Squatting is one of the most fundamental movements in Crossfit and living a functional life. One of the key aspects that often gets overlooked is when an athlete is squatting and reaches the bottom of the squat, there can be a slight “butt-wink”. This not only can decrease performance but can cause a major issue in an individual’s posterior chain. This can be attributed to having lower back pain without someone realizing the damage they are doing when improperly squatting.[spacer height=”20px”]
What is a “Butt-Wink”?
This term has been thrown around by coaches and various athletes at Notch 8 but what does this term actually mean? According to Lee Boyce at Bodybuilding.com, it is: “any pelvic rotation in the bottom position of the squat.”
Ways to Eliminate This Improper Movement Pattern
1) Tight hips,hip flexors, and a tight IT band could be the problem. Generally this is called “anterior pelvic tilt”. This is when the hip flexors pull the lower back into extension as they tighten, which causes this arch to occur.
The Pigeon Stretch is perfect for gradually applying pressure to the hip flexors and activating the glutes for any form of squatting movement. Any modification will work for the severity of an individual’s tightness. When the athlete allows for their hips to lower to the ground and get into proper position, the musculature in the hips will open up.[spacer height=”20px”]
Kelly Starrett provides an alternative solution by placing a medium strength band to an athlete’s leg around the hip joint, wrapping around the glutes, and getting into a lunge position facing the rack so the band is pulling in the frontal plane of the athlete.[spacer height=”20px”]
2) The second reason an athlete may have the forbidden “butt-wink” is because of how their body is structured. This is unfortunate but a very real issue. One athlete’s femur may longer than the other or a plethora of other anatomical features. Do not despair! There are ways to achieve a proper squat without functional problems. Find what feet position and width of the hips opening up with knees tracking the toes works best for you. Knees out and tracking the toes is absolutely essential for proper squat mechanics. Experiment with variations and see what variation works for your body and is safe to perform! The ability to dorsi-flex (bend your foot toward your shin) is imperative for full depth squats.
3) Lastly, overarching could be the issue. A much simpler fix can be applied to this issue. Sometimes athletes have a pronounced extension in their backs due to the fear of injuring their backs or if they have injured it in the past. When this occurs, it may actually make the “butt-wink” become a bigger issue. Approach the squat with tight abs and squeezed glutes. These cues have been run into the ground for the athlete to hear but slow down the movement. Activate the glutes so that after you slow down the movement, you have kinesthetic awareness as to how you need to move so your body can move safely and effectively in the squat.