• Kate Sielmann

How To Train For Kilimanjaro PLUS The 8-Week Kilimanjaro Training Plan

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

There is a misconception that climbing Kilimanjaro is easy and doesn’t require much training. Kilimanjaro may seem the easiest of the Seven Summits (highest Summit on each continent) but she is still a big mountain that should command your respect. In this blog you’ll find out the 2 reasons that make training so important to your success and safety followed by an 8-Week Kilimanjaro Training Plan.


The 2 Reasons Why You Need To Be Training For Kilimanjaro:


1. Altitude

The summit altitude is 5,895m. Sitting just under 6,000m it’s safe to say Kili is a big mountain. If the concept of being close to 6,000m high seems weird and something you just can’t imagine, then go for a 6km walk or run in a straight/straightish line. Doing that will put the magnitude of Kilimanjaro into perspective and show you why training to climb Kilimanjaro is so so so important.


2. Trip Duration

It normally takes 6 to 10 days to reach the summit, depending on the route you choose. My advice is to always take the longer trip duration because it means you have a better acclimatization schedule. But most of the times, people are short on time and short on cash making the 10-day trip too expensive and of course, too long. Assuming you are taking the shorter route up to the summit, that fact alone makes it even more essential to be in your peak physical condition. You will feel the altitude and you will have one or more of the AMS symptoms but the fitter you are, the more capable you are of handling the physical stress while your body acclimatizes.


NOTE: Please read “The 5 Essential Training Principles Of Mountaineering & Trekking” before you start the next section of this blog. You’ll need to understand what the training principles actually are to understand your 8 Week Kilimanjaro Training Plan.


A small disclaimer, 8 weeks to train and prepare is really the minimum amount of time I would suggest to any of my clients with reasonable/average fitness levels. If you struggle to walk 5km with a heart rate of about 130bpm or run 5km with a heart rate between 140bpm and 150bpm then rather be on the safe side and assume you need longer than 8 weeks to prepare.


8-Week Kilimanjaro Training Plan


In my book “A Step-By-Step Manual To Mountaineering & Trekking Around The World” I share the formula I developed to calculate the exact number of hours you should be training per week to reach your peak physical condition for any mountain or trekking route you choose, as well as an entire, detailed and scientific chapter dedicated to creating your own training program.


If you haven’t read my book and calculated your weekly training hours then please know that the below training plan is based on the average age, weight and overall fitness levels of a person. This program also excludes the specific Heart Rate Zones that I explain and apply to The Training Chapter in my book, simply because it is impossible (and medically unsafe) to assume and suggest the specific zones you should be training in without properly calculating them.


Dedicate yourself to your training, give of your absolute best at sea level so you can give of your best at altitude. Kilimanjaro will demand nothing less than your absolute best.


Week 1

  • 2 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 30 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1 hour Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 2

  • 2 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 30 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1 hour Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 3

  • 2.5 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 30 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1 hour Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 4

  • 2.5 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 40 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1.5 hours Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 5

  • 3 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 40 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1.5 hours Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 6

  • 3 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 40 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1.5 hours Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power

Week 7

  • 3.5 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 40 minutes Core Stability

  • 15 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1.5 hours Leg and Glute Strength

  • 15 minutes Anaerobic Power


Week 8 (Peak Week)

During Peak Week, your training amount will decrease giving your body the necessary time to rest and recover before you take your first step on Kilimanjaro. You want to start your climb fully recovered and rested and not tired and exhausted from training, which is why including a Peak Week in your 8 Week Kilimanjaro Training Plan is important.


  • 2 hours Aerobic Fitness

  • 30 minutes Core Stability

  • 30 minutes Ankle Mobility and Balance

  • 1 hour Leg and Glute Strength – very light exercises followed by a 15 minute Self-Massage Release (SMR) using a Foam Roller. Click here to see my SMR program.

  • 0 minutes Anaerobic Power

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