Many people would benefit by performing various shin stretches before workouts that put pressure on this body part. Running, jumping, and any activity that requires stopping and starting suddenly can all lead to medial tibial stress syndrome, or shin splints, which is a painful condition that causes a bruised feeling along the tibia bone. Fortunately, there are many stretches that can be completed using little or no equipment. Some shin stretches can be performed while sitting down, such as ankle rolls or the towel stretch. Some can be completed while standing or walking, while others can even be performed while kneeling or lying down.
The towel stretch involves sitting on the floor with the feet straight out. The next step is to wrap a towel around the bare feet, pulling it back toward the body in order to feel the tension of the stretch in the calves. This position should be held for about 30 seconds, and then repeated up to six times. Another shin stretch to be performed on the floor is the ankle roll, which involves flexing the foot and holding that position for ten seconds. The toes should then be pointed down, and then to the left and right, with each position held for ten seconds, an repeated for a total of five minutes per foot.
Making sure the calves are relaxed is a component of many shin stretches, such as the wall raise, which requires standing about two feet (0.61 m) away from a wall while facing it. The feet should be about shoulder-width apart, with the hands on the wall. The next step of this stretch is to lower the body until the calves feel stretched out. This should be repeated about six times, and held for about 30 seconds each time. Walking on tiptoes with straight legs, followed by walking on the heels, is another way to stretch the shins and calves before a workout.
One of the more popular shin stretches starts out in a kneeling position, with the heels against the buttocks. The next step is to lift the torso up a little while sitting back onto the heels until the feet are flat on the ground, holding this position for about 30 seconds six times total. Finally, some shin stretches, such as the downward dog, involve starting off lying down in the plank position with a straight back and toes on the ground. As the hands are walked back from the front of the body toward the lower torso, the buttocks should lift into the air while the weight shifts from the toes to the heels. The body should form a right angle with the floor, and this position should be held for 30 seconds and performed six times to properly stretch the calves.