One thing has definitely been established: rucking is a great way to lose weight, get in shape, and be generally healthy. Often, rucking provides a mental clarity that not all exercises can.
When you find yourself in your own thoughts, it’s a time where you can work through different life problems and difficulties.
If the benefits are so great, there’s a question you may be asking:
How often should you ruck?
The answer is fairly interesting. Let’s dive into how often you should ruck and what’s the reasoning behind that.
So really, how often should you ruck?
The quick answer is somewhere between 2 – 5 times a week.
The more in-depth answer is: listen to your body and do what feels comfortable.
This can mean only once a week if that’s what works for you.
Let’s look at how you should determine what your rucking schedule should look like.
How should you determine what works for you?
The easy answer is trial and error.
You’re more than likely going to start somewhere around one to two times a week and that’s great.
Everyone needs to start somewhere.
An important question to ask is how big a part is rucking going to play in your overall fitness regimen?
If rucking is only going to be a small part, then it may be wise to keep the number in the one to two times a week range.
You need recovery time from rucking as well as time for your other physical fitness activities.
If you plan on using rucking as a far more important aspect of your personal fitness regimen, then you’re going to need to bump the number up.
But do it slowly, over time.
Remember that rucking is not just an energy consuming activity. It’s also a time consuming activity, especially if you want to get the most out of it.
This isn’t a walk around the block or through your local park. This is something you should be doing for at least an hour each time.
Taking the time to do it right is important.
As you progress in your rucking journey, you’ll be able to add weight and go for longer distances.
Rucking is a volume activity. So don’t worry about your pace at first, and make it a question of how much time you can put in.
You’ll soon start to find that you’re covering more distance in less time.
You’ll be able to work on your pace as you go along.
Listening to your body is key though. When you ruck two to three times a week, you’re allowing your body time to recover and grow your muscles.
While you may feel fine in the short term, in the long term you’re increasing your risk of injury which can sideline you or slow you down, stunting your progress.
This is something you will heavily increase the chance of if you ruck everyday or close to it.
Is it bad to ruck everyday?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
Each person has a different physical make up. What works for others may not work for you. That’s one of the reasons why the number of rucks per week in our suggestions varies so much.
One thing is for certain though. Everyone can overtrain.
What is overtraining?
It’s when you train so much or so hard that you’re actively starting to work against your own interests. Like stated above, you’re increasing your risk of injury.
This effect has been labeled overtraining syndrome, or more commonly, burnout.
If you’re experiencing burnout, you need to set the ruck down and take some rest.
Here are some of the bigger and more prevalent symptoms of burnout:
You need to make sure you’re eating enough.
While a lot of people use Calories In Calories Out to be a good measure of their weight loss, rucking is a strenuous activity.
You’re going to lose calories. While it may not make sense at first glance, putting calories back in is important, almost vital to the overall process.
You can’t burn calories without putting some calories into the furnace.
This is a big one and one that’s a bit more obvious.
The more you push yourself the better results you will get. Seems logical enough. Soreness is your body slowly working through the beating you’ve put it through to build your muscles back up stronger than they were before.
Also, seems logical enough.
So shouldn’t soreness be a good thing?
Yes and no. Some soreness can be a good thing. But continued, chronic soreness? That’s a sign you’re going a little too hard and it’s time to tone it down a bit.
If the soreness is in your back, that’s another bad sign, since your back is the part of your body you use the most while rucking.
Prolonged back soreness can be solved through better posture, but it’s only one part of taking care of yourself.
Injuries from overuse
This is one that may be difficult to attribute to rucking, depending on your overall fitness plan. However it is something that can and will put you on the couch, figuratively and literally.
Shin splints, joint strains, plantar fasciitis, these are just a few of the injuries you could have to deal with if you don’t take care of yourself while rucking.
While soreness may be obvious, fatigue won’t be. It’s also not something you may chalk up to rucking.
We live busy, complicated lives. Fatigue can find many sources to grow from. Often times we use our exercises to invigorate us or to feel better about our lives.
Make sure your rucking activities aren’t working against you.
Time is your friend.
Patience is your ally.
This is a journey of thousands of steps, quite literally. Pace yourself.
Start with a small amount of weight and a short distance. Get that down and under your belt. Slowly increase the resistance and your time in the field.
While rucking is not rocket science, picking up an injury isn’t either. Knowing how often you should ruck and what’s comfortable for you is crucial.