Rucking with a Weight Vest Benefits Explained

Image of man running in forest with a weighted vest.

 The Advantages of Variable Weights in Weight Vests Over Large Increment Plates in Plate Carriers and Ruck Packs for Rucking

Rucking, the act of walking with a plate carrier, weighted backpack, or weight vest, has gained popularity for its effectiveness in building strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health. Choosing the right weight source and design is crucial for optimizing your rucking experience. In this post, we will explore why using a weight vest with small increment variable weights is superior to using large increment plates in plate carriers or backpacks.

Customization and Progression

Variable Weights:
One of the primary advantages of weight vests with variable weights is the ability to customize the load to your specific needs. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rucker, variable weights offer unparalleled flexibility. You can start with lighter weights and gradually increase the load as your strength and endurance improve.

Large Increment Plates:
Plate carriers often use large increment plates, ranging from 10 to 45 pounds. This setup lacks the nuanced progression that variable weights provide. Increasing the weight in large increments can be daunting and may lead to overexertion or injury, especially for those new to rucking.

Even Weight Distribution

Smaller Variable Weights:
Weight vests with smaller weights can be evenly loaded front and back, reducing the risk of strain on any one part of the body and promoting better posture and alignment during the ruck. This balanced load is particularly beneficial for longer rucks, where uneven weight can lead to discomfort and potential injury. Starting light allows the shoulders to adapt gradually over time.

Large Increment Plates:
Ruck packs tend to concentrate weight on the back of the torso, creating an imbalance. This uneven distribution can cause strain, making the rucking experience less comfortable. While plate carriers can be evenly distributed back and front, they often lack the flexibility and comfort of weight vests with variable weights.

Enhanced Comfort and Fit

Variable Weights:
Weight vests designed for rucking with adjustable weights often come with more ergonomic designs. Long vests concentrate the load lower on the torso for a lower center of gravity feel, while short weight vests locate the weight higher on the torso for more core muscle recruitment.

Large Increment Plates:
While plate carriers are sturdy and functional, they are not always designed with comfort in mind. The rigid structure needed to hold large plates can limit mobility and flexibility. The bulkiness of larger weight plates can also cause chafing and discomfort, detracting from the overall rucking experience.

Versatility in Training

Variable Weights:
A weight vest with adjustable weights is not only ideal for rucking but also versatile enough for various other workouts. From bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups to more dynamic movements such as burpees and mountain climbers, a weight vest can enhance your entire fitness routine. This versatility makes it a valuable addition to any training regimen. Smaller increment weights allow the weight vest to bend and fit the personal contour of the body, back, and front.

Large Increment Plates:
While plate carriers are beneficial for many types of training, their use can be somewhat limited to certain activities where bulky plates can be at odds with your routine. This limitation reduces their overall versatility compared to weight vests with adjustable weights.

Here are some celebrities and professional athletes known to use or have used rucking as a form of exercise:

1. Matthew McConaughey – The actor has been spotted rucking in various locations and has mentioned it as part of his fitness routine.
2. John Krasinski – Known for his role in “The Office” and as an action star in “Jack Ryan,” Krasinski has incorporated rucking into his workouts.
3. Chris Hemsworth – The “Thor” actor includes rucking as part of his varied fitness regimen.
4. David Goggins – The former Navy SEAL, ultramarathon runner, and motivational speaker is a strong advocate for rucking and often shares his rucking experiences on social media.
5. Joe Rogan – The comedian, podcaster, and UFC commentator has talked about rucking on his podcast and incorporates it into his fitness routine.
6. Tim Kennedy – The former UFC fighter and Army Ranger often includes rucking in his training.
7. Jason Momoa – Known for his roles in “Aquaman” and “Game of Thrones,” Momoa has been seen rucking as part of his outdoor workouts.
8. Mark Wahlberg – The actor and fitness enthusiast has been known to incorporate rucking into his extensive workout routine.
9. Jessica Biel – The actress and fitness enthusiast has been seen rucking, often with her husband, Justin Timberlake.
10. Zac Efron – The actor, known for his fit physique, has mentioned rucking as part of his varied workout regimen.


For those serious about rucking and seeking a versatile, comfortable, and customizable workout experience, a weight vest with variable weights is the superior choice. The ability to gradually increase weight, distribute it evenly, and enjoy enhanced comfort makes these vests an invaluable tool in your fitness arsenal. Embrace the flexibility and benefits of variable weights, and take your rucking to the next level with confidence and ease.

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