MDLP: Winning the Day

A year and a half ago the idea of me not being able to lift ever again was an actual reality. The fear that I would never be the same or as strong was my daily bitter pill. Right when things got better life decided to challenge me with a torn bicep. I get it, I say this a lot and I constantly remind myself because these words and these logs are a sneak peak into my brain and my passions. As much as some entries can be empowering, others will tell of the visceral fears of a man fighting for the last lights of fire in his body. These are mental conversations, morning mantras and battles I tackle daily and maybe some of you can relate, hopefully most of you don’t have to. Despite my travels, fatigue and current patient recovery, I decided to make this training day meaningful.

The attitude of success, passion and work ethic (as said by Ray Williams) needs to come with you inside your gym bag. My knee is still being a little funky and my bicep feels weak as shit, so how could I win this day? I knew I had to come into the gym with a realistic yet positive attitude that would allow me to focus on small wins, rather than just the end game goal becoming my sole GPS. Thanks to great therapy from one of my lifters Kevin (@kevinfixme) and attention to detail, I know my knee could handle some squat singles if and only if my form was perfect. Challenge accepted.

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We have funneled some of my knee issues into what we think is Patella tendonitis. Very common amongst athletes but just as annoying as it is common and not to be taken lightly. I wear very, very light olympic knee wraps during some of squat days to protect my knee but not so much tension that I get a false idea of the weight I’m doing. Having this little knee friend really makes me focus on a good dissent during squat and emphasis on using my glutes more than ever. My goal was to hit 3 wheels on the buffalo bar with no major pain or breakdown in form. Before I knew it I was squatting 325 with no pain and my form was feeling damn good. The squat came as a surprising success and reminded me that despite certain limitations or past injuries, there is always a way to move the preverbal “gym dirt” with a shovel and on some days with a spoon.

Its a Trap:

My good friend the trap bar decided to make an appearance this week. Why? Well because it’s a very common pick for strongman, would test the strength of my bicep and causes me way less stress on my knee during lock out. Traditionally one of my best lifts, the trap bar was something I did not want to rush back into. Keeping the reps low and listening to my bicep as much as possible, I was able to get some great pulls in. I ended with a 455# pull with no straps or belt and was able to execute this pain free. Still a lot of tightness in my bicep and elbow but nothing that has me concerned. The road to recovery with this arm is going to be a bit of a marathon but nothing some serious work and attention to detail can’t fix.


Warm Up:

  • Big 3
  • Banded Goblet Squats 3×5
  • Band Flies 2×25
  • Band Curls 1×30
  • Single leg RDL 1×10/10

Work Load:

  • Squats 10×1 (worked up to 325#)
  • Trap Bar Deads 8×1 (ended with 445# for a double)
  • Single Leg RDL 4×8/8
  • Banded Monster Walks 4x50ft
  • Suit Case Carry 3×150/150


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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