MDLP: Event days and Comebacks

There is something so painfully sweet about an event day. Granted, mine started at 530am but aside from that, there is a feeling in the air that makes it all worth while. Saturday mornings have an entirely different meaning to Strongman lifters. Your whole week revolves around this magical day of blood, pain, battered bones an rage. I try not to let training affect my mood outside of the gym but it’s almost impossible not to smile when you are going to tackle a dangerous implement or approach a PR. With an incredibly busy Saturday both on a business and personal level, I knew I had to get training started very early. It is not easy getting a circus D bell PR at 6:15am but with the right mindset, lifting partners and goals… it just might be possible.

Hitting a circus d bell PR a year post surgery was a beautiful way to start the day. Aside from residual old man pains in the elbows, I was able to attack the yoke and keg cleans unscathed. I lost my elbow position on the first my 190# d bell press but was able to recover and push through. After my top single I would drop to 160# for some reps and was pleasantly surprised at the speed and power in each rep. My arch nemesis remains as such, but dancing with her is always a pleasure. After the d bell I was able to carry a 700 yoke for 2 sets both sub 10 seconds during 50 foot runs. The yoke always comes with a price for me and although it used to be one of my best events it is currently a good fight. Events would end with some keg cleans with a 275 keg to save my back a little as the final part of the keg load has a high cost to benefit ratio and I often do this event sparingly. Over all this last Saturdays events were awesome.

Work Load:

  • Circus D bell top single
  • 160# for max reps in 30 seconds
  • Yoke 2 x 50ft with 700#
  • Keg Cleans 3×5 at 275#

To put things into perspective, 1 year ago from writing this log I was in a a brace with a recently torn bicep. As time would progress, pressing a 5 pound d bell was an incredible day. I still remember the happiness I felt when I did my first push up let alone my first 10 pound curl! I don’t explain this to get a sob story but to reinforce the fact that this is not a fad for me. Personal growth through the iron, strongman and physical expression is my way of life. These memories build my strength but can haunt my mind when I approach each implement. I have written about this before but it is a constant fight for me. As much as I have a roar I also have the echos of lost battles and pain. It truly is a walk through the eye of hurricane for me before each and every lift. There is the calm winds of confidence, the dusting rain of experience and the looming storm of failure and injury. It is a whirlwind of emotions, a dance with the devil …even if it’s for one last song. It is in this silent storm that I find the will to continue. These moments make every single second of the lift a battle worth while. The moment there is a”go”, the right song on the radio, or the hands touch the corse steel of an implement.. there is an undeniable rush of acute readiness. At this very moment there is no going back and the killer instinct needs to be at the fore front of your mind. Fangs sharpened, blood eyes and rage through your bones, there is no other way to push the human limit. There is no other way to chase greatness or to press on. Think heavily on this…


Never Stray from The Way


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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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