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March 12, 2022 8 min read

Although the upper body gets most of the hype, the lower body, especially the legs, are as crucial as any upper major muscle group. Stronger legs provide the foundation for better performance in functional and sports activities. 

While many gym-enthusiasts and athletes train the quads. hamstrings, and calves, a lower percentage train the tibialis anterior of the shin.  

The tibialis anterior  has often been thought of as a minor muscle and receives nowhere as much attention that the other posterior muscles receive. Regardless, it contributes to the health of your legs and lower body in general.

Below, we have provided the eight best tibialis anterior exercises and stretches for you.

What Is The Tibialis Anterior?

It is easy to miss the tibialis anterior if you are unfamiliar with the leg muscles. The tibialis anterior, also known as the tibialis anticus, is the largest of the four muscles that make up the front part of the shin bone on the lower leg. 

The tibialis anterior is a dorsiflexor muscle that runs down the front of the shin.

It is known as a dorsiflexor muscle because it helps flex or bends your ankle up towards your face. The tibialis anterior originates as a thick fleshy muscle but tapers into a tendon that connects to the ankle.

The tibialis anterior is an inhibited muscle that is just as important as any other muscle of the leg.

It contributes to the inversion and adduction of the foot, making it possible to carry out functional activities like walking and running.

The tibialis anterior is also critical, supporting the medial arch of the foot, a vital feature that helps to ensure that your gait is smooth and regular.

While injuries to the tibialis anterior, like a rupture of the tibialis anterior tendon, might be rare, the muscle still has a chance of growing weak due to under-inclusion in exercises of the legs.

If this happens, you have a high probability of having trouble flexing your foot and mobility problems from an inability to lift your foot off the floor, like the tibialis anterior controls this.

To ensure that this doesn't happen, you need to engage in exercises that strengthen and stretch the tibialis anterior. These exercises contain movements designed to isolate the muscle as much as possible while also strengthening it.

Below, we have provided the best exercises and stretches for a healthy tibialis anterior muscle.

8 Best Tibialis Anterior Stretches And Exercises

Tibialis Anterior stretches and exercises not only help to strengthen weak tibialis anterior muscles but also stretch and loosen them, possibly taking away the pain that comes along with it.

Some other benefits of training your tibialis anterior include:  

  • Reduced chances of suffering a ruptured tibialis anterior tendon
  • Reduced risk of calf, ankle, and feet injuries.
  • Better performance in actions that require walking and running.
  • Reduced chances of pain in the calves and shins.

The tibialis anterior is a relatively small muscle, so it is almost difficult to isolate it 100 percent. These exercises, however, enable you to target the muscle to a large extent.

1. Tibialis Anterior Toe Raise


 

The tibialis anterior toe raise is designed to counter the effect of neglecting your shin muscles. The exercise targets and engages your shin muscles, specifically the tibia anterior- just as its name suggests. 

The tibialis anterior toe raise is an easy yet effective exercise that helps to strengthen your shins and improve your performance in functional and sports activities. It also reduces the risk of knee injuries, strengthens the ankles along with their connecting muscles, and essentially enhances your balance. 

To perform the tibialis anterior toe raise:

  • Stand with your feet flat and your back leaning against the wall.
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart and about a foot away from the wall.
  • Keep your legs- especially your knees- straight and your spine erect.
  • Distribute your balance evenly on your feet.
  • Using your shin, pull your toes up as far as they can go.
  • Hold this position a second before slowly lowering your toes to the floor.
  • This is one rep. Complete as many repetitions as possible.

When you get comfortable performing the tibialis anterior toe raise, ramp up the intensity by extending your legs farther out, increasing the length you hold the toes-up position for, and increasing the number of reps in your set. 

2. Seated Toe Raise

 

The seated toe raise is often confused for the seated calf to raise, but in reality, they are very different exercises where the seated calf raises focuses on the calf muscles, the seated toe raise works the shin muscles. 

When performing the seated toe raise, you focus on lifting your toes off the floor using your shin muscles. This helps you to isolate your tibialis anterior muscle.

The seated toe raise does not require any equipment other than a chair and can be done anywhere at any time you like.

While toe raises do not provide a sudden change in your shin size or strength, consistent performance of this exercise yields benefits that range from stronger legs to better balance. It also helps prevent plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament that connects your heel to your toes. 

To perform the seated toe raises:

  • Seat in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.
  • Push your shoulders back slightly.
  • Place your hands on your lap or the armrest.
  • Without breaking form, lift the toes on your left foot while your right foot remains flat on the floor.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Lower your toes and repeat on your right foot.
  • Complete as many equal reps as you can fit in a set.

3. Heel Walk

 

The heel walk exercise might look hilariously like a move straight out of a cartoon show, but it gives your shins a run for their money. This exercise involves raising your toes off the floor and walking around without letting them touch the floor. 

The heel walk is a splendid exercise for the tibialis anterior because curling your toes upward activates the muscle.

