Running with weighted rucksack

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Smitfire, May 10, 2010.

  1. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    What's the general opinion on running with a weighted rucksack?

    I've been slowly building up my running for a couple of months now. 3 miles, half an hour's worth, three times a week. I'm not going for steady distance running but fairly intensive intervals set at 3 minutes (with a minute walking in between).
    As a base line fitness foundation for doing rounds of sparring basically.
    Recently I've added wearing a rucksack with some old handweights in it. No idea on how much it weighs (maybe 6-8kg at the most?) but I thought it would add intensity to what I already do without having to add time or distance.
    I'm aiming to grade for my blackbelt in October and I've heard our chief instructor is fond of impromptu runs up into the mountains to his "outdoor dojo" so I want to be prepared for such things.
    My idea being to run with a rucksack up until a couple of weeks before the grading and then not using it. So hopefully running without wearing it will seem much easier?
    Sort of like peaking for a particular week.

    I did my first weighted run on Saturday and after some intial shock felt it went OK. My shoulders certainly feel it. I noticed I didn't get as far round my circuit as I was obviously running slower than normal.

    Feel free to discuss my idea but also weighted running in general.
    Is it worth it?
    Should you mix in unweighted running too?
    Add weight every few weeks?
    Ditch it as being too stressful on the body?
  2. AndrewTheAndroid

    AndrewTheAndroid A hero for fun.

    I thought the title of the thread said something completely different.
  3. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I'd have thought that for training for rounds you'd be better of with sprint/jog/sprint/jog type intervals? It's not your carrying capacity you're trying to increase, you're not training to carry a bergen round Afghanistan, it's your stamina at maximum effort and your recovery time.

    You remember the thread I did on intervals? 30 second flat out sprint, 1.30 jog to recover, repeat until you've had enough. I reckon if you did that over your 3 mile course your training would be better for your particular purpose.

    Just my twopen'orth :)

  4. CosmicFish

    CosmicFish Aleprechaunist

    On the con side I'd be wary of putting excessive strain on your joints. Obviously, the more weight you add, the greater the potential for damage. It's not something you can give hard and fast rules for though. I'd give it a go but listen to your body. Also, there's the fact that, strictly speaking, if you were to run only with the extra weight on, your body would adapt to running with the extra weight rather than your own bodyweight. For this reason I would agree with mixing weighted running in with good amounts of bodyweight only running.

    On the pro side, however, I'd expect that if you did slowly but surely add small increments of weight, you would notice an improvement in running ability at bodyweight only. Also, if you're not adverse to spending some money, I'd be inclined to get a weighted vest, rather than use a backpack. Reason being it would distribute the weight over your whole body better and you wouldn't get so much of that annoying "bounce" with every step. I've got a nice one from ebay that has 30 pockets on it, each pocket being capable of holding a 1kg metal brick - allowing me to increment weight gradually.

    Please bear in mind, however, that I've never actually done this myself and I'm basing what I've written on (hopefully reasonably well-educated!) speculation.

    Good luck with the eventual black belt test as well, BTW.
  5. seiken steve

    seiken steve golden member

    if your doing your circut on a feild i would recomend draging the weight behind you tied to a weight lifting belt.
    it adds resistance but reduces shock to your joints.
    be careful with sharp corners!
    ironicly an old karate belt is ideal for tying the weight on.

    i second mitch
  6. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Cheers guys.
    I guess my idea is to run with the weight up until a specific point and then leave it at home. So that everything after that will seem so much easier (maybe?). :)
    Like carrying someone on your shoulders makes walking around after seem like you have springs in your feet. It's to build up to a very specific point in time rather than an ongoing process.

    My rucksack fits very well actually, plenty of straps (and pockets for dog-poo bags too!). Hardly any bounce at all. Again seeing as this is part of a one off peaking process I'm loathe to fork out for a vest when this is working well enough (albeit not as well as a vest).

    I've thought about intervals like that Mitch but for the time being I'm trying to replicate the structure of actual sparring. So within the three minutes I'm running, effort is varied, with sprints, dodges, punching out etc and then active rest (walking) after.
    I'm also finding that my routine is keeping the dreaded shin splints at bay. I think if I missed out the walking sections (making it just sprints and jogs) I'd be back into shin splint territory pretty quick.
    I'll certainly look into giving your format a go though.
  7. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Anything that avoids shin splints is good. They hurt like buggery and take longer to get over. :D

  8. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Running with a weighted nutsack is t3h H@rDKorz!!!!
  9. tgace

    tgace Valued Member

    Be careful with your's not a workout that should be done as a staple of your routine. Id go with faster and longer "humps" vs. a "jogging with a pack" approach.
  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I've run with a weighted nutsack since I was about 12. :)

    Close thread?
  11. Toki_Nakayama

    Toki_Nakayama Valued Member

    when hanging around on base, you can always tell who is gonna be trying out for special forces

    by them running weeknites and weekends with a weighted rucksack. to hell with that

    runs too much of a risk to wear and tear the knees and shin splints IMO
  12. Kuma

    Kuma Lurking about

    Having done a lot of running with a ruck in my days in the good ole USMC, my knees can say we've had some experience.

