It Is Never OK To ‘Butt Wink’

It Is Never OK To ‘Butt Wink’

'Butt wink' Background

'Butt wink' the dreaded problem amongst the gym community leading to injury, pain or discomfort.

A 'butt wink' is when your pelvis tucks under your back (posterior pelvic tilt) at the depth of your squat, this creates a mild flexion in the lumbar spine.  It is a huge risk factor for developing low back pain or injury when squatting.

butt wink example
An example demonstrating butt wink at the depth of squat

Many people are able to squat with a butt wink without symptoms of pain.  However, with the shear forces placed on the structures of the lumbar spine during this movement it is only a matter of when (not if) injury will occur.  Hence the importance of correcting form before onset of injury.  

If the risk of injury is not enough to sell you on the importance of correcting form how about an improvement in strength?  When you have a stable squat you eliminate any 'energy leaks' which occur doing compensatory movements and thus produce increased force.

One large misconception about the butt wink is that it is caused by tightness in the hamstrings.  This is often not the case.  When you descend during your squat your hamstrings aren't in a lengthened position.  Your hamstrings become shorter as your knees bend and tension on them decreases.

A few of the major issues that do contribute this faulty movement pattern include poor muscle/motor control, hip range of motion restrictions, decreased glute activation and a less than ideal starting position.  You're already in a losing battle if you can't set yourself in a good position to start with.  

Hopefully this short post starts to get you thinking about your squat form and gives you something to investigate if you do indeed have a butt wink yourself.

About the video

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a few minutes with Caitlin to work on her squat technique

With providing ONLY verbal cues in the span of 10 minutes we were able to significantly reduce the amount of 'butt wink' present and create a much more efficient movement to reduce risk of injury to her knees, ankles and low back.

When watching this video keep in mind that there is still plenty of room for improvement especially if we also introduce mobility and flexibility work.

If you have further questions about what a 'butt wink' is or the implications it has on your low back feel free to ask me next time you see me!

If you think you need some coaching on your squats I'm also happy to help

For more information come see me at Braydon Vo Physiotherapy

739 Deception Bay Road, Rothwell QLD

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