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Ten weeks to the top of the CN Tower

Every year, thousands of people of all ages and fitness levels ascend the CN Tower to raise funds for wildlife. The average climber reaches the top in 30-40 minutes. Whether you’ve never climbed or are looking to shave minutes off your time, WWF CN Tower climb record holder Shaun Stephens-Whale – at 9 minutes, 54.9 seconds – recommends this 10-week training program to help you reach your climb goals.

Register and start training now for WWF’s CN Tower Climb this April 7 and 8.

(c) James Carpenter / WWF-Canada

Some tips before you get started:

  • Set a realistic race-pace goal (this is the time you want to take to reach the top). The CN Tower’s 1,776 steps are equivalent to about 100 floors in most buildings. So, if your race pace is 30 minutes, train to complete 10 floors in 3 minutes.
  • Always warm up before training and don’t forget to cool down.
  • For stair workouts, it’s best if you have access to a building with at least 20 floors. If you don’t, the stepper at the gym is a great substitute.
  • If you plan to take the CN Tower steps two at a time, incorporate a combination of double and single steps into you training.
  • One final piece of advice: If possible, take the elevator back down.

That feeling when you reach the top. (c) WWF-Canada

Week 1
2 cardio days
Stair climb challenge: Ascend as many floors as you can in 10 minutes.

Week 2
2 cardio days | 1 strength day
Stair climb challenge: Climb one floor and take a short break. Climb two floors and break, and so on. Add a floor between breaks each time until you’ve climbed as high as you can in 10 minutes.

Week 3
2 cardio days | 1 strength day
Stair climb challenge: Ascend 10 floors at your race pace. Repeat three times.

Week 4
3 cardio days | 1 strength day
Stair climb challenge: Climb one floor at your race-pace and one floor at a recovery pace. Complete this interval 20 times.

Week 5 
3 cardio days | 1 strength day
Stair climb challenge: Climb 10 floors and take a short break. Climb nine floors and break. Repeat taking one less floor each time until you finish a single floor.

Week 6 
3 cardio days | 1 strength day
Stair climb challenge: Take on as many floors as you can climb in 15 minutes.

Week 7 
3 cardio days | 1 strength day
Stair climb challenge: Climb 15 floors at your race pace. Repeat three times with rest between sets.

Week 8 
3 cardio days | 1 strength day
Stair climb challenge: Ascend as many floors as you can climb in 20 minutes.

Week 9
3 cardio days |1 strength day
Stair climb challenge 1: Climb 10 floors at above race pace. Repeat four times.
Stair climb challenge 2: 100 floors

Week 10 
4 cardio days
Stair climb challenge 2: Climb 20 floors at race-pace. Repeat three times.

April 7 or 8
WWF-Canada CN Tower Climb for Nature

What’s your climb-time goal? (c) James Carpenter / WWF-Canada

Read more about Shaun Stephens-Whale’s advice for first-time climbers. And if you think you have what it takes to reach the top in under 15 minutes – or rival Shaun’s time— sign up for the Elite Challenge.