    Keep it light, no more than 20% your bodyweight. So about 40 pounds for a 200 pound guy. Don't go more than twice a week IMO, 3+ times and it starts to get rough on the joints. Really though, running with a ruck will only get you better at running with a ruck. I was training for the Force Recon indoc where I had to run 10 miles with a 50 pound pack in under 2 hours when I was training in karate at the same time. All that ruck running did diddly squat for my endurance when sparring.
  13. MrGalt

    MrGalt Valued Member

    What's wrong with lifting when it's time to lift and running when it's time to run?

    You're not going to get stronger doing anything with 6 kg. If you were ATG squatting that bag it would be meaningless. Running with it on is even less useful for strength. If you had a significant amount of weight on your back and did it a lot, what would it do to your posture? What about your lower back? Knees? Repeated impacts with a load on your shoulders isn't a good thing. It's part of military training because it's a necessity, not because it makes soldiers healthier.
  14. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Ah yes...good answers guys. Totally makes sense.
    I just thought it'd be a way of getting more out of my limited training time.
    I'll ditch the rucksack and concentrate on my running.

    All that ruck running did diddly squat for my endurance when sparring.

    I hear ya. If I could spar or do more specific cardio three times a week instead, I would. I'm only really running as I know Kancho can spring it on people and I don't want to get left behind in the mountains of Japan puffing like an old man. :)
  15. seiken steve

    seiken steve golden member

    i had a PE teacher called mr galt in school.
    he was an ex jockey.
  16. liero

    liero Valued Member

    When I work interval running its generally for sparring fitness rather than endurance it looks something like this.

    3 workouts a week

    1) trackwork, on a 400m track. Doing intervals of 400-800 meters for time and reps

    2) interval sprints, e.g. 100m, walk back, repeat for reps.

    3) conditioning, Ross enamaits sequential fatigue challenge:

    10 burpees, sprint 25m (50 if your crazy) 10 plyo pushups
    walk back to base
    15 diamond hand pushups, sprint 25m, 10 jump squats, repeat for reps (5)

    I would do the conditioning circut with weight, but probobly not the track work.

    In your situation I would think maybe you could incorporate runs before your training as a warm up. This is particularly specific for your situation as you said you would have to do technical training at the outdoor dojo following a long run.

    perhaps find a distance that you JUST struggle to get to and back before training, once a week before training do the distance.

    the rest of your running sessions do the training you are already doing, or whatever you decide to do based on the info on the forum. Over time, I'm certain the difficulty of your pre-training track will reduce, and your technique after the run will get better rather than suffering from fatigue. At this stage you increase the distance to run before training.

    In a few months I'm sure you'd see a really dramatic improvement in the distance and fatigue from the "test" training run, and it would probably be the best mental and physical preparation for the grading if you did have to run distance and then perform techniques and sparring to a high standard.
  17. tgace

    tgace Valued Member

    Running with a rucksack helps you with...well running with a rucksack. If you are military or into some sort of extreme hiking/orienteering or other similar outdoor sport it could help your performance in those arenas. Otherwise I'd say that you would be better off with a different form of conditioning.
  18. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    When I ws in the tug 'o warteam, and boxing team at 7sigs we used to do a run carrying a sandbag in each hand or a sandbag in a rope sling in each hand - you got to put it down to do other exercises on the way like press ups or burpees. Gave excellent grip strength but it did hurt - a lot.
  19. Knight_Errant

    Knight_Errant Banned Banned

    If you've never run with a weighted rucksack, you've never lived. The best part, though, is when you take it off at the end of the day. You feel so light! :)
  20. Grizzly

    Grizzly Valued Member

    I was talking to a friend of mine who is a marathon runner. He runs without shoes. It reduces joint pressure, and it improves endurance. Just thought that was interesting.

    A little more on the topic, the weights dragging on a belt works. I read about old martial arts teachers who would take large boulders and tie them to the students through their middle. Then they would make them race, climb, and/or run up steep mountains. Just some interesting stuff.

    If you are not planning on this as a long term thing, and you just want to gain some speed for an event, then a weighted vest is the way to go. I walk around every day with two 1.5lb. ankle weights on. I have been doing it since I was 15. It's not much, but it makes me feel really light when I take them off to sleep, swim, or shower. Amazing what a difference that can make. Anyway, I hope I threw SOME helpful information in there.

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