A Workout That 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 over 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 was honored to be a guest on a cross-platform podcast that discussed the impact the events of 9/11 had on the fire service and continues to have today.   Take a listen here (click).

significance of 9/11 on police, fire and ems

I truly believe that one of the best ways to honor those who 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 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 for 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 stair climbing or burpees).


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 on each side)
  4. Inverted hamstrings (5 reps on each side)
  5. Spidermans (5 reps on each side)
  6. Knees side to side (5 reps on 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 stepmill 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, and your department. This is a great way to honor and remember those who sacrificed on this day.

Rest when you feel you need to (try to keep it at a minimum), and 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- 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).


Honor those who have sacrificed by making a pledge (as a firefighter and as a person) to strive to improve your level of fitness and performance as a first responder from year to year.   Encourage your crew to perform this with you, share your results, and challenge others to do the same. 

Most importantly, set aside time to watch videos and talk with your crew, department, and new firefighters about the significance of 9/11.    NEVER FORGET!

Please comment on your times and variations and SHARE with your friends and crew members.
Stay Safe and Healthy,
Aaron "ZAM" Zamzow

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