A Mega Shin Workout

Muscular calves
Woman working out calves at gym. (Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

The lower legs are a part of the body often forgotten in strength training, and less popular than calf workouts, is shin strengthening. Your tibialis anterior runs along the front of your lower legs, and strengthening this muscle can make the difference between skinny lower legs and strong, shapely lower legs. Perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each shin muscle-strengthening exercise.

Resistance Band Flexes

Resistance bands are an effective tool for strengthening many muscles in your body, including your tibialis anterior. Wrap one end of a resistance band around the arch of your foot. Secure the opposite end to a fixed object facing the front of your body. Sit on the floor or on the edge of a chair with your legs straight, flat on the floor. Flex the balls of your feet toward your body, then toward the fixed object away from your body.

Angled Shin Press

A leg press machine can be used to strengthen the front of your lower legs. Use an appropriate weight on the machine in which you are barely able to complete a full set. This will help you build large, strong lower leg muscles rather than long, lean muscle. Place the heels of your feet on the upper-most part of the foot plate so that the balls of your feet are not touching the plate. Push the balls of your feet downward, then lift them up as high as you can until you feel the stretch of your front lower leg muscles.

Reverse Calf Raises

Reverse calf raises are performed much like traditional calf raises that work the back side of your lower leg. However, to work the front of your lower legs, stand on your heels on the edge of a stair or step -- such as an aerobic step -- and allow the balls of your feet and your toes to remain suspended in the air. Lift the front part of your feet up and down, with your heels remaining stationary on the step. If necessary, hold on to a fixed, sturdy object to maintain balance throughout this exercise. For further muscle strengthening, perform this exercise carefully with a barbell across your shoulders or with a dumbbell in each hand.

Jumping Rope

A 155-lb. person who jumps rope for an hour burns around 744 calories. However, jumping rope is not only an effective calorie-burning aerobic exercise, it also strengthens the muscles of the calves, including the tibialis anterior. Additionally, because you need to burn calories to shed fat from all over your body in order to show off your developed muscles, jumping rope will be especially effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 75 minutes a week of intense aerobic activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity. Jumping rope can also act as the warm-up portion of your mega shin workout. Warming up prior to stretching is always a good idea.

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