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Old 06-17-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
Joe Salmond
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Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

I would like to preface this by stating that I have concerns about the safety of such a program and would advise that anyone wait until those more knowledgable than myself have their input in before trying anything like this as I would hate to see anyone hurt themselves trying a stupid idea...

I have been pondering the possibility of using ruckmarch interval training as a method for improving ruckmarching ability. Obviously the WOD builds strength in the legs, back, etc that are vital to be successful at ruckmarching as well as helping improve that mental toughness that is so neccessary on a long, hard march. Even though the WOD will lead to significant improvement in ruckmarching, everything I have read on here (and elsewhere) claims that you need to get out there and go on long ruckmarches and just suck it up and you'll get better.

I'm not looking for a shortcut to success - I know there are no free lunches - but I have been looking at the additional WODs over at Crossfit Endurance and have been really impressed and excited about the ideas they are using for running, cycling, swimming, etc and have been wondering about the plausibility of applying this to ruckmarching. After reading the article "The New World Order for Endurance Training" that they have posted at http://www.crosffitnb.com/Endurance.htm (w/f safe) I have come to the understanding that they are stating that the body ie. legs, etc is usually the limiting factor in distance events as opposed to aerobic endurance. They seem to be using shorter interval training to prepare for events in excess of 100 miles.
Here is a direct quote from the above link...

"Having athletes doing ... any highly oxidative training for long periods of time, makes zero sense if the athlete has already developed their ability to use oxygen effectively. The solution is to strength train and make them work at faster than normal speeds (i.e., speed training and intervals), while retaining the ability to recover".


Rucking seems the same to me. It is rarely that I'm gasping for breath at the end, more that my whole legs are giving way and my back is exhausted, and just a full body exhaustion. Could we not apply those same principles that they are using at Crossfit Endurance then to ruckmarch training?

There would be many benefits to this along with what I hope would be all around more effective training. Training for ruckmarches is a very time consuming process with several hours needed for a long march. If you are training for an event such as SFAS when you need to be out there marching at least twice a week this becomes very difficult to fit in. Interval training would hopefully cut down on the time with better results. Also, the work at Crossfit Endurance is allowing athletes to get in quality work comparable or better to long work, but recover quickly enough to go onto personal bests on WODs the very next day. Ruckmarches are exhausting. Hopefully quality intervals would allow the soldier to keep up on all his other exercises without compromising and leave him more productive.

Now as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I have concerns about the effectiveness and safety of such a program, but I'd hate to see it not followed up just because the traditional mindset is that hard, long ruckmarches is the only way to get better.

If it is concluded that it won't be harmful to train in such a way, then I'd love to see some ideas on workouts that may be effective. My thinking has been to implement ruckmarch interval training twice a week. Before beginning, I will test my current abilities with the standard 12-miler. From that point on I plan to test improvements by conducting the exact same march on a monthly basis (taking into account weather changes and their effects) and seeing what happens.No running is allowed on the 12-miler, it has to show pure ruckmarching ability. If anyone else would like to get in on this experiment that would be great.

Now for the hard part, organizing actual workouts. I have some ideas for training involving intervals at high speeds, with heavier weights, and using hills and varied terrains. I would love to have input from more knowledgable and/or experienced people than myself. If we can come up with a good plan and it actually works when implemented than this could be of huge help to a lot of soldiers.

If this is a bad idea, please comment and let us know why - worst case scenario I just got a lot of exercise for my fingers writing a huge, pointless exercise. If you have any ideas please contribute.

If we decide this may be beneficial and you'd like to be part of the experiment, please PM and we can get something set up with everyone.

Thanks,

Joe S.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:03 PM   #2
Joe Salmond
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

I realized that I mis-spelt the link I had posted.
It should be http://www.crossfitnb.com/Endurance.htm
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:12 PM   #3
Robert Peck Fletcher
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

Joe, this may work. There are numerous resources on the web that address rucking. My advice would be stronger legs and lower back, tough feet and practice rucking. Of course vary your distance, speed and weight. There really is no substitute for rucking. The best ruckers I know are in great shape. Good Luck, Peck
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:46 AM   #4
Casey Raiford
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

Old rucking thread from 2004, FYI:

http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=4617&page=1

(WFS)
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Old 06-18-2008, 06:39 AM   #5
Dave Parmly
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

Since backpacking is my hobby, and our Scouts are High Adventure types who go for tough stretches of the AT, or high altitude 11-day treks in NM, I have incorporated ruck training as part of my fitness even before CF.

That schedule above, in the linked post, is excellent, IMHO. I routinely train at the 35# level for my weighted ruck. Most actual trail treks my pack is a bit lighter and sometimes it's a lot heavier (depending on days between food drops, weather, etc).

