The Muscles You Work When You Ruck

The Muscles You Work When You Ruck

I love walking. I would walk everywhere if I could. And I never feel like I have enough time, and I rarely meet anyone who does. It got me thinking: how can I make my walking routine more effective? ‘Cause who doesn’t want more “bang for their walking buck?” 

So I got a Jetti Pack - a weighted pack – to walk with and started doing what the cool kids call "rucking." 

I LOVE it - I am still out there walking, but now I’m getting so many more benefits. It is like a free gym workout that doesn't take any time out of my day, AND I get to be outside while doing it.

Rucking adds to the work of all of the usual walking muscles plus others. Yup, like a free gym workout!

Here are the primary muscle groups that engage while you "Ruck." 


  •  Quadriceps (Front Thigh Muscles)
  •  Hamstrings (Back Thigh Muscles)
  •  Calves (Gastrocnemius and Soleus)
  •  Glutes (Buttocks)

Basically, it's a leg day without doing a single lunge or squat! How much do I love that?

These muscles might be obvious because you feel them after a good strenuous walk even without a weighted pack, but with rucking delivers even more benefits!


  • Abdominals: Your core muscles are engaged to maintain stability and balance as you walk with the added weight. As I go down the muscles below you will see the word stability a lot - that means little proprioceptors are firing - helping your balance and your reflexes as you walk!
  • Erector Spinae: These muscles run along your spine and help maintain an upright posture, especially when carrying extra weight. And because the Jetti Pack puts all the weight on your back in a way to keep you standing up straight, it can help with that horrible hunching (the pros call it lordosis) I get when I work on the computer all day.


Shoulder Muscles:
  • Deltoids and Trapezius: Put those shoulder muscles to work to stabilize your upper body. 


Chest Muscles:
  • Pectoral Muscles: While walking, the pectoral muscles can help maintain the stability of your upper body. This is like doing some push-ups while getting your cardio simultaneously!

The degree to which your muscles work will depend on your form, the length of your stride, your speed, and how long you walk. Start slow and then build up your speed, distance, and incline. And when you are ready, you can add additional weights to your pack. Walking with a weighted pack can be an effective way to increase the challenge of your walking workout and engage more muscle groups, making it a great way to simultaneously work on cardiovascular fitness and strength. I always tell my kids that multi-tasking doesn't work, but in this case, IT DOES!


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