Is rucking bad for your knees

Rucking has the potential to be a great workout. But it’s much more than simply a workout. It’s a way to help you focus and clear your mind. There are plenty of things to pay attention to, but rucking also gives you an escape. A question though, is what is all of this doing to your knees?

Is rucking bad for your knees?

We’re going to take a look today in this article.

Long story less long: no, rucking is not bad for your knees.

However, knee pain is no joke and not something you should take lightly. If you’re worried about knee pain, we’ve got some preventative solutions for you.

If you’re already experiencing some knee pain while rucking, read on and rest assured, we’re going to look at how you can solve the problem.

What’s causing the knee pain?

There are a number of issues that could be causing you to suffer from knee pain. These problems are all fixable.

Remember that your knee joints are actually incredible complex. There are tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and so much more in your knee joints.

It’s easy to cause microtears if something moves the wrong way. If you get an inflamed joint, you’re going to experience a high level of discomfort.

The pain isn’t going to go away without some work. That being said, this shouldn’t get you discouraged or make you want to set your ruck down.

Let’s look at some of the common causes of knee pain in a sort of chronological order of what could be causing the problem.

  • Past injuries
  • Improper conditioning
  • Bad Posture
  • Overtraining

Past injuries

This one is pretty straightforward. If you have prior injuries to your knees it’s going to be tough to ruck without experiencing knee pain.

Make sure you check with your doctor if you know or think you have had injuries in the past.

Improper Conditioning

This is a big one but is one that can be quickly solved. Conditioning is key for any physical fitness regimen, rucking included.

Take the time to stretch before and after ruck. It can be difficult, especially as your rucking time naturally increases. Proper stretching though will be quite beneficial.

Keeping your muscles loose and your body limber will help the rest of your body compensate for what you’re going through.

Yoga can seem like a godsend.

This reduces the stress that will be put on your knees and helps pull away from the stress that ends up being there.

Consider different exercises, such as the squat as well during your non-rucking workouts that will help complement your rucking and keep your knees in commission.

Bad Posture

Just like improper conditioning, this is one you can start to correct rather easily.

You’ve been hearing all your life how good posture goes a long way. If that’s the case for when you’re sitting in a chair, imagine how helpful it’ll be when you’re rucking with heavy weight strapped to your back.

For more information on better posture, see our posture guide.


This is one that can be difficult to tell. Overtraining brings with it a lot of symptoms, but linking it back to overtraining is sometimes an issue.

On top of that, you’re always looking for more progress and to keep moving forward.

But overtraining can pull you back and make things more difficult in the long run.

The last thing you want to do is be sidelined for a while with a knee injury. Remember, rucking can and will do a number on you, if you’re not careful.

There’s more information on overtraining, focusing on determining how often should your ruck.

Other tips and solutions for knee pain

Over the counter medications

Taking ibuprofen or some other pain reliever like acetaminophen isn’t always a bad thing. Too much will do some damage, but following the instructions will help in the short term.

They can bring down the internal swelling and let you shift towards stretches to bring down the pain.

Check the weight in the ruck

A tough pill to swallow (Yes, we know medication was the section before this), you may need to reduce the weight you’re carrying.

While it may seem as though it’s a step in the wrong direction, it’s actually a step forward. Reducing weight in the short term is a long term play.

Open up the stride

Speaking of steps forward, look to open up your stride in different ways. We’re not talking about just covering more distance with each step.

Increasing your speed and distance too fast is detrimental. Your body needs time to adapt, to adjust. You need to give it that time.

If you’re going 0-60 as fast as you can, you’re exerting yourself too much. Remember overtraining. Remember what bad posture can do.

Have the right gear

Having the right footwear will assist a lot in reducing the pressure a foot or so up on the knee joint.

Rucking can often see you traversing unfamiliar terrain. You’re not guaranteed a level field. With the right footwear and insoles you can reduce the pressure on your knees.


Last but not least, it’s the old faithful of treating swelling and other kinds of injuries.

  • Rest
  • Ice the knee
  • Compress
  • Elevate

It’s tough to beat what’s tried and true.


So now you know the answer to the question is rucking bad for your knees.


With proper care and preventative measures you’re going to be able to go farther and farther on your rucking journey.

Happy trails