RUCK+ | Core & Sandbag Ladder Sprints

If I were nice, I would apologize at the beginning of this workout.

But, you know.

I'm not.

Hate me now, love me later.

Set your field up first. It can be a driveway, a backyard, or an actual field. You'll need to set up 15 paces to the first cone (or marker you've got around), 15 paces to the second cone from the first, and then 15 paces to the third cone.

You may need a mat (and some gloves) if you'll be on wet or treated grass bc that stuff itches. You'll also need your sandbag. PATHFINDER recommends that for this workout, people under 150lbs use sandbags between 20-40lbs, and over 150lbs, use 30-60+ (+ is only for those who have been training with a heavier bag consistently). If you do not have a sandbag, use your ruck. You can choose whether or not to wear your ruck during this workout, but as always, your core stability should be the deciding factor.

A ladder sprint is also known as a suicide. You'll perform the core exercises at your mat, and then you will run your sandbags or bodyweight (depending on the workout segment) back and forth for all three portions of the ladder.
This workout looks like more than it is -- two sets of 10 exercises.


BUTTERFLY SIT-UPS MOD: Butterfly Crunches, Ab Mat OK Sitting in butterfly position (hips open, knees bent, feet together) send your body down to the ground. Roll up so your lower back maintains contact with the floor until you're at the top of the movement. You can use your arms to help drive your body back up. If you've never done these before, don't try and finesse them like you may have seen them done. Start slow to build the appropriate muscles first. These require deep ab engagement to be done safely and properly, not momentum. 

DIAMOND PUSH-UPS MOD: Knees OK These are a slightly advanced version of standard push-ups. Begin in high plank position, bringing your thumbs and forefingers together, elbows close in to your ribs. You may find you need to widen your stance slightly to support yourself with a more narrow arm position. Make sure your elbows graze your sides as you push-up.

HOLLOW BODY HOLD Begin by sitting on the floor, your knees bent and your feet flat. Slowly begin to lower down as your straighten your legs out, hovering your feet 4-6" off the ground. Raise your arms up overhead. Hold for the full :40. If you need to come out of it, give yourself a 3-count and then get back in.

SANDBAG LATERAL SHUFFLE Holding your sandbag in zercher carry (laid across your forearms, biceps curling in towards your chest), laterally shuffle to and from your markers. Switch sides about half-way through. You will want to sit slightly into the shuffle, and think all glutes and hamstrings.

4-COUNT FLUTTER KICKS Begin by laying on your back, thumbs and forefingers together in a diamond shape underneath your low-back (think tail bone or just above) if needed for low-back support. (You can also have your arms next to your sides.) Lift your head and shoulder blades off the ground, and lift your feet 6"-9" off the ground. Flutter your feet like a swimmer. Count in 4-count rhythm (1,2,3,1, 1,2,3,2, etc.).

REVERSE CRUNCH Begin by laying on the ground. I prefer to make a diamond under my low back with my hands, but if you have zero back pain, you may bring your arms out into a T, palm to the ground. Bend your knees, bringing them up to parallel with your hips. Using your lower abdominals, crunch your lower body up, trying to lift your hips off the floor. Return and rep again.

ALTERNATING T-PLANK MOD: "Tripod" your side plank with a knee to the ground. Begin in plank. Lift your hand off the ground, roll your foot to rest on the opposite foot and side plank. Roll back to plank. Roll to the opposite side plank. You can have one of the following foot positions: the modification mentioned above; the top foot behind the bottom foot (toe to heel), or the top foot resting on top of the bottom foot. They are all stability variations, so pick the one that works best for you.

OVERHEAD WALKING LUNGES Obviously, if your sandbag is too heavy for this move, or you have bad shoulders, don't use a sandbag. Holding your ruck/sb overhead, take a trip with walking lunges. Keep knee over ankle, strong core and fully engaged shoulders (drop them down into their "pockets" for maximum shoulder stability).

ZERCHER SHUFFLE A zercher hold is a cradle hold, the sandbag held tight to your chest by your curled biceps. You will want to shuffle-run back and forth from your marker points. 

BEAR CRAWL SANDBAG DRAG This can be done with or without a ruck on. No events? No ruck. Actively training? Try it. If you are still working on solid core strength and can do this movement WITHOUT dropping or twisting your hips, you can wear a ruck. Otherwise, not yet grasshopper. Use your ruck waist strap cinched tightly to protect the back of your head if your choose to wear your ruck. Begin by standing, feet slightly wider than hip width apart, with your sandbag on the ground between your feet. Crouch into bear crawl position, and reach one arm down to the sandbag between your feet and pull the sandbag (or forcefully bring it) up to in between your hands. Bear crawl forward, reach with the other hand, and repeat the movement. 


  • 20 x Butterfly Sit-Ups
  • 15 x Diamond Push-Ups
  • 10 x Sandbag (or Ruck) Russian Twists
  • :40 Hollow Body Hold

LADDER: Sandbag Lateral Shuffle (swap legs for second cone and then switch halfway on the third cone)

LADDER: Sandbag Overhead Walking Lunges

  • 20 x Butterfly Sit-Ups
  • 15 x Diamond Push-Ups
  • 10 x Sandbag (or Ruck) Russian Twists
  • :40 Hollow Body Hold

LADDER: Zercher-Hold Sandbag Shuffle

LADDER: Bear Crawl Sandbag Drag


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