MTNTOUGH Pack-Based Exercises for At-Home: Rucking Workout

Most fitness routines fall short when dealing with toughness, focusing only on brute strength training, while neglecting the unique demands of the challenges outside the gym. Any seasoned hunter, military member, or first responder will be the first to tell you that.

That's because few programs understand that true grit is just as physical as it is mental. As for the typical at-home workouts, few of them cut it too. For those who depend on fitness to power their minds and bodies through the worst conditions imaginable, workouts of this flavor simply leave them unprepared for the rigors that matter.

At MTNTOUGH, we've been designing purposeful training since day one. That's because developing functional strength and mental resilience shouldn't be a luxury, but a necessity.

It can mean the difference between a successful mission or hunt and an arduous experience laden with preventable struggles. This is where MTNTOUGH shines, and we're eager to show you a sample of how with one of our at-home pack-based workouts.

In this guide, we'll share our intense, yet rewarding rucking workout called 'The Devil's 55'. Just because this workout is free doesn't mean we're going to skimp on the details.

We'll walk you through the entire routine, ensuring you understand each step and the role it plays in a broader fitness journey. For this workout, we're joined by MTNTOUGH's COO, Ara Megerdichian.

So grab your pack and prepare to redefine your limits with a workout that embodies the heart of MTNTOUGH. You'll not only get stronger physically but mentally, too.

Training at Home: Breaking the Equipment Myth

If you think a real workout within the confines of your home is only possible with expensive equipment, then you need to keep reading.

"Sometimes people get caught in the myth of thinking they need a bunch of equipment to get a great workout. My life experience has certainly taught me that this is false." That's according to Coach Ara, the same man who trained Army Rangers and served as a physical education instructor with the United States Military Academy.

Coach Ara goes on to say, "When I worked in Uganda for a year I had absolutely zero gym access. All we had was a concrete 10 x10 room. I was shocked that with limited equipment my fitness didn't slide it actually increased with minimalist workouts."

Not only is working out from home possible without opening your wallet for elaborate equipment, but it's perhaps more importantly a method that double dips in advantages; at least that's how Coach Ara sees it: "I have learned a lot since then but I still find great value in training by myself at home. It is a great time to clear my head from the busyness of life. It is also a great time to build mental toughness as no one is there to push you, you have to learn to push yourself."

This workout is one that Coach Ara would proudly put in front of anyone looking to push themselves in their training. That said, if you're wondering what you're about to get into, or if you're current condition can handle it, it's time to answer one of the more common questions in our inbox.

Is MTNTOUGH Suitable for Beginners?

MTNTOUGH is suitable for beginners, including the pack-based workout 'The Devil's 55'. The program's modification options offer a personalized approach, enabling each individual to challenge themselves based on their unique fitness threshold.

In short, anyone can make it through a MTNTOUGH workout and still benefit. That includes 'The Devil's 55'. For those brave enough to push themselves, it's time to unwrap what's behind this workout.

Understanding Rucking: 'The Devil's 55'

Rucking is a simple, yet effective exercise where you walk or run while carrying a weighted pack. Rooted in military training, it offers an intense full-body workout that simultaneously builds both physical strength and mental fortitude. Rucking's simplicity belies its power as an endurance test, pushing your limits both mentally and physically.

'The Devil's 55' comes from the MTNTOUGH 45-70, as Coach Ara puts it, "My all time favorite workout at home is from the MTNTOUGH 45-70 Program. It is called 'The Devil's 55' and all you need is your heavy pack."

Why does he love it so much, well, he says, "If you are training at home or need a jump start and have an hour to boost your fitness across the board I challenge you to grab your pack and give this workout a rip."

Structure of 'The Devil's 55'

The name may sound intimidating, and for good reason - it's an ambitious undertaking, but the sense of accomplishment upon completion is second to none. It's a grueling but highly rewarding ruck-based routine designed to forge physical toughness and mental resilience.

The structure of Devil's 55 is quite straightforward, but don't let that fool you. It comprises timed exercises with set rep goals. The catch here is the cumulative fatigue that piles up with each completed circuit. The objective is to crush the workout, not let it crush you. It's a savage test of endurance, power, and grit, pushing you beyond the bounds of your comfort zone. Here's how:

  • Comprising 10 distinct exercises, 'The Devil's 55' pushes you to increase the duration of your exertion with each passing exercise.

  • The exercises are designed to target different muscle groups, ensuring a balanced, whole-body workout.

  • With a 90-second recovery window between each, it's a tough balancing act of power, stamina, and resilience.

