Does Carrying a Heavy Backpack Build Muscle? Strong Benefits of Rucking in 2023

Does Carrying a Heavy Backpack Build Muscle

Nowadays, muscle building has become much more popular, especially among young men. Body muscles are thought to be one of the sources of looking more dashing and handsome. In simple words, it enhances your external look. 

People are very committed to muscle-building methods such as weightlifting, gymming, and rucking.

Now the question is: Does carrying a heavy backpack build muscle? Of course, yes! 

Carrying a heavy backpack with you and walking with it, build muscles all over your body. The term used for this process is known as rucking.

Hence, rucking can be considered the best alternative to gyming. This article will teach you how to walk with a heavy backpack for muscle building and other benefits of rucking.

How to carry a heavy Backpack?

This is the most important question to know the answer to for rucking. As we are all aware of the health troubles caused by carrying an overweight backpack on your back, we should go over some tips for carrying a heavy backpack to avoid pains in your neck and back. 

  • Weight of the backpack

How much weight should be carried in your backpack? 

Well, it depends on your stamina and ability to bear it. During ruck marches, for example, soldiers are usually capable of carrying 60% or much heavier backpacks than their body weight.

It should be at least 20% less than your body weight if you have some health issues, otherwise, more will be better.

  • Packing your backpack

While packing your backpack, make sure that you place the objects evenly in it. Prefer heavier objects to be placed at the bottom, this will help to avoid neck straining. Packing dumbbells in your backpack is the best way to increase your pack’s weight.

  • Wearing style

You may have found that your backpack is hurting your back. This problem can be solved by correctly wearing your backpack.

Try to keep it close to your body, this will help reduce the stress on your spinal muscles.

  • How long to carry a heavy backpack?

Initially, you should walk for at least 5 miles a day with your heavy backpack. But, if you can go for a longer time, this is a plus point for you.

How carrying a heavy backpack builds your muscles?

I’m sure most of you never wonder about building muscles by rucking. Instead, you have made your backpacks specific to schools and offices.

However, heavy backpacks are the best way to strengthen your body. Let us see some ways rucking can build muscles in your body.

  • Build muscles in your back and shoulder.

The weight in your backpack gets distributed across your back and shoulders. As soon as you ruck, your muscles respond to the increased load. Lately, this will help in building muscles in your back and shoulder. 

  • Build muscles in your legs

It’s obvious that your legs are the part of your body that is responsible for bearing all the weight you carry. Accordingly, the heavy backpack increases the amount of resistance on your legs. This will aid in strengthening your legs.

  • Build muscles in your core

The additional load in your backpack is responsible for increasing muscle engagement in your core. How?

As you walk with your heavy backpack your core tends to keep you upright, therefore, it naturally engages in a greater capacity. Due to this, the muscles of your core get built. 

Walking with weighted backpack benefits – Rucking

As already discussed, rucking is walking with weight for extended periods. It is one of the most popular fitness exercises. Usually, the weight is carried in a backpack for convenience. 

Is walking with a heavy backpack good exercise? 

Yes! It’s the best exercise ever found to make you fit and smart.

Larger backpacks are required for rucking like hiking backpacks or military backpacks, as a great amount of gear is to be packed in them. 

Rucking is a superb form of cardio. Male soldiers are observed to have greater cardiorespiratory output across heart rate and energy expenditure when carrying a load.

Rucking Benefits

Here are some more benefits of rucking.

1. Rucking is simple and cheap to start

Rucking is the simplest exercise. You don’t need any special equipment or machines like those found in gyms. In fact, you just need a solid rucking backpack and shoes, and after that, you’re ready to ruck.

Furthermore, you don’t have to save or wait for the money to pay gym fees. Rucking saves you tons of cash and everyone can benefit from it without any expenditure. 

2. Burn calories 

A normal walk is responsible for burning calories. But, interestingly, the addition of a heavy backpack makes it three times more. A 30-minute walk burns 125 calories, while the same walk with a heavy backpack can burn about 325  calories.

