T Nation

How to Fix Butt-wink?

I’m sure this topic has been talked about at length in the past and I wasn’t sure where to post it.

Does anybody have any suggestions as to how to fix butt-wink? It’s not very severe (does not actually occur until I reach the bottom of a squat), but for safety’s sake, I’d like to eliminate it.

I’ve tried strengthening the hips, stretching hip flexors, keep low back arched and chest high, but I can still see a slight rounding at the bottom.

Perhaps this is even something that cannot be physically corrected and is based entirely on how I am built anatomically and the depth of hip sockets?

Insight and suggestions welcome. Thank you.

try overhead squats - should eliminate it and is great practice to improve form. then try to get this feeling/tightness on normal squats

I would say goblet squats are probably the best way to perfect your squat form.

Really though, I wouldn’t worry a ton about it if it’s not very severe. I spent a period of time panicking over mine, spent hours googling it and reading things, spent zero time getting stronger, and then somehow it just kinda went away and my squat looks “fine” now. It’s not a huge deal.

2 Likes

How deep are you squatting?

You mentioned that your round at the bottom, you could try not going that low.

3 Likes

Take a video of your squat (side view) and send it through to us.

Butt wink isn’t always a concern, and within a certain range mqy be acceptable.

If you know that your butt wink is unacceptably large, the first thing to do is ensure you can brace the spine properly. If the pelvis isn’t properly aligned under the ribcage, weird things happen.

If that didn’t work, the next port-of-call is ensure you have sufficient ankle mobility. This video isn’t perfect, but is still pretty good.

One of those two fixes will probably clear things up, but not always. Keep us posted with progress and whether these things did or did not work :+1:

1 Like

I’d start with like movement control stuff like proper breathing and bracing mechanics, neutral spine, glute activation and so forth to see if that is effective. If that doesn’t work then we’ll look into other things.

A video would be very helpful to brainstorm from

1 Like

I’d for sure like to post a video, however, my gym is closed due to the virus and I do not have a squat rack at home. The best I could do would be a broomstick and I’m not sure if that is sufficient.

Better than nothing. If the butt wink isn’t there on light squats, that’s just more information for us to help us identify the cause

Could you explain how to upload a video? I’m relatively new and I have no idea.

1 Like

You need to upload it to YouTube and then copy a link to the video. Don’t worry, it took me a while to figure it out too

Glute bridges & Zercher deads. Stop messing around with all these mobility exercises and mobility tests. Get strong and mobilize yourself at the same time in minimalist fashion.

1 Like

Please explain through which mechanism glute bridges and zercher deads will fix butt wink. If you would like, I am happy to explain exactly how improved bracing and improved ankle dorsiflexion could prevent butt-wink.

See that’s you’re problem. You want to think that everything is a debate or an argument, you want to get caught up in some debate over exact mechanics and mechanisms and blah blah blah, instead of just getting some solid work done in these fix-all strength exercises.

Strengthening your glutes and hamstrings will improve every single thinkable function of the lower body in spades. This is something you learn in years of practice, not in some debate of mechanisms on the internet.

Zercher done out of the bottom are going to do more for your squat mechanics than anything else in existence.

Here, you can debate with Dave Tate:

[https://www.elitefts.com/education/exercise-index/zercher-squats/]

Oh, if anyone here disagrees with me to the point of disregarding the information, that’s cool and fine. But I encourage you to drop all forms of deadlifting and squatting and do only Zercher Deads and Glute bridges for the next 6-12 weeks. Then come back and tell us about how your butt wink went away.

I want to ensure OP receives the most well-informed advice possible. I believe that requires a good understanding of movement mechanics and exercises, as well as healthy discussion. So far, you’ve given me neither.

No-one is recommending OP drops squatting. We’ve recommended adding things as adjuncts to improve his squatting. Every intervention recommended thus far could be applied and return meaningful benefits in around 10 minutes or less. Goblet squats and overhead squats are great patterning tools, and even 2-3 sets of just one of those is useful (as I’m sure you’d agree with). Bracing is a vital skill for squatting, regardless of butt-wink. Ankle mobilisations take all of around 30s per leg.

Maybe, depends on what someone’s limitations and goals are. By your logic, hip thrusts and RDL’s would be the primary assistance exercises of Olympic lifters, sprinters and high jumpers. Let me tell you, they’re not.

I urge you to articulate your years of practice to everyone in this forum, so we can better understand your thought process and perhaps be able to apply it to different scenarios. You mistake me for being combative, whereas I’m just trying to ensure OP gets the best advice and understand how you’re approaching this issue.

I doubt Dave Tate would say that bracing isn’t an important way to optimise squat form. Also your article doesn’t back you up as well as you think:

  • The article recommends zercher squats, which I definitely agree are brilliant to improve squats mechanics (but really only for the same reason that goblet squats are good). You recommend zercher deadlifts, which involve a fairly large degree of spinal flexion out of the hole, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid for OP. Zercher deadlifts could actually make the issue worse, but I do agree that a true zercher squat could possibly make things better
  • Dave said shit all about glute bridges
  • This article doesn’t specifically implicate butt wink

If you’re going to make claims like this you need to have some way to back them up. Explaining the mechanism is one, but it doesn’t have to be the only one. Are you a coach? Have you dealt with butt wink yourself? Have you helped others improve their butt wink?

