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Is the Butt Wink Messing with Your Squat Form?

Is the Butt Wink Messing with Your Squat Form?

Doing squats is a very common part of exercise routines. However, it is important to be aware how to do squats properly as there are a number of common mistakes that you may end up doing. For instance, if you let your knees collapse inwards in order to manage to raise your heels, you are not doing it right.

Another common mistake is what is referred to as the butt wink. This is when you tuck your tailbone under the pelvis when you go down. This is a rather common mistake people commit during squat exercises. And the truth is that if you squat with a butt wink, it can lead to various problems, especially pertaining to a flexed lumbar spine, which could even lead to pain or injury.

In this article we shall be delving in more depth about butt wink, common mistakes that lead to it, as well as ways to prevent it.

Why is it bad to squat with a butt wink?

While squatting with a butt wink, you will be increasing the risk of back injury and pain, apart from reducing the power that you are able to generate during the squat.

As you tuck your butt in the bottom of the squat, you will be creating what is known as a posterior pelvic tilt. Basically, the pelvis will be oriented in a way that it tips backward while the front ends up being higher than the back. In more detail you will be in a position where the ASIS (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) is higher than the PSIS (Posterior Superior Iliac Spine). When the pelvis starts tilting backward, the spine will in turn flex, and the lower back will become rounded.

The goal is to maintain the lower back in a neutral position and not allow this. Otherwise the spinal stabilising muscles, vertebral disks and spinal nerves will be prone to injury.

What causes the butt wink?

Tight hamstrings are often considered as the primary reason why butt wink occurs, but it is not just that. The main cause of a butt wink is limited mobility in the hips and ankles. Often, there are tight joints and muscles in these areas, which restrict movement, and reduce the effectiveness of the squat.

The butt wink can also be caused as a result of a poor posture, which leads to a weak core. The squat stance and technique are also to be given great importance. Indeed, the butt wink occurs because there is either a stability issue or a mobility related issue. In some cases you may have a structural issue, such as the depth of the hip socket. In this case there is not much that can be done, but for the sake of resolving stability or mobility issues, there are things that can lead to a butt wink proper squat form.

How to avoid the butt wink and perform better squats

The butt wink can occur in all types of squats, be they front squats, back squats, or overhead squats.

First of all, you need to focus on keeping your joints healthy and reduce any instances of unrestricted movements that lead to the butt wink. There are exercises that can improve your mobility as well as the range of motion in the ankles and hips. Such exercises focus on the muscle and fascia release, and also comprise muscle activation and improved stretching. Some examples include:

  • 90-90 hip internal and 90-90 hip external rotation,
  • calf muscle and fascia release using a foam roller,
  • working on ankle mobility by stretching ankles, calves and Achilles tendons,
  • goblet ankle stretches and bench ankles stretches,
  • performing runners’ lunges to mobilise the hips,
  • widening the squat stance in order to allow more mobility in the hips so as to deepen the squat
  • performing anterior pelvic tilts which help to strengthen the core and increase pelvic control and stability
  • performing thoracic mobility exercises

These exercises, as well as the squatting itself, can be improved if you use smart home fitness equipment such as the GYM Monster. Achieving a butt wink proper squat form is not impossible and with the right equipment you can go a long way in improving.

While doing a squat you need to have the right amount of hip flexion. This means that you can bring your knees and your thighs closer to the chest. The hip external and internal rotation is also of the essence here, as the ball of the hip joint needs to be able to rotate in both directions well. Thus, if there is limited joint mobility in the hips and ankles, or either of them, it is often conducive to the pelvis and lower back to end up compensating, leading to the pelvis tucking underneath the hips and the lower back rounding while squatting.

In a nutshell, the butt wink makes the squats less effective, and in some cases, even painful. The core instability combined with the limited mobility in the hips and ankles will lead to the hips and pelvis in a not so ideal position. If your squats are poor, you are repeatedly putting strain on your lower back and on your pelvis, thereby leading to pain and sometimes even injuries in these areas.

Risks associated with the butt wink

Common injuries associated with butt winks include pelvis ligament sprains, pain in the sacroiliac joints, lumbar disc bulges and herniations, pelvis and hip muscle strains. These injuries can occur even if you are not using weights. The frequency of the poor form is the culprit, but obviously, if you are performing body-weight squats involving heavier weights the problem can be aggravated.

The position when you experience butt wink will not be the same for everyone. It can change depending on the mobility one has as well as on the level of warming up carried out. But, there will be a depth while squatting that one cannot manage to reach without a butt wink.

Making sure that you prevent the butt wink by fixing your squat mechanics is of the essence if you want to prevent injuries as well as improve your ability to lift weights more effectively and safely.

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