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Kilimanjaro Fitness Program
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How to succeed on Kilimanjaro

Even though you will be hiking rather than climbing and you know that many people have made the summit before you, do not be overconfident and think that this is a ‘walk in the park’ - Kilimanjaro is a serious obstacle to overcome and requires that you be adequately prepared, both physically and mentally, for you to conquer it.
There is no sure way of training yourself mentally for this expedition, but knowing that you are physically fit and that you have good equipment and a quality guide, will make it easier for you to gain the mental strength and determination that you will need.

From the outset be aware that this is a strenuous multi-day hike, so you need to be hiking fit. Hiking fitness is different to running fitness as different muscles will need to be developed. A good deal of your training time will be spent by simply going on walks, hikes and trails (try to fit in a few one or two day trails) in addition to regular gym work where you can simulate hiking conditions. This has proven to be the most successful type of preparation.

To ensure that you do the right exercises for you age, fitness levels and health we suggest that you stop by your doctor for a check-up and to show him this program and inform him of your intent to climb Kilimanjaro. He’ll be able to tell you if it’s right for you or whether you’ll need to make some adjustments.

From experience we’ve learned that the best way to get climbing fit for your future climb is to combine a gym program with a walking program. The idea is to train for 6 days of the week, for eight consecutive weeks, only resting one day. Your training sessions are short, starting with only 70 minutes per day, and ending with 140 minute sessions in the last weeks.

This program is practical and is not too demanding on your time or your wallet. Once completed, you will be well prepared to conquer Kilimanjaro.
During the 2 ˝ months prior to your Kilimanjaro climb it is advisable to take frequent walks which should include uphill and downhill sections. It is good practice to simulate the conditions you will encounter on Kilimanjaro, so pack your daypack with at least three liters of water and carry this with you when in training.

While the best training is usually done outdoors, you may experience some rainy days or find that your local trails don’t offer enough of a challenge. On such days it is best to go to the gym for a full workout on the treadmill. Most modern gyms have machines that simulate hiking conditions quite well. Look for a program that includes up and downhill training with normal level running.

Don’t forget the importance of rest. In order for you body to fully recuperate and be ready for the challenge of Kilimanjaro, you need to cease all training at least four days before your trip. A good day to plan this is to take your first day at Kili, deduct four days and work back eight weeks. The date you come up with will be your first day of training.

8 WEEK WALKING PROGRAM


WEEK 2 - 3 TUESDAY THURSDAY SUNDAY
Stretching/ Warm Up 8 min 8 min 8 min
Walking      
   - Flat (4 -5 km's / hr) 10 min 10 min 10 min
Lower Leg Building      
   - Walk on Heels Lifting Toes 3 min 3 min 3 min
   - Walk on Toes Lifting Heels 4 min 4 min 4 min
Walking      
   - Flat (4 - 5 km's/hr) 40 min 40 min 30 min
   - Uphill (2 -3 km's/hr)     20 min
   - Downhill (5 - 6 km's/hr)     5 min
Stretching & Cool Down 5 min 5 min 5 min
Total Duration 70 min 70 min 90 min
WEEK 1 TUESDAY THURSDAY SUNDAY
Stretching/ Warm Up 8 min 8 min 8 min
Walking      
   - Flat (4 -5 km's / hr) 10 min 10 min 10 min
Lower Leg Building      
   - Walk on Heels Lifting Toes 3 min 3 min 3 min
   - Walk on Toes Lifting Heels 4 min 4 min 4 min
Walking      
   - Flat (4 - 5 km's/hr) 40 min 40 min 40 min
   - Uphill (2 -3 km's/hr)      
   - Downhill (5 - 6 km's/hr)      
Stretching & Cool Down 5 min 5 min 5 min
Total Duration 70 min 70 min 70 min
WEEK 4 - 8 TUESDAY THURSDAY SUNDAY
Stretching/ Warm Up 8 min 8 min 8 min
Walking      
   - Flat (4 -5 km's / hr) 10 min 10 min 10 min
Lower Leg Building      
   - Walk on Heels Lifting Toes 3 min 3 min 3 min
   - Walk on Toes Lifting Heels 4 min 4 min 4 min
Walking      
   - Flat (4 - 5 km's/hr) 40 min 30 min 50 min
   - Uphill (2 -3 km's/hr)   20 min 40 min
   - Downhill (5 - 6 km's/hr)   10 min 20 min
Stretching & Cool Down 5 min 5 min 5 min
Total Duration 70 min 90 min 140 min

The gym fitness program consists of regular performance of exercises with either free weights or free weight machines. These are to be done Mon, Wed, and Fri of each week.  Your exercise can be tailored to your age, conditioned and strength and you should progress to higher resistance or weights as you develop.   The program is safe - keep it that way by ensuring that all the exercises are performed correctly and that basic safety procedures are followed. If in doubt, ask your local gym instructor or personal trainer to show you how to perform each exercise correctly and safely.   
Sets and Reps
Your workouts are made up of sets and reps. A rep (repetition) is a single count of an exercise - e.g. one leg curls. A set consists of a set number of reps. For example, to do 20 press ups in total, you will do 2 sets of 10 reps.   
Gym guidelines
Before you start your gym program, take note of the following guidelines and exercise with care, and don’t forget to warm up first!  • If you are unfit, then use light weights for the first two weeks of the gym program.  • The weights should be increased progressively at least every two weeks to stimulate sufficient muscle growth and development.  • The gym program gives you a good idea of which muscles you should work on, and it can be adapted to your time schedule and current fitness level.  • It is important to execute the various exercises in the same order as listed above.  • Make sure to give your muscle groups enough time to rest after strenuous exercise, especially if you use weights, as this will reduce injuries and help your muscles to develop adequately (48 hours is usually a good resting period). Use this time to focus on other areas on your body. While your legs will be working the hardest during your climb, it is a good idea to include some upper body training to your program this will ensure that you maintain a healthy muscle balance while you strengthen the muscles you are going to need to carry your pack and support your back. This training will also help to increase your overall strength and fitness level. 

If you follow this routine you should be “Kili fit”.  Good luck and have a great hike!!!