The Last Rep Rule & Virtuosity
"Last Rep Rule is an idea that I should move better on my last rep than on my first one (since I had all the previous repetitions to practice for my last one) and that my workout is not over before my last rep is a good one. "
The essence of the goal - good movement & improved skill - is a great goal to aim for. Everyone has witnessed a gym-mate doing 1/2 hearted pushups or ugly deadlifts in the spirit of 'getting done'. But what is getting done in that situation is much less valuable, and potentially dangerous, than what could be gained from committing yourself to quality reps, through exhaustion & even under a time cap. If you watch the best of the best in any field, you will rarely see their form crumble - even at the last second of the last competition. The common response is "They could do more". Why? Because the common man's perception of judging what is 'hard' is when someone's body folds under the weight, their bar path diverts, or their kips becomes labored and jerky. But a professional in their sport knows, trains & lives in a way that reinforces good 'reps'. This doesn't just make them champions because its faster or more efficient, but also because injury is not a sign of success or prowess.
The article also touches on the counter problem to this. Intensity. You do not have to trade one for the other, and when they both coincide beautifully, you have achieved virtuosity. "Virtuosity: the ability to make difficult movements seem effortless, even beautiful."
"How does the way you moved in this workout translate to how you will move and feel in the next one? Success is “doing your best today to become the best you are capable of becoming”. This applies equally to attention you put in the quality of movement as it does to intensity of your effort. Virtuosity (doing the common uncommonly well) is your ability to maximise these two together, not just one or the other."
Read the full article here: The Last Rep Rule - CrossFit Thames