Shin strength for runners

As we learnt in an earlier post, one of the things that can be a factor in shin splints are weak shin muscles.

The muscles that we are particularly interested in are the tibialis anterior muscles. However, a couple of others are also important here…

Extensor digitorum longus and Peroneus longus

All you really need to know though, is that we are talking about the muscles down the front of your shins. In most recreational runners, these muscles are weak and underused. As such, we tend not to be able to get the range of motion at the ankle that we need for running. This is turn can lead to lots of compensations such as over pronation as well as knee and hip pain.

The movement where your toes and shins come closer together by your foot moving upwards is called dorsiflexion, and this is crucial to running from both a injury prevention perspective and a performance perspective.

Essentially, to run fast and to reduce injuries, your ankles need to move properly. We also talked about it in the following posts:

1.  You are the weakest link

2. Shin Splints – Causes of shin pain in runners

3. Ankle testing for runners

So, how can you get strong shins and improve how your ankles move? Fortunately, it’s really simple and only takes a few minutes each day to do.

This exercise may be the only one you need. It comes from those experts in all things gait Shawn and Ivo, AKA The Gait Guys. Unfortunately their own video is a little old and difficult to view properly, so we’ve created our own.

Doing this simple exercise for two minutes every day, or at least three times per week, for a few weeks, will result in huge gains in shin strength.

Combine strong shins with increased ankle range of motion, and you will reduce your injury risk and get faster!

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