"I've heard free weights are best but is there any benefit to using machines?" -- Todd, 23, NYC

It depends on your goals. It also depends which specific machines you're referring to and if you're planning to use machines exclusively or work machines into your routine. I feel the balance of the routine -- more so than just machines vs. free weights  -- plays the largest role in training.

Now that I gave the politically correct answer, if you plan on doing a fancy machine circuit, then you should also lift with a little pink dress on.

If you are reading this article I assume you are a younger or middle aged man. Don’t for one second believe that machines with light weight and strict high reps will make you big and strong. That's bull. If your goals are to get strong and thick, then use free weights, while occasionally throwing in certain select machine work.

Most people do not lift nearly heavy enough. Too many men lift like women and not enough women lift like men. Many guys should train way harder then they do. Quit making excuses. Hit the barbells and dumbbells and leave the machines to the feeble.

Put some weight on the bar and put the bar on your back and “man up and squat deep.” Take pride in your strength training. Leave the candy ass workouts to someone else. Squat, bench, deadlift, military press, barbell rows and any big, compound movements.  That's what all the big boys do! Learn to push yourself you will love the results.

Rick Scarpulla, the creator of The Ultimate Athlete Training Program, is a highly sought-after and renowned strength, speed and conditioning coach who works in developing top high school, college and professional athletes and programs throughout North America. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter or visit his website.