Many people concentrate on working their arms, abs, back and hips, but neglect exercising their legs. Your legs play an important role in your everyday activities. They support your body and are responsible for walking, running, stooping, reaching and sitting. To ignore these muscles impairs your overall health, diminishes your well-being and increases your risk of injury. Calf and shin exercises stretch, strengthen, firm and tone these muscles promoting healthy and contoured legs.
Calf raises strengthen your shin and calf muscles. Stand straight with your face toward the wall and feet hip-width apart and 12 inches from the wall. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder-height. Maintain a straight leg and lift your heels off the floor. Hold this position for five seconds and return your heels to the floor. Perform this exercise 20 times. For a total lower leg workout, turn both feet inward, with the toes of the left foot at 2 o'clock and the toes of the right foot at 10 o'clock. Raise your heels, hold for five seconds and lower your heels. Perform 20 times. Turn your feet outward, with the toes of your left foot facing 10 o'clock and the toes of your right foot facing 2 o'clock, and repeat the exercise.
This exercise stretches your calf muscles and increases flexibility. Stand straight with your feet together and arms extended at your sides. Take a big step forward on your right foot. Lower your body and place your hands palms-down on the floor on each side of your right foot. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your extended left leg. Push your hips downward stretching your calf and groin area. Stop when you feel a slight pull in your muscles. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Switch legs and perform the exercise. Execute the exercise 10 times with each leg.
Cycling, walking, running and backpacking on flat and hilly terrain provide a thorough calf and shin workout. As you perform these activities, your lower leg muscles work against the resistance that is created by gravity. Stair climbing supplies the uphill and downhill movement that produces a solid calf and shin workout. Jumping rope generates the up-and-down heel movement that strengthens your calf and shin muscles.
Jump and Stretch
This exercise works the lower and upper legs. Slowly move downward as you shift your hips backward until your heels start to lift off the floor. Keep your face forward and your back straight as you extend your arms behind you. Pause briefly and forcefully jump upward, extending your feet and legs and propelling your arms in the air over your head as high as possible. Land on the middle of your feet and roll onto your heels as you bend your knees, move your hips backward and lower your body to perform the exercise again. Execute the exercise 15 times.