This causes your tibialis anterior muscle to be isolated and strengthened while also strengthening your ankle dorsiflexors. The heel walk is a great way to improve your performance in activities that involve moving around and the need for balance.

This exercise is also recommended by many specialists as a rehabilitation activity to reduce stress on the shin muscles or to strengthen weak tibialis muscles. 

To perform the heel walk:

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Hold a support for balance if necessary.
  • Raise your toes off the floor.
  • Take normal steps while keeping your toes off the floor.
  • Do this for the number of required steps or a set period.

Unlike other stationary exercises on the list, the heel walk requires moving around the room. This might expend more energy than is needed in other tibialis anterior exercises.

To make up for this, pair your heel walk with PRE  for energy, better mind-muscle connection, and better muscle endurance for maximum performance.

4. Kneeling Shin Stretch

 

The kneeling shin stretch is also known as the kneeling tibialis anterior stretch because of its effect on the muscle. This exercise targets the tibialis anterior while stretching your quads and ankle muscles. 

The kneeling shin stretch is a low-intensity exercise that offsets the tightness in your tibialis anterior.

This tightness might be due to the muscle being undertrained, an injury, or even habits like spending too much time wearing heels. The exercise doesn't require any equipment and can be done in the comfort of your home or the gym. 

To perform the kneeling shin stretch:

  • Get into a kneeling position.
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart, and your toes turned slightly inward.
  • Keep your back straight, and shoulder blades slightly pinched together.
  • Keep your neck neutral.
  • Sit back on the heels of your feet.
  • Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
  • Rest and repeat.

If you want to increase the intensity of the exercise, lean back slightly and try to raise your knees off the floor as you do that.

5. Band Calf Stretch

 

The band calf stretch might be a calf exercise, but it is equally great for your shins. This simple exercise is done using a resistance band and can be practiced anywhere. The band calf stretch stretches your tibialis anterior muscle, helping you loosen and tighten it. 

To perform the band calf stretch:

  • Sit on the floor or on a mat with your legs extended forward.
  • Grab a resistance band and place it around your right foot on the outside of the toes.
  • If you find it challenging to place the resistance band around your foot with your leg extended, first loop the band around your foot before extending it forward.
  • Hold each end of the resistance band in one hand.
  • Keep your back straight and neck neutral.
  • Pull the resistance band towards you and flex your toes towards your chest.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on your left foot.
  • Increase the number of seconds as you get comfortable with the exercise.

6. Band Foot Drop


The band foot drop is another resistance band stretch that targets the tibialis anterior muscle. Unlike the band calf, where you pull the resistance band towards you, you fight against the resistance band and pull your foot towards yourself. 

In the band foot drop, the band provides resistance to your shin muscle. This helps you to loosen it up but also assists you in strengthening it in the long run. 

To perform the band foot drop:

  • Loop your resistance band around a sturdy object close to the floor like a pole.
  • Sit in a chair or on the floor on a mat not too far from the anchor.
  • Take the resistance band loop and place it around your right foot, just below your toes.
  • Sit up and place your hands palms-down beside you for support.
  • Lean backward slightly for increased stability.
  • Flex your toes towards you as far as they can go without straining.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds. This is one repetition.
  • Complete as many reps as you can fit in a set.
  • Alternate to your left foot.

7. Seated Shin Stretch


The seated shin stretch is another activity that helps to target and engage the tibialis anterior. It is easy to perform and provides a much-needed stretch in your shin. 

To perform this exercise:

  • Sit on a chair with your back straight.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor.
  • Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
  • Lower your right knee and place the top of your right foot on the floor.
  • Your right toes should be pointed backward.
  • Shift and lean your body weight forward so that you press the top of your right foot into the floor.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds.
  • This is one rep. Complete as many reps as possible.
  • Repeat on your left foot.

8. Lying Tibialis Anterior Stretch


The lying tibialis anterior stretch looks somewhat like a quad stretch. It is easy to perform and highly convenient. 

To do the lying tibialis anterior stretch:

  • Lay on your right side with your legs extended.
  • Support your head on the palm of your right hand and prop your right elbow on the floor.
  • Fold your left knee, so your left foot is behind you.
  • Using your left hand, grab your left foot around the toes.
  • Gently pull your left foot further behind you.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds. This is one rep.
  • Repeat on your left leg.
  • Complete as many reps as possible.

The exercises are great, but they work best when your leg muscles are given ample time for recovery. Your muscles need time to recover between workouts and after your routine with adequate sleep.

If you have trouble sleeping, try RESTED-AF  for better quality sleep and expedited muscle recovery.

All The Tibialis Anterior Exercises You Need

A weakened or injured tibialis anterior muscle can lead to a devastating limit to your mobility and cause pain in your foot. A strong and healthy tibialis anterior strengthens your legs for normal functioning in your daily activities and improves your athletic performance.

We have provided the ten best tibialis anterior exercises that can be performed at home or the gym. They are effective, safe enough to be performed as rehab exercises, and help isolate the elusive tibialis anterior muscle enough to strengthen it. As a bonus, check out the best calf exercises for stronger legs.