Weighted distance work (more than 5 miles) is the one thing I do NOT do, merely because I really don't think I need that distance to train for the hikes I do. At age 48, a man has to know his limitations. Civilian backpacking is vastly different than military road marching or long distance dismounted movement cross country, so I'll let the extant BT-DTs address that.

Mt pre-trek training combines weighted fast walks at a local track with sets of stadium steps at intervals. (Walk 1 mile @ 5 mph pace, do 3 flights of stadiums, then do 4 sets of 1/4 mile/3 flights, then end with a full mile at 5 mph pace. 3 miles total walked hard with 4 full sets of stairs.) I also do 2 mile loops on the steep hill going up to our corporate hq. I learned many years ago that weighted miles on a stair climber are OK, but that fails to condition the legs for the downhill, which is harder on the body than the uphills.

For my CF routines, I use the same 35# ruck and do flights of stairs in the corporate office where I work. I often sub stairs like this for the 400m or 800 m runs in routines.

my .02. Your actual results may vary.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:48 AM   #6
Peter Evans
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

Hey Joe -

I'm ex airborne in the UK - I had similar questions when I trained for the selection a while back.

It depends on the type of march or TAB (UK phrase) in terms of distance and speed.

My experience - walking hill reps with 25-35lbs with easy walk down recovery was oustanding for the Para 10 miler (45lbs + rifle 1hr 45 -50 min) That regime alone put me at the front of the squad because the legs could handle lots of lactic and keep going.

That said if you're going for SF selection, where its heavier weight over longer distance in mountainous terrain navigation is number 1 and the fitness is completely different.

Tabbing or Marching is art in itself and alot of the guys who were awesome in my unit at marching weren't in great shape by crossfit standards. In fact many times I was suprised how they managed to move so quickly with a beer gut :-)
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:48 PM   #7
Dave Campbell
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

Looks like a decent plan. Nothing gets you ready for rucking like rucking. It sucks regardless of what shape you are in. You need a strong lower back, comfortable boots, and a very strong mind. I would carry something in your hands too. Carrying the rifle is part of the hassle. If you get to used to swinging your arms in training (without a rifle), you'll be screwed when it's time to really ruck.

I was in a anti-tank platoon. I carried a 37.5 lb. 90 mm recoiless rifle. That really sucked.
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:33 AM   #8
Dave Parmly
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

Dave, you are SO right and I have seen many a civilian backpacker get completely lost when I tell them that there is NO comparison between "backpacking" and "rucking" other than you are both walking with a load on your back. NONE!

Funny story. A guy in my Ranger class was from 2d Batt and he kept requesting a 90mm, in all his patrol orders and in his discussions with the RIs. The RIs kept telling him they didn't have a 90 but he kept asking. Finally just before spinning up for the 5-Day in the Mountains, the RI comes into the planning bay with a 3-foot long piece of steel pipe, tosses it to the guy and says, "Here's your 90. Problem,: it broke when you hit the DZ and you have to carry it to until you get to the armorer!" He had to hump it for 5 days in the TVD!

He didn't ever ask about a 90 after that!
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:25 AM   #9
Casey Raiford
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

It also helps to have a little weight up forward as a counterbalance. Another benefit (for me anyway) is the added challenge of traversing uneven terrrain under a load without your hands free. I find it forces better balance and midline stabilization. I never saw it like that at the time, it just seemed utterly ridiculous to hump without a weapon.

One of the better ideas I ran across was this one ruck I have that has a small patrol pack that clips on in front. About 12" on a side, say three or four inches deep. Great counterweight. It had it's own straps too, so you could ditch the main ruck and move out with the smaller one. Great for food, blowout kit, MRE stuff and other essentials.
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:05 AM   #10
Dave Campbell
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Re: Intervals For Ruckmarch Training

I remember getting ready to go on my first ruck march in RIP (Ranger Indoctrination Program - it's about 3 weeks of training prior to being assigned to the batallion). I have no idea what the ruck weighed - maybe 70 lbs? Hell, I only weighed 145. I had to get it on my back by mimicking the weightlifters I'd seen in the Olympics; I literally cleaned it, jerked it over my head, then let it drop on my back.

I'll also never forget the mountain phase of Ranger School (class 2-84). We were humping through the mountains late at night and took a break. Another guy dropped his rucksack while he was facing uphill. That rucksack tumbled about 150 yards down the hill. By the time the guy went down, picked it up, and made it back to the platoon; it was time to move out.

I laugh about these things now, but it was hell at the time.
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