How Many Calories Does Rucking Burn?
What’s rucking, you might ask.
The answer is that rucking is walking at a tempo of 3.5 to 4 miles per hour with a weighted backpack.
Because of this powerful combination of cardio and resistance training, rucking burns more calories than walking.
As a result, rucking can transform your body from fat to fit, fast.
Just go out and ruck for 30 minutes to an hour a day carrying a 20-pound ruck plate and see what happens.
This new fitness trend is called rucking because in the United States Armed forces, a weighted pack is called a ruck pack.
To calculate the number of rucking calories burned per hour, use the following three simple steps.
*Note that this article is for informational purposes only and not for medical advice.
3 Simple Steps to Calculate Calories Burned Rucking
1. MET – Metabolic Equivalent of a Task
The first step to calculating the calorie burn of any physical activity is to know the METs.
The Metabolic Equivalent of a Task (METs) will tell you how many calories you burn per hour of exercise per kilogram of body weight.
According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, the METs for backpacking on level terrain with a 21 to 42-pound load is 7.0.
While walking up hills with the same weight is 8.3. The METs of Rucking on a flat surface with a 21 to 42 lb weight is approximately 7.0.
Remember that baseline number.
(The METs will change based on how much weight you add to your ruck pack and the incline of hills you are climbing.)
|1993 Compendium||2000 Compendium||2011 Compendium||Walking|
|17010||7.0||17010||7.0||17010||7.0||backpacking (Taylor Code 050)|
2. Determine your Weight in Kilograms
The second step to calculate how many calories you burn rucking is to find your weight in kilograms.
All you need to do is divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
If you weigh 195.7 pounds, the average weight of a man in the U.S.¹, divide this number by 2.2, which leaves you with 88.95 kilograms.
Once you know your weight in kilograms, you can now move to the formula in the next step.
3. Use the METs Formula to Measure Calories Burned Rucking
The METs formula is:
- Rucking calories burned (or any other physical activity) = METs x weight in kg x time in hours.
If you do not work out for an hour, then express this number as .5 for 30 minutes or .25 for a 15-minute workout.
A proper ruck march for fitness is 30 minutes to an hour.
Using our example of a 180-pound (81.8kg) individual, we can plug in our numbers to the formula.
- Calories burned = METs of 7.0 for rucking x 88.95kg x time (1 hour or .5 for 30 minutes or .25 for 15 minutes)
- 7.0 x 88.95 x 1 = 622.65 calories burned rucking (assuming an hour long ruck march).
- If you did a ruck march carrying a 35-pound weight in 30 minutes, then your formula would be 7.0 x 88.95 x .5 = 311.325 calories burned rucking.
Compare this to the average calories burned walking at 3.5 mph for an hour, which consumes approximately half the numbers above.
Powerlifter Tries Ruck Sacks March and US Military Workout
Rucking Fitness Benefits
You likely spend a significant portion of your day sitting, a big problem of modern life. While you might feel relaxed, your body is losing muscle, impacting your heart health and fitness level.
But, with rucking, you can reverse the wasting away of your muscle mass, and who knows, maybe you will build the body of a navy seal, lean and ripped.
In fact, ruck marching is a fundamental component of U.S. Special Forces Soldiers’ training to build a soldier’s strength and endurance. It will work for you too!
Rucking health benefits for soldiers and civilians include:
- A slow distance exercise that improves postural stability and balance – just start walking with a loaded backpack
- Increases bone density to help prevent osteoporosis
- Strengthens joints, muscles, and ligaments
- Builds up your cardiorespiratory endurance
- Active resistance training to increase your strength with the rucksack on your back
- Conditioning, strength training, and cardio benefits of rucking simultaneously
- Rucking is a perfect application of the overload principle for weight loss and muscle gain in action
- Running is tough on your knees and joints, whereas rucking is not.
- The British Journal of Sports Medicine ² reports that long-distance runners have an injury rate of 20 to 70 percent.
- This high rate of injuries when running is because your knees absorb a shock between seven and twelve times your body weight.
- The artofmanliness.com reports the caloric burn of rucking for an average person weighing 200 pounds is between 450 calories and 585 calories per hour.
