You just need two things to get started: a Ruck (your old backpack will work) and something heavy. If you’re going any significant distance – remember water as well! Typically, in a bladder/camelback, but water/Nalgene bottles work great too. That’s all you need!
** For more advanced gear needs, check out our Gear Checklist further down.
You will want to start with approx. 20 lbs. (or less, no need to overdo it): plates from a weight-room work well to start, or you can tape four bricks together (approx. 5 lbs. each, so for 30 lbs. go with six bricks).
Pro-tip: Always make the weight stable inside your ruck & cinch your ruck all the way as high on your back as it goes!
You can start around the house, then around the block/neighborhood. Word around town is that mowing your yard with a Ruck on is a great workout (it's called a MowRuck). It is always recommend going with someone and making it a social occasion – with your fellow Pax, or on a walk with your M and/or 2.0s. You will want to shoot for 16-18 minute/miles, but the point is to keep moving so move at your own pace.
For beginners, don’t overdo the weight. Get used to your ruck with 20 lbs. – increasing as you get comfortable to 30+ lbs. Typical top end of weight should be about 30% of your bodyweight. It’s just like wearing a backpack, but your back, shoulders, hips, and feet will feel it as the weight increases. Remember to care for your feet! Stretch appropriately and wear comfortable shoes.
Spend time under weight! Get distance on your feet and hours under load. This is the only way to get used to carrying your loaded ruck. Extreme distance isn’t necessary to train for any single event – just like a marathon, work up in distance as you are capable/comfortable. For a 15-20 mile GoRuck Tough, as an example, do a number of 7-10 mile training rucks – these will take 3-4 hours.
Train heavy! Once comfortable and able, train with more weight than required during a GoRuck-style event (e.g., if a GoRuck Tough requires you to carry 30 lbs., train with 50 lbs. or more). This will ensure that you have no issues during the event itself with a fully packed ruck (weight, water, plus other gear add up), and it will make the required weight feel more natural and painless.
Train with Coupons! A typical Rucking-based Event will have partners/teams (2+) carrying logs, telephone poles or similarly gruesome objects. Training with similar items will help you learn how to lift and set them down without hurting yourself, and how to most “comfortably” carry them. Fireman carries are also a useful training exercise to learn the proper method of carrying a partner (i.e., a casualty).
Physical training is also a part of a typical GoRuck event. Spend time working out with squats, lunges, overhead presses, arm curls, push-ups, bear crawls, getups, etc., all with your ruck!
Pro-tip: click here for sample exercises, then go do them!