How to Work the Muscle in Front of the Shin

Your shin muscles help to flex your feet.
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The tibialis anterior is the main muscle in front of the tibia, or shin bone, in your lower leg. The muscle assists in dorsal flexion -- bending your ankle so your toes move toward your shin -- and in turning your ankles sideways so the soles of your feet face each other. Standard calf raises and presses tend to focus on the muscles behind the tibia, such as the gastrocnemius and soleus. Reverse calf raises and presses typically target the tibialis anterior.

    Stretch the tibialis anterior by moving your toes away from your shins -- the opposite of the movement that the tibialis typically initiates. For example, stand erect, balance on one leg, then bend your knee and raise your heel. Grasp the raised heel with your hand, then simultaneously move the heel as close to your butt as you can and bend your ankle so your toes point upward. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds.

    Perform a body-weight reverse calf raise by standing on a calf block or a similar raised platform about 12 inches high. Step forward onto the block, then place your heels on the block’s far edge with the rest of your feet hanging over the block. Put one hand on a chair or other nearby secure object for balance. Exhale as you flex your ankles and raise your toes as high as possible. Inhale as you lower your toes as far as you can without touching the floor, to complete one repetition.

    Hold a barbell across the backs of your shoulders, or grasp a dumbbell in one hand to do the reverse calf raise with free weights. You must hold the barbell with two hands, so balance yourself by leaning the barbell forward against a tall weight rack or the sides of a Smith machine.

    Perform reverse calf presses on a leg press machine by placing your feet high on the resistance plate, with your toes extended above the plate. Press the plate with your heels and move your toes toward your shins.

    Things You'll Need

    • Barbell

    • Dumbbells

    • Calf block


    • When you’re doing reverse calf raises, position your heels as close to the edge of the calf block as possible to achieve the maximum intensity. Move your heels backward to make the exercise easier.

      Perform two sets of 15 repetitions for each exercise, or try to work up to that level.

      You can also perform reverse calf raises on numerous machines.


    • Consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

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