Here Is My Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Training Program

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Made It To Uhuru Peak On Top Of Mount Kilimanjaro!

Here is the climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program I started using about 4 months before the climb. It’s important to strengthen your legs, heart and lungs before the climb. If you or a friend are planning on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, you might find this helpful.

P90X3 In Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Training Program

When I started this climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program, I had already been doing the P90X3 workout for a couple of years. You can read my post about P90X3 here. From doing this P90X3 program, I was in pretty good physical condition. I was therefore stunned over how exhausted I felt after I started running up the stairs in my apartment complex (I had been slacking on the cardio workouts and had a terrible breathing technique)! I will share more about that later, but I will go through the various routines I developed over the weeks before I summited Mount Kilimanjaro.

I decided I would go with the P90X3 Lean schedule in my climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program. The Lean schedule includes more cardio than the Classic and Mass schedule. I figured this would be a better fit since I would be walking for up to 7-8 hours a day. Summit day, we would walk 14 hours altogether, going up to Uhuru Peak and then down.





Stairs In Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Training Program

A few weeks into the climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program, my friend said the best workout to prepare to climb Kilimanjaro is to walk, jog, or run up a set of stairs. This is of course for those of us who live far away from the mountains and can’t go hiking up a mountain every day.

The ideal climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program is to go with a 10 kg backpack and hike for hours in the mountains each week…! But since there are no mountains where I live, I had to settle for climbing the stairs 🙂 I did walk up and down a hill nearby, and I will talk more about that later.

Climbing Stairs, Wohoo! Let’s Go!

Stairs In Apartment Complex

I started incorporating climbing stairs into my weekly climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program. In our apartment complex, there are 16 floors, and each floor has 16 steps = 256 steps. I started doing the P90X3 program 3 days a week, and climb the stairs 3 days a week.

Actually the first week I would do a P90X3 workout, then I would run up the stairs. Yeah, that lasted about a week. Couldn’t do it!

The first time I climbed the stairs I was exhausted. I actually thought I was in pretty good shape, but walking, jogging and running up the stairs almost knocked me out. The first time I walked up the stairs, I literally almost passed out. I could hardly believe how tired I was! And all I did was walk up and down the stairs 3 times (768 steps)! The final round I walked down to our floor, knocked on the door and signaled to my wife I needed something to drink. I could not even talk!

I then realized that if I was going to climb Kilimanjaro, I had to get in much better shape. The P90X3 program has many cardio workouts, but I had been prioritizing the weightlifting sessions and had been lazy on the cardio workouts..!

3 Rounds, 768 Steps

Each day I would climb the stairs, I would go up and down 3 rounds.

Round 1: 16 x 16 steps = 256 steps = Walk single steps
Round 2: 16 x 16 steps = 256 steps = Jog single steps
Round 3: 16 x 16 steps = 256 steps = Run double steps
Total of 768 steps

I was able to get to the point where I could run up each round taking a double step going up (skip one step).

Round 1: 16 x 16 steps = 256 steps = Run double steps
Round 2: 16 x 16 steps = 256 steps = Run double steps
Round 3: 16 x 16 steps = 256 steps = Run double steps
Total of 768 steps

This exercise only took 20 minutes but was quite brutal. I could only do this when the weather was not too hot and humid.





Walking Up & Down A Hill

In my climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program, I was able to do the stairs 2-3 times per week. I also started going to a hill nearby to train here in Singapore. We would go on Saturdays, and the hill is only 163 meters at it’s highest point! You can see my video about it here. It only takes about 30 minutes to go up and down.

In the beginning of the hill, it’s very steep. It’s so steep that people often walk backward or sideways going down. It’s, therefore, a great place to train and a very happening place on Saturdays. I would see many people there wearing their backpacks training to climb some mountain. I went with friends, and we would go up and down 3-5 times. It would take anything from 2-3 hours in total.

