I have to admit, before our interview I expected Sam Dancer and Danny Nichols to be very different. Opposites, even.
After judging the book covers I imagined that Sam was this really intense, powerful meathead type. I had seen all of the crazy lifting videos – 405 for 22 reps in the back squat, 405 hang clean, 310 snatch, 660 pull – the guy is a beast, there’s no question. But coupled with the wild, braided hair, the nose ring, the raw energy, the notorious powerlifting methods, I thought I knew the story. But despite his impressive strength and intensity, Sam was one of the friendliest, kindest guys I can recall meeting. It was a real pleasure.
Danny is no less powerful in any way. This beast is capable of clean and jerking over 400 pounds, which is very, very impressive for a Crossfit athlete. Judging by his cover I expected a hyper-intense, quite serious, Ivan Drago type of persona. Imagine my surprise when we discovered a very relaxed, jubilant, wholly uninhibited Danny ready to pounce on the mic and take the city of Las Vegas by storm. To say he was intense doesn’t quite do the job. I just sat back and watched him play and do his thing, like a giant, ravenous bear running around in fresh spring grass.
There’s plenty to chew on in this meaty episode of the show, but two pearls seem to stand out and shine brightest. First, never get in between Sam and Danny if they are squaring up to bump chests. You will be crushed and ground down into a fine powder. Likewise, never stand in the way of Danny and a FitAide spiked with Jack Daniels. He will go through you! Second, you should note that these two beasts actually couldn’t be more different in many respects. One is calm and cool, while the other is about as subtle as a molotov cocktail. You could say that Sam is the result of a conjugate experiment, while Danny is the product of an well thought out and regimented style of training. But these details don’t matter nearly as much as you would think. What does matter is that both of these guys are having a blast being beastly. They drive each other. They recognize just how different they are, they learn from that, they are looking for ways to get stronger all the time. That’s what makes the difference.
To see more of Sam Dancer and Danny Nichols, make sure to check out the inaugural season of the NPGL coming this fall. Sam will be slamming heavy barbells for the San Francisco Fire, and Danny will be a professional beast for the Phoenix Rise.
P.S. If you’re going to be jacked and super strong like Sam and Danny, then you also need to learn how to spot the barbell properly. Otherwise, somebody is going to end up getting smashed! Don’t worry, though. This week on TechniqueWOD Doug’s going to tell you everything you need to know about spotting the squat. Check out the episode here.