I once had someone tell me that I would Snatch 150kg (330lbs) and Clean and Jerk 185kg (405lbs) in my lifetime. I believed him, until the training program he put me on crushed me. It was tons of reps and sets, and the amount of fatigue set in and I mistook it for injury. After, I jumped to a program with heavier weights and far fewer reps. I felt good for a while, but the weights were too heavy, I developed imbalances and eventually got hurt. It took me several months to recover.
In my case, my ambition preceded my willingness to go through the trials of what needed to happen. It ended in injury, and I am still no closer to lifting the weights that I was told I may lift.
In everything, there is a Due Process. The term, taken from the US Constitution, stands for fair and equal treatment through a course of legal proceedings if in a trial. Due process is the way almost all things work, from the time we're born life is filled with due processes.
In training, we cannot ignore due process. The best adaptations come from being prepared to receive them. In order to be prepared, we must have gone through the process that should have happened before. And while the process that everyone goes through differs, the process exists nonetheless.
When developing as an athlete, the due process comes in incremental steps from the time we start training.
First, we must learn how to move properly. We unlock the potential of our body, by learning how to control our own bodyweight and creating what is called proprioception. Proprioception is the awareness of your body within the space it occupies. Without the ability to know your body, your body's ability to achieve its potential in training decreases as moving into proper positions becomes increasingly difficult.
Second, we must accumulate volume in these good positions in order to create the muscle that will allow us to build maximal strength. Volume is the total number of reps and sets one does in a training session or training cycle. For athletes, this volume comes primarily in the form of compound, multi joint movements. Many times, this often comes in doing multiple sets of a range of reps. Throughout the course of development, the number of sets starts to increase for a time, and then drops off as quality muscle is built and proper movement patterns are ingrained.
Third, we then decrease the volume and increase the intensity of the movement. This means less reps, but higher weights. For many, this is the stage that we want to jump too. People always remember their high school bench press or squat record. Heck, even middle age men revel in those numbers. I get it, lifting weights is fun. I love to lift heavy things. Lifting heavy is highly satisfying. If you want to know serious training however, ask someone who squats 600lbs, and they'll probably be quick to point out the number of years they spent grinding away at sub-maximal sets and dripping sweat to the sound of clanking metal. It's not fun to lift light weights. Getting to this stage and out of it on the other side safely requires that you go through the first 2 stages beforehand.
In my own personal experience, my desire to lift heavy before I was ready took me from a double bodyweight squat to not being able to air squat in about 30 minutes (quite literally, that was what happened in that session). I ignored the due process of optimizing performance and jumped to where I wanted to be. Now, I'm not where I want to be because I had to take 2 giants leaps backwards. If only I had followed the due process.
My encouragement to you, the reader, is that you follow the Due Process. It's going to be a grind. It's probably going to be a grind. But the satisfaction of reaching your potential, knowing that you did it correctly, is greater than any training record or number of Instagram likes. So go train like you mean it, put your head down and grind away in the part of the Process you find yourself in.