Never Quit, Never Die

It’s 3 weeks post-op and my bicep is almost at full extension. Pain has diminished greatly and I’m finding my bicep brace and general movements to be more and more bearable. Mornings suck. Getting dressed sucks. Not doing Strongman sucks… but you know what doesn’t suck? Having the ability to step into the gym every day for a chance to get better because that’s champions do right? They show up.

Mind Set

Every training sessions starts with this generic term “Mind Set”. Often seen all over Instagram on countless black and white memes with some impossibly huge dude or some fully loaded bar with weight that wasn’t actually squatted… but my bicep is torn and my spine is “different”, so now what? What do I say to myself? What do I plan when all my planning is planning on planning? When every step, lift, bend, and turn can potentially piss of my back for good or re-injure this Lucky Fin of mine. Well, it’s not always about that saying. Instead, it’s about the bitter taste of acceptance, of not running away from the obstacle at hand and the discipline of accountability. Every day I step into the gym is a beautiful reminder that I am one step closer to that battlefield. It is a visual representation of what I have dedicated my life to becoming. It doesn’t matter whether its a single arm press, a leg curl I’ve avoided for years or a lightly loaded hack squat. I am the guy who is making that one arm hammer curl look like its the last PR of his life. My mind set is that of a wounded animal. Dangerous yet cunning. Willing yet acting on strategic hesitation. I am biding my time healing wounds to allow my mind and my body to unleash in full force when the time is earned. My mind set comes from the acceptance of the hardships I have caused on myself and the ever lasting love of going to war with them on a daily basis. No matter how large and physically limiting or how mentally staggering it can be, mind set comes from acceptance, accountability and self courage.



As with all the members of the broken bicep club, the safety Squat bar is going to be in my arsenal for the time being. I have the ability to flex and squeeze my right arm which allows for a decent amount of bracing. Due to only one arm being available, Brian and I have been approaching the back squat very carefully and continue to err on the side of caution while moving forward. I’m continuing to follow the 10/20 protocol we used during major back rehab and de loading every 3rd week without question.


Warm ups:

  • Morning 10 min walk
  • McGill big 3 (modified)
  • Banded Goblet squat 10×3
  • Banded monster walk 4 x 50ft


  • SSB Squat 10×1
  • GHR 10×3-4 reps (perfect form and no stress on spine)
  • Belt Squat Marches 3 x 2 mins (braced entire time)
  • Sled Pull 3 x 250ft (straps around belt to avoid using bicep)
  • Single Leg GM 5 x 5/5


After Thoughts:

If you’ve read my previous blogs, Instagram or know me in real life, some of these words might come off as repetitive or dramatically consistent. At times I can get so lost in real life stressors that the constant reminders of my mental mantras and uniform words are my guiding stars. Within the realms of training, consistency breeds discipline and discipline is the building block of mastery. I hope that some of you reading this find solace in the battle of hardships. That progress  starts when you wake up and is only fueled the moment you walk into the gym. The battle back from injury, doubt and fear is won the moment we become accountable and plan accordingly with our programing and the proper mind set to execute what needs to be done.


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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