THE DAN MARTIN PROGRAM MINIMUM

Looking for a simple, easy to follow simple home kettlebell workout program? Look no further than the Dan Martin Program Minimum.

The “program minimum” originated out of the Russian Kettlebell Challenge book back in 2001 and has undergone some changes throughout the years.  At its core, the program minimum is based on the idea of one big bang for the buck “pull” and one big “push” type exercise performed a couple of times a week. 

Due to its simplicity, the Program Minimum is perfect for a home kettlebell workout. 

The first program minimum was made up of the kettlebell snatch and the bent press, both great exercises, but perhaps a little too technical for some starting out.  So eventually, the program became one made out of kettlebell swings and getups, exercises that are a little simpler and make fewer demands on a person’s mobility and control in awkward positions.

As with any program (and anything in life for that matter), the program minimum has its detractors.  And their main complaint is that a program with only two main exercises can’t possibly train all that needs to be trained. “

Students of kettlebell strength asked, “What about the squat?” and “Is a Turkish get-up really a pushing exercise?”

(Editors note: We’re not opening that can of worms right now, thanks.)

The Dan Martin Program Minimum was designed in response to these and other questions regarding a well-rounded, simple training program.

DMPM FOR SHORT

The DMPM is still a minimal strength program. It includes typically includes the following exercises:

It’s also strongly recommended to include a couple of mobility drills as well. 

(Editor’s note: Some chest-opener mobility drills, banded no money’s, reverse flys would also be a good compliment to this program.)

Keep in mind, the DMPM workouts are intended to be performed nearly every day. If it’s challenging for you, or you’re feeling off one day, it’s better to do a little less and feel fresh for the next workout than to unnecessarily push for more one day and negatively affect the session or the rest of your week.

Sets and reps can, and should, vary from session to session, with reps typically in the 5-10 range for most exercises. The exception are swings, which can go higher in reps. Sets of all exercises will range from 2-10.

BREAKDOWN OF PROGRAM

  • Done almost every day of the week
  • 5-10 reps per exercises
  • 2-10 sets per exercise
  • Do what you can for that day
  • Choose reps and sets based on bell selection, experience, energy, and available time.
  • Don’t overdo it in any one workout

EXAMPLE DMPM WORKOUT DAY

CARRY: Pick up your kettlebell and walk with it in a suitcase carry fashion for some time, switching arms as necessary for a simple warmup.  

The carry encourages good posture while warming up the core.  

GOBLET SQUAT: After the carries, raise the kettlebell to the goblet position and perform some prying goblet squats, focusing on opening the hips and elongating the spine. 

PUSH-UPS: Next, place the kettlebell down and perform a set of pushups, only doing around 50% of what your max set would be.

SWINGS: Set up your bell for your a medium-hard set of swings. Knock those out.

REPEAT: Then perform squats, pushups, and swings again for the desired number of sets.  

COOL-DOWN: To finish, pick up the bell and take another walk with it, as a cool-down of sorts.

Take a couple of minutes to stretch, focusing on the hips and front of the shoulders.  A half kneeling hip flexor stretch and doorway chest stretch are good options, or alternatively the pump-stretch will cover both of those bases at the same time.

That’s it! 

ADD SOME VARIETY IF DESIRED

Feel free to adjust the exercises here and there. Swings can be two-handed, one-handed, hand to hand, or even snatches sometimes.  

Pushups can be done in any manner you choose, but kettlebell overhead presses can be subbed in from time to time.  Squats can be replaced with lunges on occasion.

The general rule is to perform movements you’re competent with, in a set-rep range that is on the edge of challenging but no more, and to do this workout daily if possible, or as your body allows.

The DMPM is a slightly more “well-rounded” version of a minimalist program that can be performed with only one kettlebell that will keep you feeling fresh and energetic while away from the gym. Perfect for your simple home kettlebell workout needs.

And as always, feel free to reach out to an F5 strength coach for guidance and any clarification about exercise selection or performance.

Coach Eric Addis, NASM CPT, Corrective Exercise Specialist, SFG 1

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