Training for the Inca Trail Trek

Thinking about training for the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu? The trek to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail presents you will a lot of steep stairs up and down. Be careful what you read on the internet, as the Inca trail requires a lot of physical preparation. Read some reviews from our trips.

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

I have climbed Mount Everest and trekked the Famous Inca Trail 20+ times. The Inca trail trek will be one of the highlights of your trekking career and an incredible adventure.

Although the Inca Trail is accessible to most relatively fit individuals, you definitely want to make sure that you are putting in the right training and preparation to make your journey a safe and successful one.

Training for the Inca Trail trek

Pick our Classic Inca Trail Trek

The Inca Trail contains steep stairs, going both up and down.  This can be one of the most challenging parts of the trek and something that you want to make sure you are prepared for.

We highly recommend our Classic 5 Day Inca Trail because it spreads out the walking to four full days of walking.  Our 5 day trip also sees a lot less people on the trail than the traditional 4 day option.  GET IN TOUCH today for more information on the options for the Inca Trail.

training for the inca trail

What Does the Inca Trail Trek Entail

The total distance of the Inca Trail is 33.7 miles. READ MORE. Pretty much all of this distance is on steep ascents and descents. You will cover 2,065m/ 6,774 feet of ascent and you will descend 2,265m/ 7,431 feet throughout the trip.

Most of this is done over two longer days. For a lot of people, going downhill on the steps can be more challenging than the up-hill. Here is our advice on training for the downhill.  We require you show up with the right physical preparation,  this is essential for group safety.

You don’t want to endure the Inca Trail, you want to enjoy it.  The only way to do that is to put in the hard work beforehand. Read some REVIEWS from our trips, watch our video below and then CONTACT US.

Steps, Steps and More Steps

Firstly, there are thousands and thousands of steep challenging steps up and down. These steps will likely be the most testing part of the trip. And for most, the way down will be the hardest. Throughout the trail, you have to go over three high passes.

Secondly, on your first day of hiking the Inca Trail, you will start the trek at at 2,590m/ 8,500 feet. On the first day, you will also pass the lowest elevation on the Inca Trail known as the Llactapata Ruins at an elevation of 2,250m/ 7,382 feet. Our trips your first night will be spent at 9,500 feet by the following afternoon you will be up at 4,215m/ 13,828 feet. This is a challenging 1,320m/ 4,328 feet ascent. Followed by a 715m/ 2,345 foot descent. This is a long day!

Thirdly, from the third pass, at 3,670m/ 12,041 feet, you will make your way all the way into Machu Picchu, at 2,400m/ 7,874 feet. This is a steep 4,167 foot descent. This is challenging and you need to be physically prepared.

On Day 4 alone, you will be dropping down 4,167 feet on a steep descent. On another day, you will be walking up 1,320m/ 4,328 feet to the highest altitude at 4,215m/ 13,828 feet, then dropping down 715m/ 2,346 feet in one day. This is tough on the knees, calves and quads, especially when you also will be carrying your backpack with approximately 6kg – 13lbs.

You must come prepared for these types of ascents and descents.  You are training for your enjoyment, safety, success and the safety of the others around you.

training for your Inca Trail Trek

Long Days on the Trail

No matter what itinerary you choose to take, the Traditional 4 Day, Classic 5 Day, or the Salkantay 6 Day trek, you will have some very long and difficult days of trekking ahead.

The highest point on the Traditional 4 Day or the Classic 5 Day is at 4,215m/ 13,776 feet at the pass of Wanusca (Dead Woman’s Pass). On the Salkantay 6 Day option, you will reach the high point of the Incachiriasca Pass at 4,850m/ 15,912 feet.

In order to safely and successfully reach those high points, it is imperative that you take it slow and steady and have the right physical preparations in place. Trekking at altitude needs to be managed correctly. Speak to us about how to train and prepare.

Once you have reached the high points on the trail, either on the second or third day of the trek (depending on which itinerary you chose), this is not the end of your up-hill on the trail, nor does it mean the hard part is over.

Training for the Inca Trail

Train with Weight

Training with a weighted backpack at sea level is important to you can build up the correct strength in your legs for low oxygen environments. Get used to longer 5 hour hikes, covering 1,000m/ 3,280 feet ascents and descents with weight. Remember you will be carrying 5 or 6kg. 10 or 12 pounds in your backpack at altitude.

Daily Training

We recommend training 4 days a week. When you are training make sure you are training in the correct heart rate zone, going up and down hills and stairs will be paramount to your safety and success. You also need to be doing leg strengthening exercises for the challenging downhill. Read more.

The starting point for your Inca Trail trek

How Should you be Training

You should aim to train 4/5 times a week in preparation for your Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu. However it is hard to give a one size fits all for your training plan. Everyone is starting in a different place and has different levels of access.

So your training program will depend on a wide range of factors. We recommend getting a fitness test, before you start the training, so you know you max heart rate and training zones.

Most of your training should be done at lower heart rate levels in the aerobic zone. You also need to start will less time and less weight in your back pack, and work your way up. Your goal should be to build, endurance, leg strength, overall body strength, balance and lung capacity.

The most important factors for your trip will be to build strength and endurance.  The strength is needed to carry your body up and down the hills.  The endurance training is needed so that you can perform for 4 – 6 days in a row.

The key training you can do is walking up and down hills and stairs, with a weighted back pack, building from 5kg to 10kg.  This activity will stress your legs and build strength prior to your trek.

If you do not have access to hills/stairs for training, you should use a stair master, building up to 1 hour per day with a weighted backpack on.  Both of these ways will help you build the specific leg strength to get up and down these hills safely. Lunges and squats should also be key elements of your training. Contact us for further information.

Training for the Inca Trail Trek

Where Should you Start

Contact our team of professionals. Ian has trekked the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu over 20 times and our office has a combined 27 times on the trail!  We are your best resource for the trip, and want to help you get the best information.

You want to enjoy the journey on the Inca Trail.  Therefore, you need to make sure you pick the right itinerary and team to get you there!  Read our Top 10 Tips on the trail, and sign up to one of our many treks to the incredible city of Machu Picchu.

training for the Inca Trail

Training for the Inca Trail Trek

I hope our advice about training for the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu Adventure was useful. We have dialed in the best service and itinerary for the the best experience trekking this famous trek to Machu Picchu. Read some reviews. We also pay our porters 25% more than other companies.

You can join one of our 5 or 6 day itineraries to suit your specific needs.  Not only are you going to experience stunning scenery and great trekking, you will also learn so much about the Incan empire along the way.

Training for the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Join The Experts

Experience the history, culture and beauty of the Peruvian people with our team! Machu Picchu is a truly unique place. The Inca trail experience will stay with you for life! We hope that you will join us our unique service on the famous Inca Trail.  CONTACT US!

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