Does your butt wink during a squat?

Butt winking is a super weird (but funny) term that basically means you tuck your pelvis under and the lower back rounds at the bottom of a squat which looks like your butt is “winking” or tuck under. With no weight, it is normally ok but then you will be "practicing" with a non-neutral spine for squatting with weight.  Failing to hold a neutral spine in the bottom of the squat and letting your pelvis tuck under increases the stress on the spine which can increase the risk of SI joint issues or disk herniations.

In the video, above you can see the difference between a squat with the "butt wink" at the bottom (left video) and a stronger, safer positioning in the squat (right video).

Why does this happen?

If you read most "gym" articles they will normally tell you it is from tight hamstrings.  Although that CAN be the case there are other reasons why this may happen:

1. Lack of hip flexion. Not just talking about muscles...need to understand that hip structure can play a part. There are so many anatomical variations of the hip structure, ball-and-socket joint angle, size of the ball-and-socket joint, Pelvic structure, etc...

2. Lack of Ankle Mobility. In order to perform a full-depth squat with good form, not only must you have a full hip range of motion, but also a full knee and ankle range of motion. If you lack the necessary 10–20 degrees of flexion (flexion=bending ankle so toes come towards your shin) at the ankle, you will not be able to squat to depth without compensating elsewhere, like your upper back OR in this case your lower back.

3. Lack of motor coordination.  Even though the squat seems like such a simple exercise, it requires a lot of coordination of the muscles in your body to maintain good form during the move. Your butt/glutes, quads/thighs, hamstrings, adductors (inner thigh), and deep stabilizers must all work together to keep hip structures stable so you can keep your spine in an upright and neutral position.

Starting to practice proper squat mechanics with box-assisted squats, basic TRX assisted squats, or goblet squats can help to clean up issues with "butt winking".  If you have any other questions or having trouble figuring the proper squat form out, come see one of our fabulous coaches at ANCHOR!

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