INT/ADV | Elephants

This workout is for the Intermediate/Advanced group. If you've just started with PATHFINDER but have a solid fitness base, feel free to go for it though.

I'm going to talk about the Elephant first. The run. "I JOINED PF TO NOT RUN." If you have legitimate running issues - bad knees, hips or lower backs, screws in your feet - whatever - ruck the distance instead. If you ruck, speed is important. Your heart rate needs to be up as though you were running. Build +/or keep your cardio endurance.

For you BA's who want to run with your ruck because you saw it on the CrossFit games that one Just no. Our knees, hips and joints need to last us into old age, and running under heavy rucks over time is a sure-fire way to destroy your joints and bring about injuries. Be smart. Shuffling with a ruck is FINE. Running with a ruck is DUMB. Run slick, or ruck heavy. 

What exercises do I need to know?

Ruck Snatches Everything should be familiar except maybe those ruck snatches. Now, you might think you're familiar with what a ruck snatch is... but let's talk about what a ruck snatch ISN'T first. It isn't a limp armed movement with barely a hint of elbow bend. Bad form won't get you strong, and may even get you injured. I might have a "thing" about crappy snatches.

We are looking for a fluid movement that begins with a slight squat as you lift the ruck up off the ground, and into a clean. From that clean, with a good bent elbow, you transfer into a punch up. Snatches are tough movements and are often done incorrectly. Do yourself a favor and watch Julie Foucher of CrossFit show how they're done right (with a dumbell) here:

If you're completely new to snatches, start with a light object. A light dumbbell will give you control while you learn the complete movement. As you progress, move up to an unweighted ruck, and then finally, use your weighted ruck.

Any weight will do. You'll note that many of the demonstration videos use kettlebells instead of rucks. The same movement mechanics apply to a dumbbell or a fully weighted ruck. The only difference is the force required. Coordination comes with determination!

Ruck Sumo Squat

Straddle your ruck with your feet slightly wider apart than hip width. Squat down, holding your ruck vertically with an overhand grip with both hands.

Burpee with Ruck Jump

Lay your ruck down in the middle of your work space. Perform a burpee on one side of your ruck. Jump over the ruck laterally. Perform a burpee on the other side of the ruck.


Do a 3-5 minute series of: jogs, high knees, butt kicks, hip openers like opening and closed gate swings, frog jumps or mountain climbers. Just get your body warm for injury prevention.


  • 400M run (slick, or fast ruck if knees preclude a run)
  • 400M run
  • 400M run


  • @Steve – For the ruck swings, I grab the top handle, set a wide enough stance for the ruck to swing through legs, then swing up to eye level, straight arm (more russian KB swing style). Slim chance to hit face. I think it’d be very difficult to do American KB swing style and bring the ruck overhead.

  • don’t waste money buying different gear. just run what you have and make it work. save the money for important things like beer.

  • How do you do this with a ruck without hitting yourself in the face? I’ve done 1,000s with a kettlebell, and would try it 2 handed with a sandbag, but flipping the rucksack seems a little…
    I’ve done swings, but even they seem clumsy, e.g. not hitting a leg, compared to a kettlebell.

    Also, I have been using an old 26l GR1 I purchased on eBay, with the sternum strap and hip belt. I’m tight for cash, but I can afford decent equipment if it’s worth it. Would I be better off selling my GR1 and getting a 26l Rucker 3.0, or should I just send the GR1 to goruck and have handles sewn on the sides and bottom?


    Steve Gabriel

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