When The Butt Wink Is A Problem (And When It’s Not)

By: Lucas Zelazny

What is a butt wink anyways?

The butt wink is when the pelvis rotates posteriorly in the squat movement pattern. The hips will suddenly rotate and tuck underneath the spine creating an anterior vertebral compression (squeezing your intervertebral discs in a not so nice way). This is problematic under load due to the amount of force being pushed through a compromised area within the spine. But does this actually matter when we're just out there living our lives? Let's dive in.

When The Butt Wink Is Problematic

When our butt's do decide to wink it leads to a loss in stability of the lumbar spine. During the squat pattern it is important to maintain a flat back / neutral spine posture that remains parallel to the shin bone angle during your squat. When the hips rotate the spine is then pulled into flexion. It is subtle and therefore it is ignored by many however when the bar is loaded this can have negative implications on the lumbar spine, the hip joint itself as well as the sacroiliac joint. In theory, overtime, this can create a vertebral disc herniation or osteoarthritis of the hip joint due to the femur (the ball of the hip joint) rubbing against the acetabulum (the socket of the hip joint).

This dude is THE MAN -->

AM I IN DANGER!!?? (Nah Relax)

A lot of people think that when they see a little butt wink that it's this horrible thing that will lead to a horrific slew of injuries. Or they never thought about it in the first place in which case "you're good". The reality is that if it happens at the very end of the squat pattern it's likely you lack some hip internal rotation. In other occasions it could be an ankle mobility issue or a discrepancy of quad vs. hamstring strength. It's important to have a professional evaluate your movement patterns and determine the best course of action.

If your butt wink is occurring before you get to parallel in your squat then that is a bit more concerning. There are a ton of really great ways to perform mobility, corrective work, and strengthening exercises to ensure your not winking ; ) or putting yourself in harms way. A quick fix to a deep squat butt wink is simply not dropping so low during your squat pattern. There is not much use in going ass to grass in a squat in my opinion (fight me about it).

IN CONCLUSION

Remember This

There is nothing inherently wrong with a little butt wink. It’s important to understand where it is occurring in the movement pattern, whether it causes pain, whether you’re squatting under load or not, what your previous injury history is, and whether or not it is a functional vs. structural issue. 

The best thing you can do is to watch yourself in the mirror or have a certified professional evaluate you. There are a lot of ways to improve your mobility, strength, and technique which can improve this compensatory movement pattern. Shoot us a message if you think you’re winking too much!

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