Ruck Deep Dive Study shows improvement in male and female ruck times

Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2015

Audrey Jensen
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On Sept. 4, the Mountain Technical Institute conducted a Ruck Deep Dive Study pretest on 46 UCCS ROTC cadets; 36 males and 10 females.

After six weeks of training, a post test was conducted on the cadets on Nov. 5 and the results were sent to the MTI that week.

Rucking is traveling from point A to point B with a pack, in this case a 63-pound backpack for 10km for the study.

According to the research coordinator at the MTI, Adam Scott, the goal of the pretest was to find out what factors correlate to better ruck times and the post test was to see how training affected ruck performance.

For females, the best way to improve ruck performance is to improve lower body strength.

“Size and weight will predict performance, if (women) want to get better, they will want to get stronger in their lower body,” Scott said.

Scott explained that it was a different result for men.

“With females we had a smaller number, with males we could look at guys who were already good at rucking, there were differences there.”

The male group studied was divided into five subcategories of high and low performers: height, endurance, upper body strength, lower body strength and overall strength.

“Depending on what physical ability the person already has, the way to get better at rucking, if they’re already strong in their upper body, was to build muscular endurance and lower body strength,” Scott explained.

Overall, Scott said both males and females improved their ruck times by eight percent. The average time went from 90 minutes to 81 minutes.

Part of the pretest included front squats, bench press and body weight pull-ups.

“The other big improvement we saw were in pull up performance, that had a significant effect on female rucking,” Scott said.

He added that the females improved their pull up performance by 35 percent. Males improved by 20 percent in their push up and upper body muscular endurance performance.

Scott said one of the biggest takeaways from this study was how difficult it is to have one recommendation for everyone.

“There’s a point where you’re strong enough that increasing your strength at that point will not get you better at ruck, now you have to build other things that go into endurance.”

With these results, the MTI hopes to identify high or low ruck performers in their specific categories and provide them with specific training programs.

For more information regarding the ruck, students can visit