MDLP: Patience with a Smile

I am quickly being reminded of my sports age as I make my return into the strength world. I am not saying I am this ancient old fart but I am certainly identifying with my “Old Man Logan” comic books more and more. I turn 34 this month and I am, and have been, very aware of how my bodies aches and cracks need to be considered as I start to ramp up for December. Aside from being in my 30’s in a sport dominated by 20 year olds, years of rough sports and bad training decision have placed me on a very practical path. It’s so easy to walk that I find myself questioning it. I am not here complaining and by no means do I regret any of the competitive sports I did, what I am saying is I need to start acting my age and respect the fact that I need to do less so that I can do more.

The process is much easier said than done and I still find myself struggling with the fact that taking more days off and respecting the de-load is more valuable than what I hit on the log press. I still remain adamant about following my structured program that takes into consideration my spine, as well as old injuries that have a great way of resurfacing but none of this is easy. This process takes a lot of trouble shooting, patience and above all else a visceral belief that I will make it. Some days I wake up and my knees ache, or my elbow, my back or my ego and I ask myself, “was it always like this? Or did I become a pussy?”. After almost 2 years off from any real training, these questions buzz around my head. I could sit there and argue with myself, read a book, or watch my youtube motivational speeches but that would be curing the symptom not the true cause.

Preparation is the key. Going home and analyzing my lifting videos, checking my form, looking at my previous numbers and seeing how my current programming is affecting my body. I am at a point now where my strength is coming back but I feel that I am rushing it. After having a good sit down with Brian and realizing I am guilty of pushing myself sometimes for the wrong reasons, I am re writing the script… again.. and then again. The end game goal remains absolutely the same, but I am not going to make this trip in 12 parsecs. With December being close yet still very far away, I have established a good base for now and I’ll be focusing on creeping up slower. My plans are to keep the intensity relatively light, use current Pr’s (not ones from 2 years ago) as a my guidelines, and treat my fluff and buff days with less intensity. I’ll be documenting this more and more as the weeks go by but building up slowly to end of the month goals at a patient pace will be the focus. In times of mental and physical break down in the athlete world, having the power of knowledge is the absolute key. With programming, experience and a solid gym and team behind me.. all of the choices are completely in my paws… and that allows me to sleep a little better at night.

I wanted 275 for 2 reps on the log and everything leading up to it felt great. As you can see I am wearing flats during this press in an attempt to piss me knees of less. Unfortunately I don’t have the ankle mobility for that and it caused more knee issues.It’s  something I will attempt to develop over time and trouble shoot as i go forward. Ankle mobility is something I focus on daily and using flats during my press might be placed in my arsenal one day. Either way the day was very successful and I left the gym feeling confident in my strength.

Warm up:

  • Big 3
  • TKE 3 x20/20
  • Band Apart Pull Apart 1×80
  • Single Leg RDL 2×10/10
  • Band Push Downs 1×50
  • Band Curls 1×50
  • D Bell Shoulder Press 2×20


  • Log Press 5×2 (worked up to 275)
  • Block Pulls 5×1 (worked up t my last 3 sets at 475, with straps)
  • Suit Case Carry 3×150/150ft
  • Stir the Pot 1×100/100

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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