The former ranger Jedidiah Ballard is back with a military workout that will get you training like a soldier by incorporating one important piece of equipment: a rucksack. Essentially, it’s a backpack but with weight added inside. Soldiers have to move with the sacks because it contains all their gear they need on the field. Known as ruck marching, Ballard says it’s an age-old standard of military grit and fitness.
“It is also one of the most feared events in boot camp and a minimum fitness requirement for some of the more physically intensive military schools, such as U.S. Army Ranger School,” he says.
People fear it because of how difficult it is, not to mention the additional weight of the water you bring as well. Luckily, you don’t need to do all that to get the benefits of workint out with a rucksack at home (but hey, we’re not stopping you if you really want to).
All you’ll need is a rucksack of your own and some space outside to start with. You could even use a mountain backpack, just as long as you can load up the sack with weight based on your level of strength. Get ready to challenge yourself with an intense total-body outdoor workout specifically designed by Ballard with a tool that crushes calories and builds up endurance. You can add this workout into your regular routine once per week, but he advises not to lift weights the day before or the day after doing it.
– Place the pack on the ground in front of you so the straps are facing you
– Grab the straps high and tight against your body, arms tucked into your sides and elbows fully flexed
– With your back upright, squat deep and stand back up, keeping your core tight throughout the movement
– Do 20 reps
– Can be done off a tree limb or pull-up bar
– Beginner: No pack, use a low limb so that knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, barely clearing the ground with arms fully extended (push off your legs as needed to bring your chin over the limb)
– Intermediate: No pack, standard pull-up
– Advanced: Pull-up with pack on
– Do 10 reps per set
– Beginner: No pack, from knees
– Intermediate: No pack, standard pushup
– Advanced: Pushup with pack on
– Do 10 reps per set
– Maintain upright posture and tight core
– Take a large forward step, with the front leg bending to approximately 90 degrees and the back knee almost touching the ground
– Stand and repeat alternating forward leg
– Do 10 reps per side
ONE ARM ROW
– Lean forward at the waist with legs split apart and knees slightly bent (the front leg will be opposite to the working arm)
– Bend at the waist, keeping the back flat and a neutral curve in the spin with head facing slightly forward
– Grab pack by middle of straps with extended arm and pull your elbow back toward your body, squeezing your shoulder blade toward your spine
– Lower in a controlled manner
– 10 reps per side
CLEAN AND PRESS
– Place pack in front of you with the straps facing you, grabbing it by the top of the straps
– Bend knees keeping back straight and in one movement extend knees creating momentum to curl ruck to your chin
– Press it above your head, finishing with arms fully extended
– Lower back to ground reversing the movement
– Keep core tight throughout
– Do 10 reps
– Lay on your back, tucking hands palms down under the upper outer part of your butt
– Keep your legs straight, toes pointed and flex abs to hold them 6” off the ground
– Alternate small kicks like swimming and count in a 4-count manner for each kick
– Ex: 1,2,3,1 – 1,2,3,2 – 1,2,3,3 – 1,2,3,4, etc.
– Do 20 reps
Do all seven exercises in a row resting as little as possible while transitioning movements. Repeat cycle three times, resting for two minutes in between.
For a quick added calorie burn at the end of the third cycle, immediately put the pack on and walk at a pace of 6 km per hour for 9.5 minutes/km.
Each week you can make it more difficult by either increasing the pack weight by 2 kg or adding one to two reps per exercise.
By Monica Andrade