But here's the million-dollar question: Can the Devil's 55 be integrated into your existing workout routine? Absolutely. This workout is adaptable. It can serve as an intense standalone session or be folded seamlessly into your regular regimen, upping the ante of your fitness journey.

Remember, the MTNTOUGH ethos is all about embracing the tough and driving your fitness beyond the expected. Your training isn't defined by your surroundings but by your will to improve, to push, and to conquer.

Exercises of 'The Devil's 55'

The exercises themselves are varied, incorporating movements such as:

  1. Pack Squats: You start off with pack squats for one full minute, followed by a 90-second rest period (this occurs after each exercise).

  2. Pack Deadlifts: The tempo then elevates with two minutes of pack deadlifts.

  3. Lunge Jumps (No Weighted Backpack): Next, you'll enter the realm of lunge jumps for three minutes.

  4. Monkey Planks: Your fourth exercise is the monkey plank, performed for four minutes.

  5. Renegade Rows: Next, it's time for five minutes of renegade rows.

  6. Pack Burpee Push-Ups, Clean, and Press: The halfway mark is celebrated with six minutes of burpee push-ups, clean, and press.

  7. Squat Jumps and Side Shuffles: On to seven minutes of 5x squat jumps with 10 feet of side shuffle.

  8. Step-Ups: Step-ups are the penultimate movement. Eight minutes of this exercise will have your legs burning, but the end is near.

  9. Sit-Ups: The last of the bodyweight exercises is nine minutes of sit-ups, a fantastic core workout.

  10. Running: The workout culminates with a 10-minute run - a fitting end to a grueling regimen.

Each exercise presents its unique challenge, testing your strength, agility, and endurance in different ways.

Key to the Devil's 55 is the goal of counting your total reps completed. This isn't just about clocking your time; it's about measuring your performance, assessing your strength, and tracking your progress.

The Devil's 55 Workout: Step-by-Step Guide

The workout's intensity is gauged not just by its duration but also by the sheer number of reps you can manage within that timeframe.

This workout calls for around 55 minutes of work, not including rest. Go for maximum reps in each set and be sure to keep track of your overall reps, for example: 1000 reps at the end of the workout.

The run at the end is the final stretch, but it’s not just a mere cooldown. Instead, for every mile you cover, you add 100 reps to your overall count. It's a sprint to the finish line that takes into account your endurance and mental toughness.

Ultimately, the Devil's 55 is a test of your mental grit just as much as your physical stamina, delivering a comprehensive workout designed to improve both.

In each movement below, if the exercise calls for your pack, you'll find each pack weight carried based on your fitness level. Follow this as closely as possible, but don't be afraid to modify it based on where you're at or where you're trying to go.

Also, each right side and left side exercises (e.g. step-ups) count as 2 reps each. Ready to get started? Here's how to perform each movement in case you need a play-by-play to accompany the video guide above.

1. Pack Squats - Max reps in 1min

You'll begin with your pack weighted to your fitness level. The weight you use in this first exercise will be used for the second exercise, unless you decide to modify it. Here's how you should weigh your pack for squats:

  • Beginner: 60lbs

  • Intermediate: 80lbs

  • Elite: 105lbs

Don't be afraid to adjust the weight in your pack based on your fitness level and comfort. It's more important to maintain proper posture and form than to see how much extra weight you can stuff into the pack. This is key to realizing the benefits of rucking; resistance training that helps you burn calories and build muscle.

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly turned out.

  2. Hold a weighted backpack, also known as a pack, securely on your upper back and shoulders. Make sure the pack is stable and properly adjusted.

  3. Engage your core and maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise.

  4. Lower your body by bending at the hips and knees, as if you are sitting back into a chair. Keep your chest lifted and your knees aligned with your toes.

  5. Continue descending until your thighs are parallel to the ground or slightly below. Aim for a 90-degree angle at your knees.

  6. Pause briefly at the bottom of the squat and then push through your heels to return to the starting position.

  7. Repeat the squat for the prescribed duration or number of repetitions.

Calculating Your Pack Squats Reps: Max reps where each rep counts as one completed rep for point totals.

Rest - 90sec

2. Pack Deadlifts - Max reps in 2min

Keep your pack with you for the second exercise, you should use the same weight from the first exercise here.

  • Beginner: 60lbs

  • Intermediate: 80lbs

  • Elite: 105lbs

You're goal is to max out reps for 2 minutes. It's important to maintain proper form throughout the exercise to avoid injury afterwards. Start with a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain good technique.

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward.

  2. Place a weighted backpack, also known as a pack, on the ground in front of you.

  3. Bend at your hips and knees, maintaining a neutral spine and a slight bend in your knees. Keep your chest lifted and your core engaged.

