How to use your rucking backpack or weighted vest for interval training

Have you tried using your rucking backpack or weighted vest for interval training? Here’s how rucking fans can get fitter, faster, and stronger with outdoor interval workouts.


Can you use weighted apparel for interval training

Interval training is great for boosting your fitness, endurance, and speed. The effort/rest structure of an interval session can be used by beginners or advanced athletes to fast-track progress and push through training plateaus.

But have you ever thought about doing interval training as part of your long walks or rucks? Weighted apparel, like a rucking backpack or weighted vest, is a great way to add load and intensity to those longer sessions. Let’s look at practical ways to do interval sessions with your weighted vest or pack.


Outdoor interval training with weighted vest or ruckpack

When you think of interval training, chances are you think about it in the context of gym workouts or run sessions. HIIT workouts, circuit training, and classic running intervals are definitely a great way to organise the on/off structure of an interval session.

But if you love getting out into nature for long cardio sessions, there’s a way you can turn part of those rucks or hikes into an interval workout that will give you all the benefits of an indoor session – without the boring treadmill. 

The trick lies in increasing at least one training variable of those outdoor sessions. Duration will build endurance, but it won’t tick the interval box. Incline (i.e. hills) plus speed can be used for interval training, but limits you to hilly locations.

When you want to do interval training on any long hike or ruck, the best training variable to play with is load. And that’s where your weighted apparel comes in.


Benefits of interval training with weighted apparel 

Using your weighted vest of weighted rucking backpack for intervals gives you the opportunity to increase the intensity of your outdoor workouts at any time. You don’t need to find a hilly route. You can increase the speed of your ruck and let the external weight add intensity. No need to carry any extra kit with you, or to keep taking your pack on and off. Carry on as you are – just up the pace. We’ll show you how with a few example sessions below.

Increased intensity – the extra weight of a weighted vest of pack makes your muscles, heaty, and lungs work harder, boosting CV fitness, strength, endurance, and speed.

Versatility - rucking backpacks and weighted vests are versatile training tools that you can use anywhere. They’re suitable for hikes, rucks, trails, or urban walking. 


Can you do interval training in rucking or hiking

Yes, you can definitely do a form of interval training during a hike or ruck. There’s no need to break into a run (unless you want to), or start doing burpees mid-hike. Use your weighted vest or weighted rucking backpack as a tool to introduce intervals to any outdoor session.

Example interval workouts with a weighted vest or rucking backpack

Fast ruck intervals

  • Warm up by rucking at a regular pace for 15 minutes
  • Alternate 1 minute faster (15 minute/mile) and 1 minute slower (17-20 minute mile) for 30 minutes
  • Cool down with 10-15 minutes regular pace


Long ruck intervals

  • Warm up by rucking at a regular pace for 10 minutes
  • Do 400m faster/400m slower
  • Then 800m faster/800m slower
  • Then 1000m faster/1000m slower
  • Come back down the ladder of 800s and 400s
  • Repeat again depending on your goals, time slot and fitness
  • Cool down with 10-15 minutes regular pace


Timer intervals

  • Warm up by rucking at a regular pace for 10 minutes
  • Set your watch to beep or vibrate every 5 minutes
  • Alternate a sustainable fast pace, and a slower recovery pace every 5 minutes for the duration of your ruck
  • Cool down with 10-15 minutes regular pace


Hill rep rucking

  • Use a hill that is challenging enough to make you out of breath
  • Walk up the hill at a fast pace
  • Descend at a slow pace
  • Repeat 8-10 times
  • This interval session can be done as part of a longer ruck any time you find a suitable hill


Best weighted vest or rucking backpack for intervals 

Make sure your weighted apparel is comfortable, padded, and can be fully adjusted so it fits properly. You don’t want your intervals to be interrupted by weighted kit slipping around. Check out our full range of weighted vests, rucking backpacks, or rucking plate carrier. They all sit close to the body, with slim plate-style weights and plenty of adjustable straps for the perfect fit.

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