Rucking vs. Running: Everything you need to know

Have you ever wanted to lose extra weight but couldn’t because you hated the high-intensity cardio part of your workout? If so, you’re not alone. Everyone wants to be fit and healthy, but most can’t get there.

Many people believe running and enduring a stressful strength training workout is the only way to lose weight. But that simply isn’t true. You can also go rucking!

Discovering this type of cardio training has changed our exercise routines and improved our overall health.

We believe rucking is a great alternative to running because it has most of the same benefits without the high intensity and injuries.

What is rucking?

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Rucking has several benefits. But before getting into them, let’s talk about the exercise itself.

Put simply; rucking is walking with a heavy backpack known as a rucksack. You need a lot of strength to carry the weight of the bag; that’s how the exercise works.

Many people choose to do this type of cardio because it’s easier to get into than other more intensive options. You can ruck a mile on a hike, around your block, or even in a mall. But this in no way means rucking is a piece of cake. It requires endurance, form, posture, and character to be effective.

In fact, rucking traces its origins to the Roman military, whose soldiers were expected to fill a backpack with food and carry it for a long period of time. The same holds true for soldiers in the WWII and modern eras.

Rucking vs. running

Rucking vs. running? It’s a no-brainer for most people. While the two have many differences, they typically choose rucking based on the first: it’s just walking.

Low vs. high intensity

Rucking is a LIIT (low-intensity interval training) exercise, which means that it is slow-paced. Since the workout is about the weight in your backpack and not getting your heart rate up, you can take your time and walk at your normal speed.

On the other hand, running is a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercise. Meaning if you want to improve the condition of your body, you’ll have to pick up your pace.

Jogging is considered a LIIT version of running, and you could get health benefits with it. However, you’ll need to jog for a long time to see them.


Going on a run seems like a simple task, but it is more complex than you realize. Improper shoes, posture, or technique, can lead to several injuries, including stress fractures and muscle pulls.

Rucking isn’t as dangerous for beginners. As long as you keep your form right, you’ll be safe.

As long as you make sure you properly recover from your exercises, you’ll be in good shape.

Upper and lower body vs. cardio

Since rucking needs you to lift a heavy load in your rucksack, you use and build body muscles. On the other hand, running only facilitates weight loss. 

Benefits of rucking vs. running

Burns calories

If you hate running, rucking is an excellent alternative since it burns around the same calories. 

Moreover, it is definitely superior to jogging as it burns significantly more calories than it. 

Rucking Up

For instance, a man of 200 pounds will burn around 770 calories jogging at 5 miles per hour for 60 minutes. After adding a 50 pounds ruck, he will weigh a total of 250 pounds and burn 960 calories at the same speed. 

Less stress 

One of the biggest downsides of running is the stress it places on the lower body – specifically the knees. Every time you take a stride, your knees take up to twelve times your typical weight. 

Given the potential of severe harm when running, several people avoid this exercise altogether to save their knees. Because the ones that do brave through the risk often end up with injuries of some sort. 

With rucking, the risk of knee injury isn’t gone completely, but it is mitigated. There are ways to help you with any knee issues.

Builds strength 

Men and women in the military have a muscular upper body. A large part of their strength and endurance can be attributed to regular rucking. 

In addition to developing strong upper body muscles, rucking is also a great option for building core muscles. 

For lifters, the benefits are immense.

The best way to see if rucking is working for you is by noticing how your body feels. After rucking your first few miles, you should notice that your hamstrings are sore. This feeling should be intensified if you choose a rougher terrain or work with a heavier rucksack next week. 

While running is good for your health, too, it is focused on cardio and not on building upper body muscle. 

Improved posture

The only way to stabilize the ruck on your back during your walk is by relying on your core. You have to pull your shoulder back and stand upright. 

If you go rucking regularly, the training will help improve your daily form. 

Social events

There are several rucking social events across the nation. Each fosters new relationships and bonds, which are integral to maintaining your health. You can talk to your friends while rucking and make long-lasting ties. 

While there are similar events for running, you can’t socialize and participate. Since the activity itself takes up a lot of your energy, you can’t talk to someone else. Additionally, everyone’s primary goal is to be the fastest, not the most sociable. 

Similarities between rucking and running

Despite their differences, rucking and running are both accessible training techniques for the masses. They will improve your cardiovascular health and boost your quality of life. 

Even if you only start by going rucking a few days in the week, you’ll be more energetic and see an improvement in your overall mood. Moreover, once you establish a training routine, you’ll notice an increase in endurance and a decrease in body weight.


Rucking and running are both excellent forms of cardio and have several health benefits. However, they’re both very different.

Running is a HIIT workout and burns a lot of calories. At the same time, it puts a strain on the lower body and could hurt your knees.

Rucking is a LIIT workout and is simply a variation of walking. You burn calories by carrying a ruck and don’t need to maintain a fast pace.

The benefits of rucking are obvious. You’ll burn a tonne of calories, improve your heart’s condition, have a stronger body and better form.

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