MDLP Operation Joocy Juice and the broken bicep

After rehabbing a spine injury all last year (and for many  years to come) I recently got back into Strength training. Unfortunately, during my first few weeks back into strongman I tore my right bicep tendon during a light Atlas Stone lift. Although this has placed my competitive outlook on the back burner, the discipline remains the same. I will continue to grow stronger but not at the expense of my hard earned spine health or bicep recovery.

Back rehab protocol and philsophy  Gift Of Injury

Training Methodology and how I’m moving forward 10/20 Life


Due to that tasty little bicep tendon tear, my current strength program has shifted towards a more body building approach. For the first time in a long time I am using body building machines to facilitate some training as many of my main lifts are limited. Brian and I are approaching these new variables with caution and patience. Due to my previous spine injuries, any time I approach a new movement or stressor I like to keep both the intensity and reps per set low. This allows my back to adapt to the new factors without an increasing the possibility “spine relapse”. With my current bicep injury, it is very difficult to get optimal bracing and dual Cam tightness for some movements, so we are being very judicious on how to move forward. In other words, let’s not be an idiot here MDLP. Take smart steps, train with a purpose, and get the sexiest(er) legs ever.



I’ll be honest… the motivation to train has dropped some. Having touched and felt strongman implements after a YEAR off from training and then having it stripped away in the blink of an eye was brutal to the say the least. Luckily it is not motivation that makes us champions, it’s discipline. My back cooperated during my hack squats and leg extensions with little to no discomfort. Besides walking around like a new born rhino, waking up the next morning was a pleasant surprise. No back pain, no nerve discomfort and a positive outlook.

Thirty seconds into the video above you can see a sweet wardrobe change and my second day of lifting. These baby rhino geriatrics are actually planned out modifications of the McGill Big 3. I can’t use my right arm, so what? Where there is a will there is a way. McGill Big 3 and walking are major players in my life and we have found a way to continue to apply them despite my current limitations.  With my arm bent I am able to flex my bicep, squeeze my hand and add some serious bracing to all my movements. This was a welcome affirmation during training and allowed for safe movements. Although my bicep is a little sore, which is understandable 9 days post op, I am optimistic about the months to come. Part of rehab is maintaining a realistic yet positive outlook. It is about believing in yourself, your body and those guiding you along the way. If that message isn’t constantly drumming in your spirit, prepare to lose more battles in the future. The rehab road is not for the faint of heart.


Warm ups for all current training days:

  • Modified McGill Big 3
  • McGill Banded squat 10×3
  • Face pulls 3×20
  • Light monster walks if applicable

Day 1: Legs and peach bottom

  • Hack Squat (facing in) 10×5 235#
  • Hack squat (45 degree) 10×5 180#
  • Leg ext 5×20
  • Leg curls 4×15
  • Body weight lunge ladder 40/40, 30/30, 20/20, 10/10
  • Suitcase carry 3 x 150ft

Day 2: Chesticles and bicep (see what I did there?)

  • McGill Bench press 4×15
  • D Bell incline press 4×15
  • Single band fly 3×15
  • Hammer curl 3×15
  • Monster walks 4 x 50ft
  • Suitcase carry 3 x150ft
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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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