MDLP: Front Squat meet the Deadlift

Finally the Strongman tides have shifted my way again. I am officially 12 weeks post bicep surgery and my new robot pieces are feeling better by day. I know it sounds cliche but the changes in mobility and range of motion are happing daily. After 12 weeks of taking it easy it’s time to go full steam ahead!! Juuuuust kidding. As much as my lucky fin wants to break loose and start deadlifting the world, I have to remain steadfast on all the lessons I learned with my back injury. Despite having a few more extra de load weeks due to real lie scenarios, Brian and I have finally started to look forward on the concept of heavy weights. I know to some of you the idea of lifting heavy every week is just another day at the office but due to these back to back injuries, the idea of finally hitting some low-end heavy numbers has me pumped. In this session I got to push the front squat and the deadlift.

Shout out to the folks giving back to Team PRS:


Captain Jacked


The Front Squat:

As mentioned in my previous article, I love the front squat and with a possible 300 pound squat next week, I was looking forward to testing my body. The Battle Axe recently acquired a Kilo plate set and I was feeling fancy. Worked up to 2 sets of doubles at 274.372683927kg. The weights felt heavier than expected but my form remained pristine and that was my main objective. Currently squatting with weight lifting shoes and wearing no socks has really allowed me to grip my foot better in my shoe. Typically, while wearing socks  in heeled lifting shoes, I could never really feel my foot grip tight. In fact, many times I could feel my foot slipping forward as my Risto Oly shoes have an aggressive heel. Socks off, post lift baby powder (to fight the stank)and my squats feeling dandy(er). Perfection is in the details, and at this stage in my life, I’ll take any advantage I can get.

The Dead Lift:

Last week I got to hit a double over hand deadlift for the first time in months. After gaining some real confidence and hurting my bicep, I kicked up the weights this session. Brian gave me the green light to push this lift as long I stayed double over hand (optimize lifters wedge) and rebuild all the grip and forearm strength I had lost the last few months. Having had bicep therapy earlier in the day, I did not want to push too fast. My back feeling great has boosted my lifting confidence but I did not want to let that blind the fact that 3 months healing post surgery was not much time at all. Stayed at 224.5463475 (5 repeating)kg for my entire work load. I felt amazing. No real bicep pain other than fatigue and old joint pains. Everything remained in tact and my form remained consistent for all 8 sets. The aim was to set myself up for next while maintaining great form and not hurting my bicep. With event day a few days away, things are feeling damn good for the summer of “Don’t Call it a Comeback!”

Sets, reps, and exact fork loud before.

Warm up:

  • McGill Big 3
  • Banded goblet squats 6×2
  • Band crab walks 3×10 secs
  • Thoracic Stretches

Work Load:

  • Front squats 15×2 worked up to 125kg (fancy huh?) x 2 x 2
  • Deadlift 8×1 all sets at 224
  • GHR 4×5
  • Single leg RDL 4×8/8
  • Band Hamstring Curls 4×25
  • Banded Monster Walks 4x50ft
  • Sled Drag 1 x 1,000ft
  • Stir the pot 1 x 60/60 each way

It was Long but great day.Focused on hammering away at the posterior muscles and maintaining a strong emphasis on trunk work. If you’re feeling sassy, give it a try and get back to me. Happy hunting.

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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