You wouldn’t work your back and ignore your chest, or the quads while ignoring the hamstrings, and yet the calves usually get worked while the tibialis anterior rarely does. Tibi who? The tibialis anterior is the muscle that covers your shin and is responsible for pulling your foot upward to take a step. Exercising it is important to prevent lower leg muscle imbalances, especially for runners. Weak tibia muscles cause premature leg fatigue and can contribute to shin splints. Anyone who plays shin impact sports like soccer or contact kickboxing can also benefit from developing the tibial muscles because they absorb force and protect the shin bones. Women who wear high heels often develop weak tibialis muscles because the shoe, by design, discourages lifting the toes when stepping. Weak tibialis muscles cause people to walk slower during everyday life. The slower you walk, the less calories you burn. If you were to increase the strength of the tibialis muscle and increase your gait by only 15%, you could lose 5 pounds in one year. Seriously. By just walking through parking lots and grocery stores a bit faster you can lose weight this year without changing your eating or exercise routine. If you merely try to walk faster or take longer strides, you will notice that your tibialis anterior will have to work harder.
A good way to build tibia strength is toe tapping. Press your weight into the left leg and extend the right, resting on the heel as pictured. Being toe tapping the right foot. Slowly transfer some weight into the right heel. The more weight you press into the right heel, the harder the right tibia will have to work to pull the toes off the ground. Toe tap until the shin burns to fatigue. Work on tapping longer before fatigue and pressing more weight into the tapping heel to build strength and stamina. Once your tibialis muscle is stronger, you will naturally walk faster without effort.