How to use your rucking backpack for indoor training this Winter

Love using your rucking backpack for long hikes? Don’t let your ruckpack gather dust when outdoor temperatures plummet. Here’s how to use your weighted backpack for indoor workouts that will build strength and burn fat.

Rucking backpacks aren’t just for outdoor training

Weighted rucking backpacks are traditionally used for long walks, hikes, and outdoor adventures. But why stop there? A ruckpack is a great way to add external load (weight) to regular indoor workouts like gym sessions, Crossfit WODs, bodyweight training and calisthenics. Think of it like a weighted vest but with multiple uses!


5 big benefits of using a rucking backpack for strength training

1 Keep your hands free for rig work, gymnastics rings, or holding even more weight

2 Expend more energy between sets and throughout your entire workout

3 Level up simple bodyweight exercises for functional fitness gains

4 Increase your NEAT by burning more calories from every movement

5 Encourage full body strength including small muscle groups


3 best ways to use a rucking backpack for indoor workouts 

Strength training

You can build strength and muscular endurance by adding external load to your body (rather than by holding it i.e. a barbell or dumbbells). Ruckpacks are the perfect tool for this. Load up your pack and do calisthenics or bodyweight movements to distribute the load across your body.


Cardio and conditioning

Wear a ruckpack for endurance style cardio like treadmill walks or runs, or for conditioning pieces. The extra weight from the pack will force your body to work harder, burn more calories, and make further fitness adaptations.


Boost your NEAT

If your goal is calorie burn and weight management, consider wearing your weighted ruckpack throughout the day for general activity like household chores. Yes, it might feel weird, but it’s an amazing way to trick your body into thinking you are heavier – and therefore expend more energy.


Best ways to use weighted ruckpack for gym workouts 

There are two popular ways to use a weighted pack for gym workouts. The first is to simply wear it for cardio, bodyweight movements, or anything where it won’t get in the way. This approach will load up your body with “false weight” and make your brain think you are temporarily heavier than you really are. This in turn makes your body work harder, burn more calories, and adapt faster.

The second way is to strategically use your weighted pack as a strength training tool. Wear it for calisthenics movements, bodyweight workouts, and even for Crossfit-style WODs to take things to the next level. Bodyweight squats, walking lunges, press ups and pull ups get a lot harder when you’re wearing a ruck pack!


What are some examples of using a ruckpack for indoor workouts?

Ruck with Cindy

A twist on this classic Crossfit girls WOD – wearing a ruckpack makes things much tougher!

20-minute AMRAP

5 pull ups

10 push ups

15 air squats

(wearing a rucking backpack)


Core and cardio

Walk 1 mile on the treadmill at 18 min/mile

60 second plank

30 second side plank (left)

30 second side plank (right)

60 second plank

Walk 1 mile on the treadmill at 16 minute/mile


Legs, legs, legs

Fast 800m on treadmill at 5% incline

50 walking lunges

25 air squats

30 seconds bear crawl 

Repeat 4 rounds


Weighted vest vs weighted rucking pack for strength training?

Is there a difference between wearing a weighted vest as a strength and condition too, and wearing a ruckpack? The two bits of kit work in very similar ways. But a ruck pack is multi-use, and you’ll be able to use it as a rucking backpack once the outdoor season starts. Weighted vests are amazing, but you can’t carry anything in them.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. But if you’ve got a rucking backpack, don’t leave it gathering dust just because you can’t go rucking. There are many other ways to use a ruckpack – like these indoor workout examples.


Best rucking backpack to use for the gym

If you haven’t got a rucking backpack, check out Force Fitness amazing range of top quality ruckpacks, rucking plate carriers, and weights – great rucking kit and great prices.

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