12-Week Kilimanjaro Training Plan for Beginners

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa and one of the most popular high-altitude trekking destinations in the world.
Hiking this majestic mountain is no easy feat, and proper preparation is essential for a successful and enjoyable trek.
This 12-week Kilimanjaro training plan is designed for individuals with a base level of fitness who want to improve their endurance and strength for the Kilimanjaro hike, using just jogging and bodyweight exercises (no gym required).
Jogging - training for Kilimanjaro
Effective training for Kilimanjaro can be done in your local park. No mountains required - although it's nice if you have them!

Training for the Mt Kilimanjaro Hike

Before we jump into the actual training plan, here are some common Kilimanjaro training FAQs we get.

Why is Training for Kilimanjaro Important?

Training for a Kilimanjaro trek is crucial for several reasons.
First, it's going to help you build the physical stamina needed to tackle those long days of hiking at high altitudes, where the air is as thin as the plot of a bad action movie.
In addition, training reduces the risk of injury and increases your probability of success.
Remember, the fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy the trek!

Who is This Kilimanjaro Training Plan Aimed at?

This training plan is aimed at individuals with a base level of fitness - that is, those who can outrun a couch but might struggle to catch a cheetah.
If you are new to exercise or have not been active for a while, you should consult with a healthcare professional before starting this plan.
Already a fitness buff?
Feel free to dive in later in the program or ramp up the intensity as needed.

How to Avoid Injuries When Training for Kilimanjaro

Pay attention to your body's cues throughout your training, or risk facing the wrath of your inner drill sergeant.
If you experience pain, discomfort, or signs of overtraining, take a step back and give yourself time to recover.
Ignoring your body's signals can lead to injuries that may put your Kilimanjaro dreams on hold.
Always consult with a doctor if you're unsure about your physical condition or need guidance on how to customize the training plan.

What Are the Main Kilimanjaro Training Exercises I Should Focus on?

Before you dive headfirst into your Kilimanjaro training plan, it's essential to know how to perform the exercises correctly to maximize your gains and minimize the risk of injury.
Here's a quick rundown of the key exercises in the plan:

Jogging

  • Warm-up: Start with a 5-minute brisk walk to get your muscles ready for action.

  • Technique: Keep your head up, looking forward, and maintain a straight posture. Swing your arms naturally and land softly on the balls of your feet, rolling through to the heel.

  • Breathing: Breathe deeply and rhythmically, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

Bodyweight Squats

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward.

  • Keep your chest up and your core engaged as you lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back.

  • Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground or as far as comfortable.

  • Push through your heels to return to the starting position.

Lunges

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  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips.

  • Take a big step forward with your right foot, lowering your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your left knee almost touches the floor.

  • Push through your right heel to return to the starting position.

  • Repeat on the other side, alternating legs.

Plank / Half-Plank

  • Full Plank: Start in a push-up position with your arms straight, wrists under your shoulders, and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Engage your core and hold the position.

  • Half-Plank: Start on your knees, keeping your body in a straight line from your head to your knees. Rest your weight on your forearms, elbows under your shoulders, and hold the position.

Interval Sprints

  • Warm-up: Begin with a 10-minute light jog to get your heart rate up and your muscles warmed up.

  • Sprints: Find a flat, straight stretch of road or track. After the warm-up, sprint at maximum effort for 30 seconds.

  • Rest: After each sprint, rest for 1 minute by walking or jogging slowly.

  • Cool-down: Finish the session with a 10-minute light jog or a brisk walk to help your muscles recover.

Training
Training for Kilimanjaro - sticking to the plan gives you a lot more confidence as you start the trek.

The Kilimanjaro 12-Week Training Plan

Weeks 1-2: Getting Started

  • Monday: 20 min jog at a comfortable pace

  • Wednesday: Strength day (3 sets of 10 bodyweight squats, 10 lunges each leg, and 30-second plank or half-plank)

  • Friday: 20 min jog at a comfortable pace

  • Saturday/Sunday: Rest and recovery

Weeks 3-4: Increasing Fitness

  • Monday: 25 min jog at a comfortable pace

  • Wednesday: Strength day (3 sets of 15 bodyweight squats, 15 lunges each leg, and 45-second plank or half-plank)

  • Friday: 25 min jog at a comfortable pace

  • Saturday/Sunday: Rest and recovery

Weeks 5-6: Longer Distances

  • Monday: 30 min jog at a comfortable pace

  • Wednesday: Strength day (4 sets of 15 bodyweight squats, 15 lunges each leg, and 45-second plank or half-plank)

  • Friday: 30 min jog at a comfortable pace

  • Saturday/Sunday: Rest and recovery

Weeks 7-8: Intervals

  • Week 7:

    • Monday: 10 min warm-up jog, followed by 6x (30-second sprint, 1 min rest), and 10 min cool-down jog

    • Thursday: 30 min jog at a comfortable pace

    • Saturday/Sunday: Rest and recovery

  • Week 8:

    • Monday: 10 min warm-up jog, followed by 8x (30-second sprint, 1 min rest), and 10 min cool-down jog

    • Wednesday: Strength day (4 sets of 15 bodyweight squats, 15 lunges each leg, and 45-second plank or half-plank)

    • Friday: 30 min jog at a comfortable pace

    • Saturday/Sunday: Rest and recovery

Weeks 9-10: Longer Distance

  • Monday: 45 min jog at a comfortable pace

  • Wednesday: Strength day (4 sets of 20 bodyweight squats, 20 lunges each leg, and 1 min plank or half-plank)

  • Friday: 45 min jog at a comfortable pace

  • Saturday/Sunday: Rest and recovery

Weeks 11-12: Taper and Recovery

  • Week 11:

    • Monday: 45 min jog at a comfortable pace

    • Wednesday: Strength day (3 sets of 20 bodyweight squats, 20 lunges each leg, and 1 min plank or half-plank)

    • Friday: 45 min jog at a comfortable pace

    • Saturday/Sunday: Rest and recovery

  • Week 12:

    • Monday: 30 min light jog at a comfortable pace

    • Wednesday: Stretching and light mobility exercises

    • Friday: 20 min light jog at a comfortable pace

    • Saturday/Sunday: Rest and recovery

Before starting this training plan, please consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert to ensure that the exercises are suitable for your current fitness level and any pre-existing conditions.

Final Thoughts on Kilimanjaro Training

Kili Earth Curvature
As you embark on your Kilimanjaro training journey, remember that you're capable of achieving amazing feats.
With determination, consistency, and a positive attitude, you'll be well on your way to conquering the mountain and making memories that will last a lifetime.
So go ahead, embrace your inner adventurer, and get ready to show Mount Kilimanjaro what you're made of. Good luck, and happy training!
By the way, if you're not booked on yet, why not check out our Climb Kilimanjaro trips?

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