  4. Reach down and grip the backpack handles or straps with an overhand grip. Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart.

  5. Take a deep breath and brace your core.

  6. With your back straight and using your legs and hips, drive through your heels and stand up, lifting the pack off the ground. Focus on pushing your hips forward and keeping your back flat throughout the movement.

  7. Once you are standing upright, squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement to fully engage your posterior chain.

  8. Lower the pack back down to the ground by reversing the movement, bending at your hips and knees while maintaining control.

  9. Repeat the deadlift for the prescribed duration or number of repetitions.

Calculating Your Pack Deadlifts Reps: One to one rep count here - each completed rep counts for one point on your rep total.

Rest - 90sec

3. Lunge Jumps (No Weight) - Max reps in 3min

Be sure to take off your pack for this exercise!

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.

  2. Take a step forward with your right foot, lowering your body into a lunge position. Both knees should be bent at approximately 90-degree angles, with your right knee directly above your right ankle.

  3. From the lunge position, explosively jump off the ground, switching the position of your legs mid-air.

  4. Land softly with your left foot forward and your right foot back, immediately lowering your body into a lunge position.

  5. Continue to alternate between lunge jumps, jumping explosively and switching legs with each jump.

  6. Throughout the exercise, maintain an upright posture, engage your core, and ensure proper landing mechanics to protect your joints.

  7. Repeat the lunge jumps for the prescribed duration or number of repetitions.

Perform the exercise on a suitable surface that provides enough cushioning to absorb the impact of the jumps.

Calculating Your Lunge Jump Reps: Each side is one rep, where your right side and left side total two reps.

Rest - 90sec

4. Monkey Planks - Max reps in 4min

  1. Start by getting into a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your toes on the ground.

  2. Walk your hands and feet out to the sides, creating a wide base with your hands and feet. Your body should form a straight line from head to toe.

  3. Keep your core engaged, squeeze your glutes, and maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise.

  4. Hold the monkey plank position for the prescribed duration or as long as you can maintain proper form.

  5. To return to the starting position, walk your hands and feet back toward the center, bringing your body back to a high plank position.

  6. Repeat the monkey planks for the recommended number of repetitions or time duration.

Maintain proper form and alignment during the exercise. Avoid sagging or raising your hips too high. Focus on engaging your core muscles to stabilize your body.

Calculating Your Monkey Planks Reps: Your right side and left side each count as a rep - every time you cycle through, count that as two reps.

Rest - 90sec

5. Renegade Rows (No Weight) - Max reps in 5min

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your toes on the ground.

  2. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart to provide a stable base.

  3. Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line from head to toe.

  4. Shift your weight to one hand and lift the other hand off the ground, pulling your elbow up and back toward your ribs.

  5. Keep your elbow close to your body and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you perform the rowing motion.

  6. Lower your hand back to the ground and repeat the rowing movement on the other side, lifting the opposite hand.

  7. Continue alternating sides, performing the rows in a controlled manner.

  8. Maintain stability and avoid rotating or twisting your hips as you row.

  9. Perform the Renegade Rows for the recommended number of repetitions or time duration.

Focus on keeping your core engaged and avoiding any excessive movement in your hips or lower back.

If you're new to this exercise, it's advisable to start with lighter weights or no weights at all until you feel comfortable and confident with your form.

Calculating Your Renegade Rows Reps: Another exercise for side reps. Each side counts as a rep. Cycling through the right and left side will total 2 reps each occurrence.

Rest - 90sec

6. Pack Burpee Push-Up, Clean + Press - Max reps in 6min

Grab your pack, and determine how much weight you should use based on the following levels:

  • Beginner: 20lbs

  • Intermediate: 30lbs

  • Elite: 40lbs

Adjust the weight of the pack based on your fitness level and gradually increase the weight as you become stronger and more comfortable with the exercise.

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and a weighted pack on your back.

  2. Lower yourself into a squat position by bending your knees and hips, keeping your back straight and chest up.

  3. Place your hands on the ground in front of you, shoulder-width apart.

  4. Kick your feet back into a push-up position while maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels.

  5. Perform a push-up by lowering your chest to the ground and then pushing yourself back up.

  6. From the push-up position, jump your feet forward toward your hands, returning to a squat position.

  7. Explosively jump up into the air, extending your hips and knees.

  8. While in the air, bring the weighted pack from your back to your chest level, catching it with your hands.

  9. As you land, absorb the impact by bending your knees and hips, transitioning smoothly into a squat position.

  10. From the squat position, press the weighted pack overhead, fully extending your arms.

  11. Lower the weighted pack back to your chest level and repeat the entire sequence for the prescribed number of repetitions or time duration.

