Physical and Mental Preparation  S2 begins with the premise that nobody should feel intimidated by the prospect of climbing to the summit of Kilimanjaro. If you’re part of one of our teams, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in regularly scheduled conditioning treks with S2 guides to help prepare for your climb to the summit. Members are invited to join us for weekend conditioning treks in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Virginia). These treks include personal instruction and are specifically designed to both evaluate and improve your performance. Can’t join us for a conditioning trek? No problem – we’re available to consult on your fitness and conditioning over the phone. Physical and mental fitness are important for safe, enjoyable and successful travel on Mt. Kilimanjaro. S2 members are required to provide an honest assessment of their health condition, skills and experience in the back-country prior to participating in any trip. The assessment is part of a larger decision making process that informs a member of strengths and potential limitations. S2 leaders are then able to consult with a member on a range of appropriate options to prepare.

The Benefits of Training  Training develops mental toughness. The human body is an amazing creation, capable of withstanding extreme and challenging conditions. More frequently, it is mental weakness that overcomes the individual, causing them to question their ability to reach the summit. There are moments on every mountain where one experiences discomfort or questions their ability. Mental toughness is the quality that overcomes these conditions. Even the most highly experienced and “scrappiest” climbers submit to question, but they are also distinguished by their steely discipline and mental commitment.

Training develops physical fitness. An individual with high physical and cardiovascular strength has a greater advantage of reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. As an individual climbs to higher elevation, there is a lower concentration of available oxygen in the air. Reduced oxygen availability requires the body to work harder, decreases stamina and increases fatigue. A physically fit individual is better prepared to withstand these rigorous conditions.

Training makes your experience more enjoyable. The high alpine environment is a spectacular place, and the achievement of getting there can be a dream or a nightmare. The difference between having appreciation of your surroundings or needing to concentrate on how to accommodate your discomfort will be determined in large part by your fitness. Take your health seriously and train properly – the mountains demand it.

The Basic Training Plan Many people are interested in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, but believe they lack the necessary fitness to succeed. This is simply not true even for people with health complications. Every mountain is different and requires a different level of fitness. As a result, every mountain requires a different training plan. As a rule of thumb, the more aggressive the mountain, the more aggressive your training should be. Keep in mind that Mt. Kilimanjaro is an entry-level trekking peak accessible to most people.  S2 encourages all members to develop a personalized training plan and to also consult with a fitness trainer and personal physician to develop a suitable training plan.  The plan provided below is informative and can be used as a goal.

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The following schedule was developed by a personal fitness trainer, emphasizing cardio-vascular fitness for Kilimanjaro. It employs a commonly used course of exercise, requiring a daily commitment. Even if you never plan to climb Kilimanjaro, this is a great training plan that increases mental, physical and cardiovascular strength.

Day 1 Chest/Arms
* Flat Bench Press: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Decline Bench Press: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Dumbbell Fly: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 35% – 45% of body weight.
* Tricep Pulldown: 4 Sets / 10 Repetitions of 80% of max lifting weight.
* Crunch Sit-up: 4 Sets / 25 Repetitions.

Day 2 Cardio
* 45 Minutes of continuous cardiovascular exercise (i.e. running, cycling, swimming, etc.)

Day 3 Back/Arms
* Pull-up: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Pull-down: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Row: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Crunch Sit-up: 4 Sets / 25 Repetitions.
* Bicep curl: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 80% of max lifting weight.

Day 4 Cardio
* 45 Minutes of continuous cardiovascular exercise (i.e. running, cycling, swimming, etc.)

Day 5 Shoulders
* Bar Military Press: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Dumbbell Military Press: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Shrug: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Crunch Sit-up: 4 Sets / 25 Repetitions.

Day 6 Legs
* Leg Press: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 100% – 140% of body weight.
* Front Leg Curl: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Back Leg Curl: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 40% – 60% of body weight.
* Lunge with Bar: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 30% – 40% of body weight.
* Calf Lift: 4 Sets / 8 Repetitions of 70% – 90% of body weight.
* Crunch Sit-up: 4 Sets / 25 Repetitions.

Day 7 Cardio
* 45 Minutes of continuous cardiovascular exercise (i.e. running, cycling, swimming, etc.)

Monthly
Hike in a hill or mountain environment for a period of 5-6 hours. Begin with a light pack and add weight (up to 1/3 of your body weight) as your fitness progresses. Over the course of time, extend your hiking period to 7-8 hours.