Training for Kilimanjaro

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

With all the information you could possibly gather, added to being physically prepared, one’s chances of reaching the summit is substantially increased

You’d better start Training For Hiking Kilimanjaro 6 months prior. During this time, you can progressively increase your hiking time, distance, and elevation gain.

Leg strength and endurance training are important for safety and success when starting Kilimanjaro hike. You need to acclimatize and build up specific physical training. This will help you safely reach the summit and get back down again.

Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro is a tough task. Just because you exercise regularly does not mean you will easily reach the summit of Kilimanjaro. In order to prepare you should consider doing: 

Uphill hiking, walking, and stair-climbing;

strength training;

cardiovascular training;

flexibility training.

Can I train for altitude?

There is little you can do to prepare for altitude in your training, unless you’re lucky enough to live close to high mountains and spend time acclimatizing before your trip! Training regularly at an altitude centre, like some professional athletes, can also help, although this is out of reach for the majority of people. It is only effective if you visit regularly in the final weeks approaching your Kilimanjaro climb.

Be ready to walk slowly as you cannot move fast at altitude, mentally prepare to relax and enjoy the scenery if you’re usually a fast walker!

We recommend seeing your doctor about Diamox (Acetazolamide), a drug that is used for various medical treatments – including glaucoma, sleep apnea, epilepsy and hypertension. It is also used, always with medical guidance, to help mitigate the effects of altitude sickness. And the most important, once on the mountain listen to your guides’ advice regarding hydration, nutrition and sleep.

 

Various trainings to climb Kilimanjaro

Aerobic training

Aerobic training uses oxygen to adequately meet the energy demands of exercise via aerobic metabolism. The types of exercise that use aerobic metabolism are generally light-to-moderate intensity activities like long-distance jogging, swimming, cycling and walking. This differs from anaerobic exercise like high-intensity weight lifting and sprinting which uses anaerobic metabolism to supplement the aerobic system due to increased energy demands.

Aerobic exercise builds the cardiovascular system which is key when training to hike Kilimanjaro, as a strong cardiovascular system will help you process limited oxygen in a more efficient way

Strength training

In addition to aerobic exercise, you should also be doing light strength training, particularly for your legs, core, and upper body. In terms of your legs we suggest the following exercises:

  • Lunges;
  • Squats;
  • Front and reverse leg-curls (thigh muscle and hamstrings);
  • Step aerobics.

 

Building the strength of your core muscles (stomach and lower back) and upper shoulder muscles is also important as you will be carrying a lightweight pack for up to 6-7 hours a day. We recommend the following exercises:

  • Sit-ups;
  • Kettle-bell rows/ swings;
  • Shoulder presses;
  • Back and shoulder flies;
  • Practice hiking.

 

Mount Kilimanjaro Hiking is in fact just one long hike. The best way to prepare for a long hike is to do a few yourself.

Mental stamina

So often the thing that gets climbers to the top of Kilimanjaro is their mental stamina. There will be times during the summit night that you will want to give up and go back down. Being able to dig deep and pull on your mental reserves is so important.

«Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them―a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.» Muhammad Ali

 

Thankfully there are activities to train your mental stamina. Most require some form of pushing your body to the extreme, or to what you think your limits are, and then pushing through to accomplish your goal.

If you follow the guidelines for both the gym training as well as the walking routine, you are definitely ready for Kilimanjaro physically. You can now concentrate on being mentally ready. We will be with you all the way up, together we will succeed. There we are, on the top with Suricata Safaris.

Our Travellers Says

Absolutely amazing experience. Everything from the organization, the information the whole adventure was something that cannot be described with words, you have to do it on your own to really believe it. Special shout out to all the Suricata dream team! 

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