Keep your core engaged, maintain good squat mechanics, and use your legs, hips, and upper body to generate power for the clean and press movement.

Calculating Pack Burpee Push-Up, Clean + Press Reps: This one is straightforward - one rep equals one rep. You're going for max reps here.

Rest - 90sec

7. 5 Squat Jumps + 10ft Side Shuffle - Max Squat Jumps reps in 7min

Perform 5 squat jumps, side shuffle 10 feet to the right, then perform 5 more squat jumps and side shuffle back to the left. Repeat this for 7 minutes. Count the total number of squat jump reps for this exercise.

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  2. Lower yourself into a squat position by bending your knees and hips, keeping your back straight and chest up.

  3. Explosively jump up into the air, extending your hips and knees fully.

  4. As you land, immediately transition into a side shuffle by taking quick lateral steps to the right, covering a distance of approximately 10 feet.

  5. Once you reach the end of the shuffle, quickly change direction and shuffle back to the left, returning to your starting position.

  6. Repeat the side shuffle for the prescribed number of repetitions (in this case, 10ft) or time duration.

  7. After completing the side shuffle, perform another set of 5 squat jumps, following the same technique described in step 2-3.

  8. Repeat the sequence of 5 squat jumps and a 10ft side shuffle for the desired number of sets or as instructed in the workout.

Engage your core, land softly with a slight bend in your knees during the squat jumps, and maintain a low athletic stance during the side shuffle. Adjust the intensity and pace based on your fitness level and gradually increase the difficulty as you become more comfortable with the exercise.

Calculating Your Squat Jumps and 10ft Side Shuffle Reps: Only count your squat jump reps here. This should be done in a series of 5 each time.

Rest - 90sec

8. Step-Ups (No Weight) - Max reps in 8min

  1. Stand facing a sturdy box, bench, or step platform.

  2. Place one foot entirely on the box, ensuring that your foot is flat and centered.

  3. Engage your core and maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise.

  4. Push through the heel of the foot on the box and lift your body up onto the box, straightening your leg.

  5. As you lift your body onto the box, drive your opposite knee upward, bringing your thigh parallel to the ground.

  6. Slowly lower your raised leg back down to the starting position, keeping control of your movements.

  7. Repeat the exercise with the same leg for the desired number of repetitions or time duration.

  8. Switch to the opposite leg and perform step-ups using the same technique.

You can adjust the intensity of the step-ups by adjusting the height of the box or platform. You can also make the exercise more challenging by holding dumbbells or other weights in your hands while performing the step-ups.

Avoid using momentum to lift yourself onto the box, and focus on using your leg muscles to drive the movement. Keep your core engaged and avoid leaning forward or excessively arching your back. Start with a comfortable box height and gradually increase the difficulty as you become more proficient.

If you're looking for the ultimate test here, try replacing step-ups with deficit reverse lunges.

Calculating Your Step-Ups Reps: Each side is equal to 1 rep, so right side and left side step-ups is equal to two reps.

Rest - 90sec

9. Sit-Ups - Max reps in 9min

This one is simple, but no less challenging - perform as many sit-ups as possible within the given time.

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a mat or a comfortable surface with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.

  2. Place your hands behind your head, interlocking your fingers, or cross your arms over your chest. This will help support your neck and prevent strain.

  3. Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button towards your spine.

  4. Slowly lift your upper body off the ground, curling your torso toward your knees.

  5. Keep your lower back in contact with the ground and avoid pulling on your neck with your hands.

  6. Continue the movement until your shoulder blades are off the ground.

  7. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, feeling the contraction in your abdominal muscles.

  8. Slowly lower your upper body back down to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the descent.

  9. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions or time duration.

Avoid pulling on your neck with your hands, as thiscan strain your neck muscles. Instead, focus on using your abdominal muscles to initiate and control the movement.

If you find it difficult to perform full sit-ups, you can modify the exercise by doing partial sit-ups or crunches, where you lift your upper body halfway instead of coming all the way up.

Remember to breathe throughout the exercise, exhaling as you lift your upper body and inhaling as you lower it back down.

Calculating Your Sit-Ups Reps: Total up each sit-up, where one sit-up is equal to one rep.

Rest - 90sec

10. Run - Max distance in 10min

The final push is a 10-minute run. Each mile covered counts as an additional 100 reps, pushing you to finish strong.

