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Kandoo Adventures: August 20th 2020

Fitness and Training for your trek to Machu Picchu

In order to tackle any Machu Picchu trek you need to be in good physical shape. You don’t need to be an olympic athlete but you should be able to walk 5-7 hours a day over relatively tough terrain for 3-4 days in a row. We recommend undertaking a basic training regime (see below) 3-6 months before departing.

If you are booked on our Classic Inca Trail then the biggest challenge you will find are the Inca stairs that undulate up and down throughout the trail. This puts a lot of strain on the joints and really works the leg muscles, so building up stamina in your legs is key.

As we say to all our Kandoo clients, the best training you can do to prepare for any type of trek is hiking in your own country. You need to get your walking boots on and spend a few hours every week walking in the hills or countryside. You should also aim to spend a couple of weekends in the months immediately before your Machu Picchu trek hiking for 3-5 hours a day to harden off the muscles and joints.

In addition to hiking we recommend you also undertake an aerobic gym routine for at least 3 months before departing for Peru.

A good fitness training programme should consist of 3-4 visits to the gym each week and focus on:

Required stamina

Great exercises to build the stamina of your cardiovascular system include cycling, running, cross-trainer, swimming or rowing. You want to get to a point where you can do at least 30 minutes strenuous cardiovascular activities without feeling like you are going to keel over. Spinning classes, cross-fit, aerobics or Zumba are also great workout activities.

Building strength

In terms of strength training you should focus on activities that work both your upper body and importantly your legs. There are loads of strength routines you could follow. We like exercise like Kettle Bell rows, shoulder presses and flyes for the upper body and lunges and squats for the legs.


Finally, you want to make sure that your muscles and joints are supple. We recommend doing 10 minutes of stretching every morning to increase flexibility and suppleness.

Frequently asked questions

Preparing for Machu Picchu

Make sure you’re fit enough to take the trek. After all, you’re going to be hiking for at least 10-15km daily for almost 6 days on your longer routes. So ensure you’re bringing your best fitness level (Choquequirao or Salkantay / Inca Trail Combo are very lengthy routes for example).

How to train for machu picchu? 

To train for Machu Picchu, you’ll want to focus on both your physical and mental strength. To prepare, consider walking, cycling, swimming, and other cardiovascular activities. Prepare your mind by working on breathing techniques and positive mantras, as well as by participating in something mentally challenging such as a half marathon. 

How to prepare for a hike physically?

Physically, you want to focus on maintaining good cardiovascular health. Focus on exercises that pump blood to the heart and help your lung capacity expand. Good exercises include running, swimming, cycling, and hiking. 

Is it hard to climb Machu Picchu?

The hike up the trail ranges from moderate to slightly difficult. The difficulty depends on which part of the trail you’re on and, of course, your preparedness. Your physical fitness can also have an impact. 

Do you have to be fit to climb Machu Picchu?

While you don’t have to be an all-star athlete to climb Machu Picchu, you should be in pretty good physical shape. You’ll need to be able to walk for long periods of time (5-7 hours) per day for 3 or 4 consecutive days.

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