How To Stretch Your Shins
“When you think about stretching exercises, what are the first things that come to mind? Is it yoga poses or maybe ballet moves? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably “”yoga.”” But there’s another type of stretching that many of us don’t know much about — stretching your legs!
Stretching your shins may not be as popular as stretching your arms, but there are some great benefits to this form of movement. The best thing about stretching your shins is that they’re so simple and easy. All you need to do is stand straight with your feet together, and take a step forward (or backward) while keeping your knees bent. Then just hold onto something firm, such as a wall, desk, chair back, etc., and slowly raise one leg out in front of you until it points directly behind you. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then lower your foot and repeat with the other leg. That’s it! It only takes a minute or two, yet your shins will certainly thank you later.
Why is this good for you, exactly? Stretching your shins helps make them more flexible and reduces muscle tightness. By loosening up your muscles, you’ll also reduce soreness after exercising. This is especially true if you’ve been sitting for long periods of time before exercising. Tight muscles can cause pain when you start moving around too quickly. And since we spend at least 8 hours every day sitting, stretching our shins regularly makes sense from a preventive standpoint.
If you have stiff shins, you might want to try standing upright against a wall with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Lean into the wall with your chest toward the floor, bend your right knee, and extend your left leg straight out in front of you without locking your ankle. Keep this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
Another way to gently stretch your shins is to put your hands behind your head and lean forward slightly. Try bending your elbows and lowering your shoulders; hold this pose for 30 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat 15 times.
Here are three different ways to stretch your shins. First, using a bench, sit down on the edge of the bench with your legs extended in front of you. Extend your arms over your head and place your palms flat against the ceiling. Lower yourself into a seated twist, lifting your butt off the ground. Hold this position for 20 seconds, then lift all the way up again and relax. Do this five times.
Sit on the edge of a table with your legs extended in front of you. Cross your ankles and keep them crossed throughout the entire stretch. Now, bring your right heel up toward your buttocks and cross your body. Don’t lock your ankles, instead let your calf muscles do the work. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a large stride forward and immediately turn your upper body to face the side of your extended leg. Raise your opposite arm overhead, then lower it back down beside your ear. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.
Now that you’ve got your shins properly warmed up, how can you use them during a workout? For starters, your shins are often overlooked because many people focus their attention elsewhere. So why not give them a break and devote some energy to working those muscles instead? Here are several movements you can try.
Walking Lunge With Reach – Start out by taking a big step forward with your lead leg and swing your torso forward. As you reach forward, simultaneously drop your hips and bend your back knee, allowing your thigh and shinbone to flex. Make sure your knee doesn’t pass your toe. Once you’ve reached your target, stand up tall and straighten your back leg. Step back up close to where you started, and repeat. Switch legs.
Shin Curl Up – Lie on the floor facedown with your knees bent and your hands behind your ears. Lift your legs and curl your spine upward, bringing your chin to your chest. Hold this position for 10 slow breaths, then release.
Lying Leg Pulls – Lay on your back and pull your legs towards your chest. Use whichever leg feels better. Do 3 sets of 12 reps each direction.
These are just a handful of examples of what you can do with your shins. If you’d like additional ideas, check out books, magazines, and articles online to find even more ideas. There are plenty of workouts designed specifically to work your shins. A couple I recommend include jump squats and lunges. These types of workouts help build strength and stamina, and are highly effective for burning calories. They also boost bone density. Jumping jacks and lunges require no equipment except your own body weight, making them very portable and convenient to do anywhere.
So go ahead and treat your shins well — they deserve it. After warming them up, stretch them out and make sure they stay healthy and happy for years to come.”
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