Calculating Your Mileage Points: Multiply your total miles run by 100. If math isn't your strong-suit, simply add a zero to the end of your mileage count and remove the decimal. For example, if you run 1.4 miles, adding a zero would make it 1.40, then removing the decimal would yield 140 - so your rep score for running would be 140.

Tracking Your Progress: Total Score and Beyond

Once you've completed the run, it's time to first take a deep breath and relax - you've earned it. Then, begin to tally up your performance.

Hopefully you've either recorded the reps for each exercise or you've got a steel-trap memory. Either way, it's time to put it all together to figure out how you've performed.

To start, total the number of reps completed in the first nine exercises, then add them to the total points from the run. Here's a cheat sheet to putting it all together:

  1. Pack Squats = (Max rep pack back squat) X (1 rep per completed movement)

  2. Pack Deadlifts = (Max rep pack deadlift) X (1 rep per completed movement)

  3. Lunge Jumps =(Max lunge jumps) X (right side, left side = 2 reps)

  4. Monkey Planks = (Max monkey planks) X (right side, left side = 2 reps)

  5. Renegade Rows = (Max renegade rows) X (right side, left side = 2 reps)

  6. Pack Burpee Clean and Press = (Max rep burpee clean and press) X (1 rep per completed movement)

  7. Squat Jumps and Side Shuffles = (Max rep squat jumps and side shuffles) X (5 reps per completed squat jumps 'don't count side shuffles as reps')

  8. Step-Ups = (Max step-ups) X (right side, left side = 2 reps)

  9. Sit-Ups = (Max rep sit-ups) X (1 rep per completed movement)

  10. Running = (Total mileage run) X (100)

The Benefits of a Pack-Based Rucking Workout

The Devil's 55 is more than muscle-building; it's a factory for forging mental fortitude. It throws you into the deep end, a perfect reflection of backcountry scenarios.

If you've just completed this ruck workout, then you know the real beauty of it.

You only need your pack and determination.

Each rep shapes you physically and mentally, transforming home workouts into a resilience rehearsal. Conquer a session, and you've not only smashed fitness goals but broken mental barriers.

When it comes to the Devil's 55, think strategic. Adapt the frequency to your capacity and aspirations.

A weekly or bi-weekly schedule can yield stellar improvements. It's not just about the grind, but the recovery.

After tackling the monstrous demands of the Devil's 55, allow your body to heal, to grow. The right balance is your pathway to progression

For mental toughness, go beyond 'The Devil's 55' and give any of our MTNTOUGH programs a shot. It's easier than ever for you to do so thanks to our 14-day free trial.

With this, you'll find our programs like No Gear 60 or Minimal Gear Daily provide a ton of different ways to take advantage of little to zero equipment. Both are exceptional at maximizing functional fitness without the need to fork over serious cash for all the gym accessories.

The Importance of Mental Toughness in Training

We'd be remiss to not bring up mental toughness. It's a hallmark of our entire being. And any program that we deem quality enough to share with our community is certainly one that will build your mental toughness as well.

At-home training and mental toughness? Think of them as two sides of the same, battle-hardened coin.

Conquering an intense workout session in your living room may seem worlds away from an unforgiving backcountry hunt. Yet, here's the raw truth: they're woven from the same fabric of mental endurance.

Every drop of sweat shed, every rep fought for within your four walls, is a step toward becoming an indomitable force in the wilderness.

Your home becomes your training ground, your arena for growth.

Here's the word from the wise at MTNTOUGH: mindset and strength, that's your arsenal for success.

Sure, vanity outcomes like abs and biceps are great, but it's the unwavering resolve, the grit under pressure, that transforms good into extraordinary.

Our MTNTOUGHers are titans of resolve and gladiators of endurance. You can become this as well.

Let every rep be a declaration of your strength, every bead of sweat a testament to muscular endurance and your determination. Equip yourself with the mindset of a MTNTOUGHer, the strength of a beast. And watch yourself morph into a force to be reckoned with in the backcountry and everywhere you step foot in daily life.

Pack-Based Workouts Bring Intensity Home

We've cracked open the vault of MTNTOUGH’s knowledge, dived into the trenches of pack-based workouts, and discovered their profound impact on our at-home training regime.

Unpacked, these workouts are more than just physical feats - they are the grindstones against which we sharpen our mental toughness, the key that unlocks the backcountry warrior within us all.

You've gotten a taste of the MTNTOUGH ethos. Are you hungry for more?

Here's your invitation to satiate that craving. Don't hold back, take a step into the wilder side of fitness. Explore our various MTNTOUGH programs, each uniquely crafted to enhance different facets of your backcountry prowess.

Go ahead, click on that 14-day free trial and start your expedition towards becoming the best version of you.