Weight Training for Ruck Marching

Ruck marching, also known as forced marching, is a grueling activity typically required in boot camp and armed forces training. If you are not strong enough, or in adequate shape, for a ruck march, you are likely to fall behind the expected pace and face repercussions. Weight training strengthens your muscles and helps prepare your body for a ruck march, ensuring you are ready when the time arrives.

About Ruck Marching

Ruck marching is performed at a fast walking speed on rough or uneven terrain. You must wear a pack that usually weighs 45 pounds or more, a helmet and your uniform. In addition, you are expected to carry your weapon and several canteens full of water. You must keep a steady pace during a ruck march, pushing your muscles without rest.

Muscles Activated in a Ruck March

During a ruck march, your legs and back are forced to work harder than other muscles. Your legs must constantly move to propel you forward and aid in balance on the uneven ground. Your back must support the weight of your gear and hold you upright with a significant amount of additional burden. If your legs and back reach their limit during the march, you will not be able to keep the pace expected of you.

Weight Training Exercises for Ruck Marching

Simple weight training exercises that target your upper and lower legs build significant strength in preparation for a ruck march. Weighted calf raises, squats, deadlifts and lunges are essential for strengthening your legs. Deadlifts also engage your back, building strength along your spine. Pullovers, rows and pull downs strengthen the muscles of your back to support the weight they must carry on a ruck march.

How Much Weight to Lift

After learning proper form for each weight training exercise, gauge how much weight you can work with comfortably. To push your muscles, you should work with a weight that allows you to do eight to 12 repetitions without losing proper form. Start with a low weight and work up until you find the right one for each exercise. Increase the weight as you grow stronger to continue challenging your muscles. If you are uneasy determining how much weight to lift on your own, consult a certified physical trainer for an accurate assessment.

Rest Period

After each weight training session, you must abstain from extreme exertion until your muscles have healed. During the healing process, your muscles expend available energy to repair small tears. When these tears heal, your muscles become stronger and more ready for a ruck march. If you weight train before your muscles have healed, you risk injury, which will set back your training.


Consult a health care professional before beginning weight training to ensure your body can endure the exercises. If you feel pain rather than burning during an exercise, stop immediately and rest until it subsides. Consult your physician if the pain lasts for more than five days. Consult a certified physical trainer before beginning the weight training routine. Ask him to teach you proper form for the exercises and recommend how many of each you should perform.

About the Author

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