Your anterior tibialis muscle, or shin, helps you flex your foot and angle your toes inward. If you've done an admirable job building your calves but have neglected your shins, you're a candidate for anterior shin splints -- a condition that causes anything from mild achiness or dull throbbing to razor-sharp pain along the outer part of the shin. You can fix the calf-shin imbalance and reduce your chance of injury with the help of a resistance band and a couple of basic, but effective, shin exercises.
Warm up properly before progressing to strengthening exercises. Take a brisk walk around the block, jog in place or use an elliptical for five to 10 minutes. Your goal is to raise your core body temperature and increase blood flow to your lower legs. When you break a light sweat, perform a dynamic stretch that targets your lower leg. Stand with your feet together and grasp a nearby surface for support. Raise one foot off the floor slightly and rotate the foot slowly 12 times to the right and 12 times to the left. Switch legs and repeat. Work through your full range of motion.
Loop your resistance band around the leg of a solid, stationary surface; the leg of a heavy couch works well. Tie the ends of the band together, making sure the knot is secure; the band should form a continuous circle around the couch leg.
Sit on the floor with your legs fully extended and directed toward the leg of the couch. Relax your feet in a slightly pointed position and insert your right foot into the circular band. Keeping your legs straight, shift your buttocks backward until the band is taut across your right instep. Resting your hands on the floor near your hips, straighten your back and align your head over your spine; press your shoulders down and slightly back. Slowly flex your right foot backward, pulling against the band's resistance as you draw your toes toward your shin. Hold the dorsiflexed position briefly and then relax the toes forward. Repeat 10 to 15 times for a total of one to three sets. Switch legs.
Adjust yourself so your feet are to the left of the couch leg. Inserting your right foot into the loop, inch your buttocks and legs to the left to remove the slack. Maintaining proper posture and straight legs, push your right instep against the band, drawing your toes to the left and slightly upward. Hold the inverted position briefly and then relax the foot back to its initial position. Repeat 10 to 15 times for a total of one to three sets. Move your feet to the the right of the couch leg and repeat with the left leg.
Stretch your shins following your workout to prevent soreness and preserve flexibility. Sit on chair and place your right ankle on your left thigh, near the knee. Take hold of the ankle with your right hand and your instep with your left hand. Gently pull your toes toward you, extending the ankle. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds. Relax briefly and then repeat up to three times. Switch legs.
- Choose a band that suits your current fitness level. If you can perform three sets of 15 reps without fatique, bump up to the next resistance level.
- Avoid hyperextending your knees; keep them "soft," or slightly bent.
- Breathe regularly, exhaling during the more challenging phase of the exercise.
- If you are allergic to latex, opt for a latex-free band.
- Always examine your band for small tears or other signs of wear before use.
- Before beginning, be sure the stationary object you are using is heavy and sturdy enough to resist your pull.
- Perform exercises in a smooth, slow, controlled manner. Don't allow the band to snap back suddenly, which could result in injury.
Judy Fisk has been writing professionally since 2011, specializing in fitness, recreation, culture and the arts. A certified fitness instructor with decades of dance training, she has taught older adults, teens and kids. She has written educational and fundraising material for several non-profit organizations and her work has appeared in numerous major online publications. Fisk holds a Bachelor of Arts in public and international affairs from Princeton University.