MDLP: Blood, Sweat and Flesh

I had to find another competition, as the one I was planning on doing will not have enough lifters to make it an Arnold qualifier. The news left me a little gutted and I cant say it felt good to have to start looking elsewhere when I had 6 weeks to go. Both physically and mentally I was preparing and its hard to ramp down when you were just starting to ramp up. Having to push back my goals 4 weeks does not seem like a lot but a 10-12 week training cycle has now been made into a 16 week marathon and the body can only hold on to so much. That being said, I am not complaining but merely explaining the realities of the sport. Sometimes you can be signed up and ready to go but the amount of competitors, location, promoter preferences etc can de-rail you very quickly.

Trouble shooting the issue leaves me with a few paths. I can skip the comp all together and use this strength cycle to get Strongman strong and hit some personal numbers, ramp back down and ramp up to get ready for Kentucky, or have a little fun and maybe do a Powerlifitng meet. I can tell you that although there are 3 options only 2 really make sense, and only one of those two actually charge me up. For the time being I am trying to set my sights on the plat plus happening in Kentucky on May 11th and will try to remain the course. I am going to use the next few weeks to focus on some have singles and push the envelope a little before settling back into a percentages game and fitness. In the meantime, I have been able to get my hands on the Atlas Stone again, Axel clean and press, and focus on a heavy deadlift.

This week I decided to focus on a heavy deadlift off the blocks. I focused on staying belt-less during the deadlift to keep myself honest but also not going beyond my limits. I trust my trunk enough and I had set my mind on 600. Block pulls are always a dance with the devil for me as that position always puts a good strain on my back. They day started off a little slow as preparing to host my own show in 5 weeks has caused some sleepless nights, but would end up with an awesome pull. There was a tangible fear in my belly and it was one I had welcomed back with open arms. Its a feeling in your gut that doesn’t run away until its time to pull, when your wraps are set and the initial strain of the weight is pulling on your bones, attempting to smash them against the floor. I felt it, I could feel it as I approached the Axel, no longer under the comforting hug of a belt and the echoing of my back history ringing loudly in my ears. I cannot hone my courage if I am not fighting for my life against fear. I have written about that once many times and I felt it Tuesday. It was glorious. I felt a rush like no other completing that pull, not because 600 is the heaviest in the world but because it was belt-less, pain free, and damn good fucking form. Blood, sweat and tears man.. it truly is. It is so cliché to say it but when the skin of your shins are falling off the bar, when your notes are blurred by dripping sweat, and when the roar comes from so many nights of holding back tears of doubt and sadness, then yea.. it is blood sweat and tears. Trust me.

 

Never Stray from The Way

MDLP

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Michael “MDLP” De La Pava is currently a competitive Strongman and owner of The Battle Axe Gym. Born in Miami, Florida into a Colombian household, Michael finished his schooling by attending Penn State University where he graduated with a Degree in Psychology. Having his roots in martial arts, he would go on to compete in various sports as a Muay Thai fighter, Powerlifter, and rugby player before committing himself fully to Strongman. During this time, he opened Miami’s first Strongman gym, The Battle Axe, where he currently coaches athletes from various disciplines including powerlifting, MMA fighters, Strongman, officers of multiple authorities and enlisted and active military operators. Competing in Strongman for over 6 years has given Michael the opportunity to rank as high as 15th in the nation (105kg), won Florida’s Strongest man (1st in 2014 and 2nd in 2015 in the 105kg class), lift and load a 420 pound Atlas stone, log press 335, pull 700, and most importantly, share the competitive battlefield with some of the best in the game. During this journey, Michael suffered what some would consider a potentially career-ending spine injury. It was at this time that Brian and Michael would begin working together to not only rehab his spine, allowing him to return to Strongman but also develop a new Strongman training program revolving around the 10/20 philosophy. Strongman and coaching have given Michael the opportunity to travel around the nation and the world to train, coach and be coached, as well as share ideas with various leaders in the strength community. Michael’s experience and network in strongman brings a welcome connection with the ever-growing sport of Strongman to the 10/20 team and PRS family.

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