to the list. So what is a ruck march, exactly? Read on to find out all of the pertinent details, along with what equipment you’ll need to successfully get your “ruck” on.

What is a Ruck March?

Also known as “rucking” or “loaded marches,” a ruck march is a staple military training exercise in which an individual wears a weighted backpack (also known as a rucksack) while walking or hiking a set distance in a set period of time. 

Ruck marches date back to the roman army, where military recruits would complete these “loaded marches,” distancing anywhere between 18 and 30 miles with approximately 45 pounds to carry, and all before they were allowed to hold a weapon. Today in the United States, the standard time and distance for an Army recruit to complete a ruck march is 12 miles in three hours while wearing a rucksack weighing at least 35 pounds.

Over the course of history, ruck marches have taken on many names and standard rules for armed forces around the world. Today, ruck marches remain an effective training method for many of today’s active military and military training groups and have even found a home in modern-day fitness culture, benefiting everyday athletes training for special events or simply looking for ways to shake up their fitness routine!

Benefits of Rucking

Rucking is an effective, low-intensity aerobic exercise that can help build strength, stamina, and muscular endurance while burning extra calories compared to walking or hiking alone. If you’re a runner, rucking is an effective cross-training exercise to build strength and endurance for your long-distance runs.

Ruck March Essentials

There are a few essential tools you’ll need to complete your first successful ruck march.

  1. A Backpack or Rucksack

The first essential item is a comfortable rucking backpack (or another durable trekking pack), preferably with cushioned shoulder pads that can safely hold your weighted objects, nutrients, and water.

  1. Weights

A ruck march isn’t a ruck march without weights! You can use the weights you have around your home or workout area like barbells, plates, sandbags, or homemade weighted objects like bags of sand or rocks. 

When starting out, stay conservative in your weight allowance. The recommended weight is about 10% of your body weight, but if after putting on your pack you feel as though it may be too heavy for your first ruck trek, don’t be afraid to leave a few pounds behind. You can even challenge yourself to work your way up to that whole 10%!

  1. Supportive Footwear

Ruck marches might be low-intensity, but they’re a far call from being a short trek. Before you head out on your first ruck, make sure you have super supportive footwear that can go the extra mile in keeping you comfortable.

One main area of focus is to wear sneakers or hiking boots that support your ankles and joints and won’t cause blistering. The other main focus is to wear sweat and moisture-wicking socks that will keep out sand, rocks, and other debris you happen upon along the way. 

Merino wool socks like FITS® tactical socks are naturally sweat-wicking, provide excellent compression, and offer extra cushioning in the heel, toe, and arch for more comfortable rucking on all types of terrain. The patented Full Contact FIT® found in the Heavy Duty Tactical Boot Sock and our Lightweight Tactical Sock means your sock will contour to your foot and stay put–two features necessary to prevent uncomfortable rubbing and painful blistering.

  1. Hydration & Nutrients

Your long day of rucking is nothing without fuel. Pack plenty of water, electrolytes, and healthy snacks high in carbs. Some recommended snacks to pack on rucks according to Human Performance Resources include foods (in moderation) like:

  • Gummy bears and jelly beans
  • Fruit snack pouches
  • Raisins and cranberries
  • Sports gels, chews, “goos,” and drinks

Gear Up For Every Adventure with FITS® At Your Feet

Whether you’re rucking for a cause or incorporating ruck marches as part of your athletic training program, FITS® has the tried-and-true merino wool compression socks male and female athletes alike trust for all of their fitness endeavors. Browse and shop FITS® today to discover your new go-to socks for every adventure!