How is this advice more useful or practical than learning to brace and taking a few minutes to check your ankle mobility?

You preach basics and simplicity, yet your recommendation is probably the most extreme yet.

I’m not disagreeing with you, just asking for your thought process.

FWIW, so I don’t come across as a hypocrite for calling you out.

Here’s why bracing works:

Butt wink usually occurs when the lifter runs out of true hip flexion, and flexes lumbar spine to compensate. The main reason one would run out of flexion would be bony impingement of the femur into the hip socket. This bony impingement can be brought on earlier in hip flexion ROM if the pelvis is anteriorly tilted, what Duffin in the video describes as “the open scissor.” Bracing correctly requires you to stabilise the spine with a more posteriorly-oriented pelvis, effectively increasing your available hip flexion ROM. Additionally, the descended diaphragm position will take strain of psoas major, potentially reducing the forward translation of the femur. This will also delay impingement of the femur in the hip socket, increasing hip flexion ROM.

Here’s why improving ankle mobility works:

Another reason someone may experience butt wink is a failure to keep their center of gravity over their base of support due to insufficient dorsiflexion (knees over toes). If one descends into a squat but is unable to dorsiflex sufficiently, the only way they can gain depth is by letting their pelvis move back, rather than downwards. First, this increases hip flexion demands, but it also may lead to centre-of-mass being forced to shift posteriorly. If the body lacks the hip flexion required to reach depth with limited dorsiflexion, then it will round the lumbar spine to compensate. Secondarily, to maintain centre-of-mass over the base of support, the body will be forced to either lean forward a LOT (like Layne Norton’s squat) or be forced to round the lumbar spine. Neither situation is ideal.

My logic is as follows, if an exercise can assess weaknesses while simultaneously fixing them, I do those movements.

As for fixing butt wink, are you sitting a lot? Then you have definitely have glute/ham issues and need to practice strengthening those muscles, and that alone will take you quite far. By the way, if your calves are tight, well by God, stretch them. And how can you be sure elite level sprinters, jumpers, lifters aren’t doing assistance work for their glutes and hams? Weren’t Romanian Deadlifts developed as an Oly assistance lift?

Wouldn’t a great time to practice bracing would be under the load of a Zercher style deadlift/squat, for example, if the purpose was to fix squat mechanics? Start with an empty bar if you have to.

As for glute bridges, this is about strengthening a common weak spot, not about mechanics. Strengthening your glutes/hams will absolutely improve your squatting, and everything else for that matter, given that you are addressing a common weak spot. If you don’t like glute bridges, then do Nordic ham curls or GHR or back extensions, whatever turns your crank man.

Check out CT’s Zercher deadlifting. Not much spinal flexion, and that’s the point, getting deep down into that position and strengthening it. Zercher squats themselves can be done very deep. If you want to take a Dan John route, check out Anderson Front Squats.

And dude, you think recommending only Zerchers and Glute bridges for 6-12 weeks to improve your squat is extreme? You haven’t been training long I guess.

Zercher deadlifts will provide you dorsiflexion, bracing, and hip mobility in spades in one fell swoop. Glute bridges will strengthen your posterior which has the potential to improve everything in your life.

You originally called me out to explain a mechanism by which glute bridges and Zercher deads fix butt wink, I hope I have articulated myself to your understanding.

1 Like

Hey man, I appreciate you taking the time to write that out and I apologise for sounding so aggressive last night.

I still don’t fully agree with you on the glute bridges part, but I do accept your point on zerchers (although I’d rather squat than DL)

Whenever I recommend someone change/add something to their training, I personally like to change as little as possible.

They certainly do work their glutes and hams, all I’m suggesting is that glutes and hams are not the be-all and end-all. There are other lower-body activities that mightn’t necessarily be improved by glute bridges and RDL’s etc. Usain Bolt isn’t going to get faster if you add 10kg to his glute bridge and 15 to his RDL.

I know this because glute bridges and RDL’s may be non-specific for certain activities, just like squats could be non-specific for others.

I agree glutes and hamstrings are often a weak point, but I do believe recommendations can be more refined than always identifying a weak point and hoping it fixes the issue.

Hey fellas,

I would have joined the discussion over the weekend, but I was very busy. I do have a desk job and I’m fully aware that impedes a healthy set of hams/glutes at all times. When the gym is open, I do a regular mix of GHR’s, stiff leg/RDL, pull-throughs, seated/lying leg curls, reverse hypers, etc. I’m sure for that area of my posterior chain, it’s quite strong (but I’m of the firm belief that nobody’s can be TOO strong or TOO big haha).

I actually had a PT friend of mine analyze a video of me performing a goblet squat. He noticed that I have a very pronounced anterior pelvic tilt, and when I get far into the bottom of the squat, my ass literally has no choice but to round under. Tight hip flexors were his first diagnosis. But once the gym re-opens, he’s going to evaluate it further.

Love your responses though! Thanks!

2 Likes

Learn to brace.

Is the APT always present or just before you squat?

1 Like

Find a little video about the Transverse Abs or “TVA” muscles. You use them when you “pull your belling button towards your spine.” They are like the “first step” of bracing.

Figure out how to use these “deep ab” muscles(instead of hip flexors) to get your pelvis lined up and get your back stable.