Best Shin Exercises to Keep Your Lower Legs Strong

Personal Trainer and Client
Personal Trainer and Client

The Best Shin Exercises

Best Shin Exercises

Whether you’re an avid runner or just someone who enjoys getting out and doing a good workout on a regular basis, one thing that you should be making sure you do regularly is shin exercises.

Having shin exercises in place in your workout program is not only going to help to strengthen this muscle so you can see better overall running and physical activity performance, but they’re also going to help to reduce the chances that you ever suffer from shin splints.

Shin splints can be an extremely frustrating and debilitating injury to deal with and one that seems to come back time and time again, so by taking action to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent it, you can fully enjoy your workouts for months to come.

Let’s take a quick peek at the top shin exercises that you should be doing regularly.

Four of the Best Shin Exercises to Consider Adding to Your Exercise Program

Exercise 1:  Elevated Toe Walk

The first of the shin exercises to consider adding to your program are elevated toe walks. For this shin exercise you’re simply going to lift the toes up off the floor so you’re only balancing on your heels, and then once you’ve found your balance, you’ll proceed to walk directly across the room, keeping those toes elevated the entire time.

You may find this rather difficult at first, especially if you have weak shin muscles or poor balance, but keep practicing this shin exercise until you’re able to fully make it across the room and back, or the equivalent of 20 steps on each leg.

Exercise 2:  Toe Resistance Band Flexes

Toe Resistance Band Flexes

The second of the shin exercises that will help to really strengthen this muscle and prevent shin splints is a toe resistance band flex.

For this movement you’re going to wrap a resistance band around a stationary object about 10 feet from your body and then wrap the other end of the resistance band right around the foot.

From there, sit back on your bum so that the legs are extended in front of you and so that the resistance band is taught. Once there, flex the toe toward you so that you have to work against the resistance band, feeling the tension it creates in the muscle.

Be sure to perform this one of our shin exercises in as slow and controlled movement pattern as possible as that will be key to helping you see the best benefits.

Aim for fifteen to twenty reps per side and complete two sets total.

Exercise 3:  Toe Circles

The next of the shin exercises that closely resembles the toe flexes is a toe circle. This one is going to work the same muscle you did in the toe flexes, but now since you’re moving in a circular pattern it’s also going to get the muscles on the side of the shins working as well.

This is a great one to do as an overall lower leg exercise and will really help to strengthen the entire region. Sometimes people put too much emphasis just on the front shin muscle, which could cause the other areas to become weaker and injury may still result.

Exercise 4:  Calf Raises

Finally, the last of the shin exercises really isn’t a shin exercise per say, but important to include as well. That exercise is the calf raise.

It’s vital that you are making sure to maintain good muscular balance in the lower leg region so by wrapping up your shin exercises with the calf raises you will do just that.

Hold a set of dumbbells at your side and slowly rise up so that you’re standing on your toes. Pause and then lower back down to complete the rep. Aim for about ten to fifteen of these per set, completing three or four sets total.

So there you have the top shin exercises that you should know about and be performing regularly. Whether you choose to do these at the same time as you usual workout sessions or later on in the day is up to you, but just make sure that you’re doing them at least twice, if not three times per week in order to see the best muscle strength gains.

Shin Exercises FAQ


What else can I do if these shin exercises won’t get rid of shin splints?


Unfortunately most of the time there is nothing you can do to cure shin splints other than resting until you are better. If your shin splints go away after a period of rest, keep doing these shin exercises before and after your workouts. Another way to help prevent shin splints is to make sure you are wearing proper footwear. Before you start jogging again you may want to start a slow paced running program to make sure you don’t overload your shins and get recurring shin splints.

In addition to the Shin Exercises covered here, check out these posts for leg exercises, leg stretches, foot and ankle exercises, and more.

About Michael Behnken

Mike Behnken is a personal trainer who holds multiple NASM certifications and a MS in Exercise Science. Mike loves fitness, travel, and photography among many other interests.

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