Strengthen the shin muscles


I'm still very much a beginner and I've been doing a fair bit of running on the treadmill, plus once a week I go out running on the roads/cross country.

Ive found that when I run on the roads & cross country, my shin muscles are very sore afterwards - almost as if they are weaker than the other muscles in my legs.

Can anyone recommend some excersises to strengthen my shins to help them cope with the wear and tear of the roads?


  • Tap your feets lots when you are sat at your desk.

    supposed to work apparently!
  • Serious comments only please ;-)
  • Testa12 - I'm sure others would disagree but I find treadmill running easier then roads/cross country. If you agree with that then you should run more outside to naturally strengthen your legs.

    A few questions:
    - are you running too hard? ie over doing it? You should build up your mileage slowly ie 10% extra per week
    - are you taking long strides and landing hard on your heels? This could lead to soreness in the shins. Consider trying to run with slightly faster steps and land lighter.

    To strenthen the shins, I stand with back against a wall leaning slightly backwards ie the heels are some 6-8inches away from the wall. Then raise your toes up. Do 3 sets of 20, stretch out the working muscles by the typical quad stretch.

    Good Luck.
  • Testa, it was!

    I read it as an aid to shin splint recovery ... so strengthens the muscles around the shins, I usually have a few mins tapping and you can feel something working.
    worth a try
  • Meldy: I do that.

    Test1a12: Meldy is serious.
  • nrq - thanks for this information. Yes, I do agree that running on the treadmill is easier than running outside (though far less enjoyable)

    I dont think I'm overdoing it, Im very careful not to overdo it after some injuries.

    I will definately try the excersise you mention and also running with faster steps :-)
  • lol, tapping my feet at work sounds a bit silly but what the heck - worth a try
  • Testa12: A lot easier when discreetly listening to favourite MP3s so that the boss can't see/hear.

    Unless you happen to be the boss - like me ;-)
  • Try exercising the shin muscle (anterior tibialis) by doing foot raises with a pot of paint.

    1. Sit on a high-ish table;
    2. Hook a paint pot over your foot;
    3. Whilst keeping your ankle as still as possible raise your toes, relax, and repeat.

    The anterior tibialis muscle is responsible for basically two things when you run:

    When your rear foot lifts off the ground to come forward, the muscle allows you to keep your foot almost horizontal and stops your toes flopping and hitting the ground.

    The second thing is when you foot strikes the ground in front of you. The muscle stops the foot slapping immediately to the ground and allows it to strike the ground in a more controlled way. You can tell someone who has good shin muscles because they don't make very much noise when they run!

    Its probably the second aspect of the muscle's function that causes the shin pain in runners. For this reason it is recommended not to do any fast downhill running which will really test the muscles ability to control the foot on a descent when it really wants to slap on the ground. It may be an idea to put the treadmill on a slightly slower setting but with a manageable gradient - because that will reduce the need for the muscle to be involved in foot strike.

    Shin pain is usually the result of too much too soon. Its a repetitive strain injury and so the only real remedy is to cut back for a while until the pain has gone. Then is the best time to start doing the strengthening exercises.
  • T12, when you say shin, do you mean the side outside (lateral) the shin bone (tibialis anterior) ? If this is weak it may feel sore after running. Or do you mean the inside of the leg, (tibilais posterior) ie shin splints, but this can also be helped by strengthening the outer muscles.

    JRM's excerise sounds really good. I must try it using a paint tin like that. I was going to suggest something similar using a dynaband, (the big elastic bands used in Pilates), made into a loop and attached to something very heavy in front of you eg a table leg. You sit on the floor with the band over your foot, and leg straight out, and pull your foot towards you against the resistance of the band.
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