The basic rucking gear you need is:
#1. Durable and Comfortable Hiking Shoes
Such as Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes:
- Pigskin leather and mesh upper
- Traditional lace closure
- Bellows tongue keeps out debris
- Protective toe cap
- Breathable mesh lining
#2. Rucking Backpack
My pick is the 5.11 Tactical RUSH24 Military Backpack:
- Quite simply the best tactical military backpack on the market. This Rucksack...
- Rush24 Tactical Molle backpack has a reinforced grab-and-go handle, hydration...
- Military Backpack has 2275 cubic inch / 37 liter total capacity with Twin...
- Also has three mesh admin compartments, zippered side water bottle pocket and a...
- The Rush24 tactical military backpack can be used as a multipurpose pack, bug...
#3. Rucking Weights
Like Yes4All Cast Iron Ruck Weights:
- HEAVY-DUTY CAST IRON RUCK WEIGHT: Constructed of heavy-gauge cast iron and...
- WIDE, SMOOTH HANDLE: Our plate features a wide grip handle to easily add and...
- ERGONOMIC, ROUNDED EDGE: Each Ruck Weight is specially designed with four...
- GREAT FOR RUCKING & MILITARY TRAINING: Adding ruck weights to your jogging or...
- STRENGTHEN YOUR HIP & POSTURE STABILITY: The weight of the backpack pulls your...
#4. Hydration Bottle
You should be fully hydrated before, during, and after your ruck, so don’t forget to bring a 1-liter hydration bottle:
- Nalgene's bestselling water bottle for more than 20 years
- Made of BPA-free Eastman Tritan co-polyester with superior impact resistance;...
- Suitable for both warm and cold beverages (-40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit); wide...
- Opening accommodates most water filters; marked with milliliters and ounces for...
- Made in the USA and guaranteed for the life of the product
Rucking for Beginners
#1. Get the right footwear and gear for the best experience
#2. Start small with a 15 to 30-minute ruck and 10 to 20-pound ruck plates
#3. Build up gradually in time or load for the most effective application of the overload principle
#4. Begin with a ruck pace of 3.5mph, which is approximately a 17-minute mile
#5. Aim to achieve a ruck pace of 4 mph, which is a 15-minute mile
#6. This tempo of 3.5mph to 4mph is a brisk walk
#7. Unless you are training to be an Army Ranger, do not run when you ruck
#8. Maintain good posture while you ruck
Rucking Vs. Powerlifting for Fitness
You can burn more than 600 calories with one hour’s worth of ruck marching. And a 30-minute walk burns half that amount of calories.
Besides the calories burned rucking; keep in mind the value of an active resistance exercise routine that is more accessible to many people than weightlifting.
For example, an hour-long deadlift workout also burns more than 500 calories.
Anyone who has done a full powerlifting workout knows how intense it is.
But squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pushups are full-body compound resistance training movements that require more technical skills, mobility, and strength than walking with a rucksack.
Therefore, rucking is a safe and accessible activity for anyone looking to transform their body in six months or less.
The Amount of Calories Burned Rucking is Not Critical
However, do you need to track the number of calories burned rucking for weight loss?
The answer is you do not need to know rucking calories burned to achieve a dramatic body transformation.
That might sound like heresy in our calorie-counting culture, but it is the truth.
You do not need a rucking calorie calculator to get fit.
Counting calories is indeed an excellent place to start when you are overweight or obese, especially when you think you do not eat that much.
But the secret to body transformation is not just about calculating calories.
The key is the consistency of your meals, the quality of food that you eat, and resistance training, be it rucking, squats, deadlifts, or pushups.
How American Soldiers Ruck March – Get Rucked
Calories Burned Rucking – Final Thoughts
The Army ACFT deadlift standards for Combat Fitness is not the only military fitness trend to hit the civilian world.
Now it is rucking, a fat-blasting hybrid of cardio and strength training.
A simple rucking workout will enable you to burn up to 600 plus calories in an hour.
Use this knowledge of the calories burned rucking to motivate yourself to your rucking program week in and week out.
Consistency is how you will see results in building your overall strength and fitness.
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² Incidence and determinants of lower extremity running injuries in long-distance runners: a systematic review – British Journal of Sports Medicine – https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/41/8/469.full