A Workout That Will Help You “Never Forget”

Every year around September 11th I like to take a moment and reflect on the significance of the day and honor those that sacrificed (and continue to sacrifice to this day).

It is hard to believe that almost 20 years ago on September 11th the world and the fire service changed.  Hopefully, you will take some time over the next few days to honor those we lost and reflect on the significance of the day. 

I truly believe that one of the best ways to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice is to put forth the effort to be the "best" we can be as first responders.  Training to be our best, not only physically but mentally as well. 

I personally love reading about the heroics of the day and the inspirational stories.  FireRescue1 and Lexipol put together an awesome resource page with a ton of them (click here).   

I also love to perform commemorative workouts that have some connection with 9/11.  Over ten years ago I completed Ironman Wisconsin and five years ago I created the FRF 343 Challenge Workout.   Which is the workout I have done the last 5 years every September 11th.   I highly encourage you to also do some type of commemorative workout.  Get members of your crew and department to do it with you.  There is no better way to bond and build morale than through sweat (and burpees).

I encourage you and your crew to give this workout a try, share your results, and challenge others to do the same.  By doing so we are not only helping to promote health in fitness in the fire service but are helping future generations understand the significance. 

This version is very similar to the FRF 5K Virtual Workout except instead of running, it challenges you to climb stairs and complete 343 reps of various strength exercises.  You can perform this workout with just the 343 reps if you don't have access to stairs.  

                 Click the image to enlarge

Before you begin the workout, like every FRF workout, you must perform an active warm-up (click here for a video overview of the warm-up.)

Active warm-up.  

Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of reps with no rest between exercises for 2 circuits.

Active warm-up (perform for 30 seconds or 10 reps of each exercise for 2 circuits with no rest between exercises)

  1. Standing Chops (5 reps)
  2. Arms Up Squats  (10 reps)
  3. Step forward toe touches (5 reps each side)
  4. Inverted hamstrings (5 reps each side)
  5. Spidermans (5 reps each side)
  6. Knees side to side (5 reps each side)  -  Repeat the circuit for a total of 2x

All you need for this workout are some steps (or a step-mill) and a way to do pull-ups or body rows. You should time the workout from the first step to the last so you can track your fitness progress from year to year.

Variations: You can vary the workout based on your available equipment–run bleachers or do step-ups if you don’t have a step-mill or substitute out some of the strength exercises. You may also want to cut the reps in half and perform half of or a variation of the steps. I encourage you to make the workout significant to yourself, your crew, your department. This is a great way to honor and remember those that sacrificed on this day.

Rest when you feel you need to (try to keep it at a minimum), go from exercise to exercise at your own pace. Have fun and remember the significance.

The workout -- (Click here for a PFD Printable Overview of the Workout)


Perform all the reps of these exercises then run the stairs (1 or 2 flights) based on your level of fitness.  If you don't have stairs, you can substitute them out for a different exercise.    The goal is to complete all the stairs and all reps of the exercises in the fastest time possible.

  1. Perform 50 Push-ups
    • Run 1 or 2 flights of Stairs (up to 2 minutes) then:
  2. Perform 50 Prisoner Squats
    • Run 1 or 2 flights of Stairs (up to 2 minutes) then:
  3. Perform 50 Plank Pulses
    • Run 1 or 2 flights of Stairs (up to 2 minutes) then:
  4. Perform 50 lunges (25 each leg)
    • Run 1 or 2 flights of Stairs (up to 2 minutes) then:
  5. Perform 50 body Rows
    • Run 1 or 2 flights of Stairs (up to 2 minutes) then:
  6. Perform 50 Bent over Y- raises
    • Run 1 or 2 flights of Stairs (up to 2 minutes) then:
  7. Perform 43 Burpees

Record your time…. then pass out (just kidding).


Take a moment to understand the significance of the workout and to make a pledge (as a firefighter or as a person) to strive to improve your level of fitness (or at least maintain) from year to year. 

Give this challenge a try.  Please comment on your times and variations and SHARE with your friends and crew members. NEVER FORGET.
Stay Safe and Healthy,
Aaron "ZAM" Zamzow




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