Joel Corry column: Why training your legs is vital to a great physique
If you don't want to look like a chicken, don't train like one.
I'm talking about leg training, of course. For a lot of people starting out, training their lower body is at the very bottom of the list.
Everyone wants that six pack, the pecs and those massive guns - but anything below the waist is often an afterthought.
But if you want a great physique, leg day must come first.
Hands up who skips leg day to do arms or chest? I was that guy when I first started training at 16.
You never really think ‘right, I’ll train my legs’ - it seems like a waste of time. You think ‘who’s ever going to see my legs?’
But believe me, they do. I spent four years training my upper body into pretty decent shape, but I never touched my legs.
That was until those 'chicken legs' ended up splashed across the Daily Mail.
When Geordie Shore was on TV, me and my girlfriend Sophie got papped together on holiday at a swimming pool in Dubai.
They published the pictures and then the next minute my Twitter blew up with all these people tweeting me.
I had a big upper body but on the shots everyone was like ‘Oh My God, Joel doesn't train legs’.
It was a big kick up the arse.
I suppose I should thank the Daily Mail, because I turned my biggest weakness into my strongest asset and I did it in less than two years.
My focus became my legs. I started doing the foundation exercises like squats and leg presses. I was just training my quads and trying to work out what leg training was all about.
I started really light to get the technique right, because obviously you’ve got to know what you’re doing.
I built up strength and started seeing gains in my legs almost immediately. Because I had not trained them before, they responded very quickly. It was like training a virgin muscle.
Once your legs start growing, it starts releasing growth hormone in your body and you start feeling stronger all round.
It makes you feel more powerful. Training legs helps grow other areas of your body because you feel the extra power from having that solid base in your legs.
I started feeling those things coming through and I actually started to look forward to my leg sessions. It adds so many benefits. My other lifts were improving just because I felt more powerful. People have to wake up to it.
I built up my legs and then started throwing hamstring stuff in there too – I was really getting into it.
When I decided I was going to compete in the Miami Pro men's physique competition, I was thinking my legs were not on the level they needed to be. There was still a bit of difference between my upper body and my legs.
I just went crazy on them and started hitting them three times a week (I would normally advise just once or twice a week). My sessions were two or three hours long and I was training them sore.
It’s crazy to think I turned it around that quickly - it just goes to show what can be done on your weaknesses.
Just two years ago they were untrained 'chicken legs'. But now when people see my stage shots, the first thing people say is ‘your legs really dominate’.
Anyone out there who hasn’t focused on their legs, it will improve all areas of your physique - so make it a priority (and you don't want them ending up in the Daily Mail).
In my next JOE column I will show you how to transform those chicken legs with an awesome lower body workout.