The first time I went, I was only able to go up and down 3 times. Same thing as with the stairs, I was physically exhausted. But the last few times I went I could quickly go up and down 5 times. I even started to jog up the steepest part of the hill and then walked the rest at a fast pace.

Training Mask In Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Training Program

I was surprised that I had gotten to a place where I was able to jog up the steepest part of the hill. My climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program had apparently been paying off, but I must admit that the most significant gains I started to experience were after I started using a training mask. You can read my post about the high altitude training mask here.

I just wish I would have discovered this training mask earlier. I remember even searching for something similar online, but this mask never showed up in the search results. I can’t remember what I typed, but apparently it was not the right search term.

I read a blog where someone recommended using a straw to breathe through to prepare for the high elevation on Mount Kilimanjaro. I tried using a straw, but it did not work very well, and therefore I hoped to find a mask to use instead of a straw.

Me with the High Altitude Training Mask 2.0
Me with the High Altitude Training Mask

When I finally heard about the training mask, I purchased it within a couple of days. This mask restricts the flow of air you can breathe into your body at one time. It’s to simulate being at higher elevations where the oxygen particles in the air are more spread out. When you breathe in, you don’t get as much oxygen into your body at these higher elevations. I was pretty excited about incorporating the training mask into my climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program.

As Close As It Gets For That Price

Truth is that you’ll never get something that can accurately simulate what it will be at almost 6,000 meters (almost 20,000 feet) unless you going into a high altitude chamber. Therefore, for a product that costs less than $100, this is an excellent product and does a good of a job as possible for that price when it comes to strengthening the lungs. I placed it on the highest setting of 18,000 feet, and it really restricted the air I was able to breathe in.

Preventing Altitude Sickness

I don’t believe the training mask will help prepare against altitude sickness. Everyone’s body reacts differently when on the mountain at that elevation, but the training mask will help strengthen your lungs and the muscles around your lungs and force you to take deep breathes. The prevent altitude sickness, the best thing is to drinks lots of water (there is oxygen in water), take deep breathes, and walk slowly. You can read more about the breathing technique we used here.

I started using the training mask during my P90X3 workouts in my climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program, and I brought the mask to the hill where I would go on Saturdays to train. I noticed a huge improvement just within a couple of weeks. If you try it out, please let me know how it works for you.





Great Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Training Program For Those Living In A City

For someone living in a city without much access to mountains and hiking terrain, a combination of using the training mask together with P90X and climbing stairs worked great for me in my climb Mount Kilimanjaro training program. I was really able to strengthen my legs, heart and lungs with these workouts.

The training mask really helped me develop a great breathing technique since this is something I struggled with in the beginning. I also believe that is why I was soooo tired running up the stairs the first time! But I was now able to take deep breathes the same way I did getting up to the top of Uhuru Peak, the highest elevated point on Mount Kilimanjaro 5,895 meters (19,340 feet).

If you’re trying to find out what type of gear to bring, you can check out my Kilimanjaro Gear List here.

Video From Stella Point To Uhuru Peak

Here is the video of me going from Stella Point up to Uhuru Peak. If you reach Stella Point, you have summited Mount Kilimanjaro and you will get a certificate. Uhuru Point is about a 30 minute was on top of the volcano ridge from Stella Point. It’s only 139 meters higher than Stella Point and by far the “easiest” walk when it comes to elevation and terrain. You can see Uhuru Peak from Stella Point and it’s really beautiful up there. You can read more about the day I summited Mount Kilimanjaro here.

Here are all my other posts on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It was an amazing experience and totally worth it!

2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree stairs are a must. I did the stairclimber 2 times a week with a 15lbs weighted vest. They key is strong legs. 2 times as week, one steep 45 min. and 3 hours gradual incline. Even box step ups are great to build leg and butt muscles. Lastly I increased my protein from 130 grams to 150 to build muscle knowing I would lose some on the climb. Like you said you can only prepare for high altitude, your body reacts its own way.

    • 3 hours gradual incline with a 15 lbs weighted vest is awesome! I might need to get one of those vests for my workouts too…

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