Pride and ego is a goal killer in the gym. Many folks feel that they need to do everything all out or else it is cheating or pointless. This is true for certain things when it comes to fitness, but certainly not all.
People come in all shapes and sizes. With that notion people come in all different fitness levels. Some have certain strengths and weaknesses, and some are limited to what they can do because of circumstances outside of their control.
When it comes to performing reps, there is a stigma that anything “assisted” is pointless because you are not giving it “your all”. The belief is it is better to fail at doing something the right way than to succeed at doing it the wrong way. That belief is spot on, however, that is not the scenario when dealing with reps that are assisted.
Gyms now are equipped with machines that allow a person to perform a rep in full range of motion while taking away much of the resistance that would in other ways limit them to doing even one rep. Take the assisted dip/pull-up machine, some people avoid it because it is seen as “not the same” as the real deal when it comes to a dip and pull-up. This needs to be looked at from a certain point of view.
You see, exertion and effort, like other things, is relative. A person that is able to knock out 10 strict pull-ups or 10 strict dips has a physical ability to do so. Now this can be because they trained their body to do so or they are just naturally able to do so, regardless their effort and exertion is sufficient for that work load. When a person can only do 10 pull-ups or 10 dips on a assisted machine, that exertion and effort is sufficient for that individual. The objective is to perform the rep count and in time the muscles will adapt and get stronger and either the body will be able to perform more assisted reps or more strict reps than before. Regardless, the person gets stronger. A person that wears a sling to bench press is getting assistance in the push. In time, they end up getting the muscles conditioned and strengthened to push more weight more times without the sling and with it.
You get the gist here?
So, next time you avoid that assisted dip or pull-up machine because you feel like it is a waste of time because you would rather do 1 or 2 good pull-ups that 12-15 assisted, swallow your pride and get on it! In time you will see all you are doing is working the muscles the way you have wanted to the whole time and in time you will get stronger too.
The very thing you have avoided is the very thing that will get you to do what you have always wanted to do; strict and clean reps.