Tibialis anterior (primary)
Why are they good?
Calf circles are a very simple but effective exercise. Often times a person will feel pain in the front of their lower leg by the shins. This usually happens after beginning a running program or a longer/ faster than usual walk. People usually refer to this as “shin splints” but this is often not the case. The real culprit is an imbalance between the calves on the back of the leg and the tibialis anterior on the front. Most of us, especially those that play jumping sports and those that wear heals, have overly tight calves. This causes the tibialis anterior to grow underdeveloped. When the tibialis anterior is overworked, we will end up feeling pain and soreness. This exercise is a great way to develop the muscle.
Begin by positioning yourself like the first picture. Lie on your back and pull one leg towards your chest
The movement (a)
Following the second picture, you are going to perform foot circles in one direction. Make sure to go through as full a range of motion as you can. Once you have completed 15-20, move on to the next step.
Now you are going to perform foot circles in the opposite direction. Again, go through as complete a range as you can. After 15-20, move on to the final portion.
The final movement will be to dorsi flex and plantar flex the foot. This means that you are going to flex your foot as much as you can and then extend the foot as far as you can by pointing the toes. Alternate between the two for 15-20 reps each and then switch legs.