Posture in all things is important. Whether we’re lying in bed, walking around, doing the dishes, even simply sitting at a desk or table.
So how much more important can posture be when we’ve got heavy weights strapped to our backs and we’re trudging over many miles of terrain?
You guessed it, it’s crucial.
Whether you’re beginning your rucking journey or you’re already a few miles down the path, it always helps to have good posture.
It can mean the difference between a sore back the next morning, or an extra bounce in your step.
So how big of an impact does good posture have and how do we have good posture while we’re rucking?
Glad you asked. This article is going to take a look at just why good posture is important and how you can achieve it.
Let’s dive in.
Why is good posture important while rucking?
Let’s start with something obvious. Posture is important for balance’s sake alone. If you’re pitched too far to any one side, you’re going to fall over.
Gravity does that.
Also, you can put a strain on different parts of your back. Further, you can and will affect how well you can breathe.
Remember, you are doing an arduous activity. Maintaining good breathing is important. Oxygen in means your legs keep moving and you’re able to keep your pace where you want it to be.
Posture affects that.
Speaking of your legs, even though it’s not as obvious, good posture reduces the strain on your leg muscles and joints.
They’re not having to work harder to compensate for the rest of your body. There’s not extra pressure that’s being added onto your knee joint for example.
After all, you’re adding plenty of weight with the ruck on your back.
When you really think about it, the less strain you’re putting on your muscles, the more they can go timewise.
The more you can go timewise, the further distances you can ruck. Also, the less time you’ll have to spend worrying about any back pain from rucking.
It’s all a feedback loop, so you want to make sure you’re doing what you can to help yourself.
Now let’s take a look at what you can do to improve that posture.
What is the best posture while rucking?
You may be tempted to think that since rucking is “only” walking, you just need to use your regular walking posture. That would be a mistake.
Your rucking posture is going to be a little different than your regular walking posture.
Makes sense, unless you walk around with 20 lbs or more in a backpack all the time.
Let’s break down some posture best practices.
Posture Tip 1: Pack properly
Often, the battle starts before you hit the battle ground. Properly packing your ruck has a lot of impact.
The weight needs to be balanced well, especially if you’re not using rucking plates and instead you’re using other things to get you the weight you’re looking for.
You’ll have to find what works for you. A great tip is to keep the heavier objects close to the body. This definitely combines with our next tip.
Posture Tip 2: High and Tight
Keep your ruck high on your back and tight to the body. Envision your ruck as an extension of yourself.
No, we’re not trying to get too zen here.
But the closer you keep your ruck to your body, the less sway and movement there’ll be. That sway has the ability to tire you out faster.
Your back muscles will try to compensate for swings in the movement of the weight.
Posture Tip 3: Lean slightly forward
Your natural inclination is going to be to lean forward, and this seems right for a good reason. It’s what you should be doing.
As we said above, the presence of the ruck changes how you’re going to stand normally. This is because the ruck affects your center of gravity.
You can’t lean forward any which way though. Lean from your hips, not your waist.
Posture Tip 4: Head up, Eyes up
While you should lean forward, try your best not to look at the ground while you’re rucking.
This is a natural inclination you want to fight against.
As you ruck, your back, shoulders and knees are going to get tired. A common response is to keep your head down and your eyes on your feet, to keep moving.
Your neck is going to hate you in the morning. Though you may not realize it, because…it’s just there, your head actually does have some weight to it.
Putting that extra pressure on your neck is not a good thing. On top of that, this poor posture will affect your breathing.
Posture Tip 5: The Core is…Core.
Speaking of breathing, you want to keep your core muscles engaged as you ruck along. Keep your muscles tightened as you ruck.
This reduces the stress on your spine, helping with some of the earlier tips.
You don’t need to keep it as tight as you would if you were doing sit ups or an ab workout. But a general tightening will go a long way.
Keep it in the back of your mind as you ruck and you should be fine.
Posture Tip 6: Swing away
Your arm movements are interestingly more important than you think. The natural movement of your arms is helpful in keeping your balance.
Make sure you’re putting them to work in your favor.
The ruck is going to help you keep your chest upright. While being slightly bent forward, you can make use of you your arms to help pull yourself as you move.
Try it out, even without a ruck. You’ll notice you move faster.
Posture Tip 7: Movement is a package deal
You’re going to be rucking many miles. Even if you’re just starting out, you can build your endurance rather quickly (especially if you’re using good posture).
Over those long distances though, you’re going to slowly lose control of your posture. Your focus is going to go elsewhere.
So while it may be easy to zone out, you have to fight that urge. If you’re listening to music or podcasts, assuming you’re rucking solo, there’s an even higher chance of this happening, as you focus on what you’re listening to.
Multi-tasking is going to be an important tool in your arsenal.
Keep your knees and toes pointed forward. Walk from heel to toe.
Like we stated in the beginning: Posture is important.
It has a huge effect on your ability to ruck and you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. No pun intended.
Rucking has a lot of benefits and you want to make sure you’re reaping the most out of each of your rucks.
Every time you go out, you’re committing to a good amount of time. Make sure you’re using that time the best way you can.
After all, putting in a good ruck with good posture leaves plenty of time to calculate just how many calories you’re burning.
So let’s get to it!