Yes! Rucking is a great source of weight loss. So, if you’re worried about being bulky, pack up your backpack and go rucking.

It will make you look smarter and more handsome.

3. Build up your bone density

Rucking helps to make your bones stronger and reduces the effects of osteoporosis. The heavy backpack benefits in increasing bone mineral density and improves balance.

According to research, the women who ruck have stronger bones than those who don’t carry any weight.

4. Best for your heart and lungs

Rucking is the best cardio exercise as it elevates your heart rate compared to normal walking. 

However, it also reduces the risk of heart disease and maintains your blood pressure. It also increases your endurance and work capacity.

5. Improves your mental health 

If you feel stressed or upset, you should prefer rucking. Rucking improves your mental health and helps you overcome depression, anxiety, negative mood, and anger.

This happens for many reasons. Due to a workout, dopamine is released by your brain. Dopamine plays a vital role in encouraging your brain cells to make you happy.

Also, exposure to natural beauty refreshes your mind, and inhaling fresh air enhances your immune system.

6. Improve your posture

Most of us must sit for extended periods of time during the day, whether in an office or at school. This routine terribly affects our posture.

To overcome this problem, rucking is the perfect solution. A weighted backpack pulls the muscles of your shoulders back into proper alignment. This helps you correct your posture.

7. Makes you social

When you go outside, you come across different people, like your friends, neighbors, relatives, colleagues, etc. 

Hence, rucking provides you with a chance to socialize. 

If you go rucking for 30 minutes, you’ll find many people to gossip with. This will give you more knowledge and ideas.

8. Reduces the risk of pain and injuries

Mostly, sports and games lead to severe injuries. Rucking is somewhat different in this aspect.

Yes, you may face some minor injuries sometimes, but not mostly. People consider it the safest sport for fitness.

Moreover, rucking also relieves and prevents the risk of pain. It is done by pulling the spine into such a position that lessened the compression of the disc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to train to carry a heavy pack?  

This is the most basic question to be answered. Priorly, you have to pack your backpack with 5% of your total body weight. Gradually, keep on increasing by 5% weight after every 4 weeks.
Furthermore, initially go for smooth and easy hiking and train your core. 

Is rucking bad for your body?

In addition to the various benefits of rucking, it also has some harmful effects on your body, especially if you ruck improperly.
As we know excess of everything is bad, overrunning may thicken tissues of the heart, causing fibrosis.
Moreover, if you’re not comfortable with your backpack, you may cause nerve compression injuries.
However, if you go for appropriate weight, proper posture, and a comfortable backpack (shoulder straps), rucking can never be bad for you.

How to gear up a rucking backpack?

Your rucking backpack demands heavy-weighted objects, so you have to pack it accordingly.
Here are some items, you may use for this purpose.
Spare dumbbells
Heavy wooden blocks
Heavy books
Ruck plates 
First aid kit
In the above-provided list, you should prefer ruck plates.
These are specially designed heavier for your rucksack. GORUCK Ruck plates are the best ones.

Does rucking build abs?

Usually, men are very conscious and concerned about their body structure. Mainly, they struggle to build their abs and go to gyms in this regard.
Luckily! Rucking is also providing you with this opportunity.
As already discussed, heavyweight engages the muscles of your body more than usual.
It creates a solid strength workout and not only builds the muscles of your legs but also strengthens the muscles of your spine, abs, shoulders, and lower back. This gives your body a perfect alluring structure.


Finally, I hope you are well aware of the answer to the question, does carrying a heavy backpack build muscle? 

This article almost covers all the aspects of rucking, along with its benefits.

The thing to be noted is just don’t try to overload yourself with your backpack. Put in the weight according to your stamina. Also, go for a backpack with comfortable shoulder straps and a back surface, surely you’ll enjoy rucking.

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