How to Squat Correctly (and Stop That “Butt Wink”!)

11 Min Read

You can’t argue over whether or not it’s wrong to smuggle a raisin cookie into a chocolate chip one. A little less certainty surrounds some activities. And there’s no lack of debate over which kinds of physical activity are safe and which ones should be restricted.

One of the most divisive forms of physical activity is the squat. Others, including renowned coach Mike Boyle, argue that they are overused and superfluous, despite claims that they are the finest movement (period).

When you sign up for online coaching with Born Fitness, we’ll help you figure out which exercises are going to be the most beneficial for you. Squats are awesome, but they’re not necessary for everyone. Generalized suggestions can be harmful. A person’s route to enhanced efficiency may very well put another at risk of physical harm.

And if you do, you need not do it with a barbell on your back or even both legs (there are one-legged variants).

- Advertisement -

Let’s say you’ve decided to squat (it is, after all, a foundational exercise). It’s up to you to choose how far you can safely go and what can be harmful to your health.

Many would have you believe that curving your lower back in any way (a “butt wink”) is unhealthy.

We can’t promise you a magic bullet, but we can provide a straightforward method for determining what your body needs.

Can You Trust The Butt Wink?

Some trainers advocate for the “ass to grass” (ATG) squat. Other others, like Dr. Joel Seedman (see screenshot from below), argue that you should stop your squat at about a 90-degree angle.

What both groups agree upon is that something is harmful to your spine. And the “butt wink” is the gesture most often in question.

At some point during the lowering phase of a squat, the lumbar spine (lower back) begins to circle.

You can easily judge the effect on your own physique by looking in a mirror. Face the mirror at an off-angle and crouch down using only your body weight. Keep your lower back in mind as you get to the bottom of the squat. This section will “wink” more and more as you delve further, if you’re like most individuals.

Spinal flexion, which is when the back bends forward, is not harmful in and of itself. As human beings, we possess flexible, extendable, and rotatable spinal column structures. That’s why you can probably relax about the rounding during exercises like the bodyweight squat.

I don’t see the big problem, then. When you have nothing on your back, rounding is not a big deal. However, things alter when you incorporate flexion while carrying weight on your back, as in a heavy back squat, and do so for several repetitions.

Experts agree that rounding your low back when carrying weight (such a barbell) increases your risk of disk damage and back discomfort in the lumbar spine.

This is why: A gel-filled disk sits between each vertebrae in your spine to help dampen impact. This implies that while you’re carrying something heavy on your back, the force is distributed evenly throughout your spine.

When you lift anything heavy, the weight presses down on your spine, compressing the disks between your vertebrae. If your spine is healthy, you should be OK doing this. (Your spine, interestingly, can withstand a lot of pressure before giving way.)

The problem arises when simultaneous spinal compression and flexion occur. When you bend forward under pressure, extra force (shear) is applied to your spine. Injuries may be more likely if shear and compression act together.

Because you and I have different anatomy, you might not sustain that damage for a very long time. But if you flex your spine under stress rep after rep, you might develop back issues.

That’s why the great majority of us shouldn’t do a butt wink while squatting with weight on our backs.

How can One get Butt Wink?

“Tight hamstrings” is a common excuse given for poor squat form. Stretching your buttocks before you lift probably won’t help you prevent the butt wink because it’s not the root of the problem.

The hamstrings don’t really stretch much during the squat because they link to the pelvis and the knee, as shown by Dr. Aaron Horshig in this video.

Here’s a suggestion: Stretch out flat on your back and limber your legs. Next, fully extend your knees and carefully raise one leg.

I take it you didn’t get too stoned? This is because when you stand with your legs completely straight, you reach the limits of your hamstring’s flexibility.

Repeat with your knee bent to a 90-degree angle this time.

Do you see a change? Because bending the knee shortens the hamstring at the same time as the hip flexes, your range of motion increases. Like when you squat, the length of your muscle groups remains basically constant.

Instead, a squat posture and the ability to pivot on your ankles are key components of the butt wink. And the moment has come to examine your gait in order to learn both.

The femur, or thighbone, enters the hip socket at a different angle in each person. Your squat position is also determined by this angle.

Let’s say your hip anatomy gives you a narrow or broad stance. If that’s the case, you’ll damage your hip joint if you try to squat down far (hip flexion).

The body adapts as you try to compel a certain range of mobility. When you reach the depth of your squat and find that you can’t flex your hips any farther, a condition known as posterior pelvic tilt sets in, and your lower back rounds. Hey, wink your butt.

You made it to the bottom; nevertheless, was the journey worthwhile? (keep reading for more information).

Ankle mobility limitations are another potential source of butt wink. If you don’t have enough ankle mobility, you won’t be able to sit into a squat and allow your body to push your knees forward. When your hips get tight, your body looks for additional mobility elsewhere, and it finds it in your lower back.

Fixing a Butt-Wink

The neutral spine must be understood before we can demonstrate how to correct butt wink. Given how dull it is, let’s just call this the “safe to squat” area. (Or the T-Spot)

Your STS (also known as neutral spine) is the natural curve in your lower back that occurs while your body is at rest. This is often achieved by allowing your lower back to naturally bend.

The majority of coaches and PTs will tell you to discover your STS since it will protect your spine the most during weight bearing activities. However, and this is crucial, it does not eliminate the possibility of harm. Still, you’ll need to check your pride at the door and use discretion as you steadily increase the intensity of your workouts.

Even when you’re in your spinal transverse spine (STS) zone, you still experience some spinal movement. If you venture too far from this safe area, you put yourself in danger. When that happens, the butt wink takes on a more assertive tone.

Our objective is to achieve a deep squat without excessively curving the lower back. To do this, you must perfect your squat position.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Do a bodyweight squat while seated. If you feel your back rounding, just sink to the floor.
  • Experiment with different squat widths and foot angles to determine what works best for you.
  • Hold this position and perform a few squats to get a feel for the whole range of motion.

Some people will find it awkward to sit all the way down into the squat. You can hold on to anything you like. Are you interested in observing this procedure? Visit this link to view our Instagram post.

You should also try out a variety of squat variants. There is no requirement to perform a back squat unless you are a powerlifter.

If back squats are your jam, consider adding resistance by placing tiny plates (2.5 or 5 pounds) beneath your heels or by standing on a wedge. By altering your hip angle in this way, you may squat further without risking a wink.

The goblet squat is a good option for those seeking for a squat variation. This form of the front squat encourages core engagement and keeps the spine in a neutral position. You may switch to the standard front squat once you’ve mastered the goblet squat.

Split-squats and Bulgarian split-squats are just two examples of the several single-leg exercises you may do to help prevent the butt wink.

Comfort and suffering are typically your finest guides in life. Don’t push through an uncomfortable sensation. Learn to move without discomfort, then increase the weight on your back.

HomepageClick Here
FitnessClick Here

Share This Article
Leave a comment