This article is part of an athlete spotlight series that we run for The Strength Agenda called Force Feeds. The purpose of this series is to bring to light men and women across a wide array of strength sports and give you an inside look as to how they get it done. While there are a lot of similarities between the best of the best, there are also subtle differences that are what separate them from the rest of the field.
With that being said, I present to you the latest addition to the series, Sam Dancer. The first time I had heard of Sam was when he had been signed by the San Francisco Fire of the newly formed Grid League. I then saw him in action for the first time at the 2014 Crossfit Games competing in the team portion for Conjugate Black. In the middle of a grueling competition Sam deadlifted 655 pounds in one workout blowing away the field. Since then he has been tearing up the Grid with his various feats of strength and was cool enough to do an interview with us. Check out how he goes about his daily routine and what separates him from the rest of the competition.
- Thanks for chatting with us. Can you tell me a little bit about your sport/background? What were your first interests? How many sports did/have you participated in? How did you get to where you are now?
My background is primarily football. I was a 270# running back for a d1 college. I also participated in track and field at Western Illinois University. I played hockey, baseball, basketball, wrestling, and soccer growing up.
- What are some of your accolades you have collected to date?
I honestly do not have many credentials or accolades. I was an All-State linebacker in high school and academic All-Conference my last 3 years of college. I have placed in the top 7 in the Open in both North Central and Central East regions. I was on a team that won the Central East and placed 2nd at the Games. I held the record for 2 strength events in this years CrossFit Regionals and Games 295 hang snatch and 655 dl
- How important do you believe food/nutrition is to being a better athlete? Any specific plans or ideologies you follow?
My answer to this questions usually goes something like this. What you need to focus on is the development of character, which speaks to your ability to follow through and start to string together day after day of efficient action on a very basic level. If you are working without the strength of character and the ability to follow through then all the complex talk about nutrition and how you need to eat to be a better athlete will be of little value to you.
- What does your supplement plan look like?
Oh boy. I go in waves. It’s really dependent on training volume. There are times I won’t do a single thing.
The majority of the time it looks like this
4 hmb tabs throughout the day
.15 grams of creatine per pound of BW
BCAA supplementation all day
Post workout shake with 30g of protien and 30g of dextrose after each workout.
- What recovery techniques do you use if any? What have you found works best and what have you found useless/less effective?
Sleep!!! Try to get as close to 9 hours as possible.
I take about an hour to warm up. I foam roll first as a diagnostic tool to figure out what I might need to put emphasis on. Then I usually attack my t-spine with a ball. Then I do anywhere from 60-100 reverse hyper and 24-50 glute ham raise. I do some monster walks with a hip circle and then I spend some time getting my front rack prepped. I will finish up with some crossover/scap work and bamboo bar pressing.
- Walk us through a day in your life: what do you eat? When and how long do you train?
I only eat once a day usually dinner or a late lunch. I like working out fed but on an empty stomach. I usually wake up around 8 and I’m in the gym by 9. Warmed up and ready to go by 10:30. I will usually have grid style workouts until 2:30 with my San Fran Fire team. My personal workouts will be done between 3 & 4:30 I will do a max effort/strain day where I try to lift as much as possible or I will have a speed emphasis day. After my main lift I will finish up with assistance exercises. I usually do some unilateral work and a whole bunch of isolation. 6-8 small exercises/assistance work + wod.
Looks really similar to what you see Jesse Burdick, Mark Bell, and Louie Simmons doing but more “CrossFitty”.
- What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you in regards to training and getting stronger? Anything you would like pass on to someone trying to get where you are?
Same thing as food:
What you need to focus on is the development of character, which speaks to your ability to follow through and start to string together day after day of efficient action on a very basic level. If you are working without the strength of character and the ability to follow through then all the complex talk about what you want to be will be of little value.
- What is your favorite lift or body part to train? What is your least favorite lift or body part to train?
I love training my lower back, glutes and hamstrings. I don’t get excited about doing ab work.
- What is the most impressive feat of strength you have accomplished to date?
Back squat 405×22
295 kneeling jump was pretty cool. I benched 405×8 and squatted 630×3 in college.
655 deadlift at the games after running 2miles, Fran, and a sled push.
- Plug time! What are some projects you are working on and is there anything you would like us to check out? Thanks for your time.
I currently compete for the San Francisco Fire in the National Pro Grid League . I’m hoping to do some seminars this year after the season is over so stay tuned for more information to come out about that. I usually keep my life updated on Instagram @samdancing so follow me on there.