T Nation

Kinks for Butt Wink

Decided to film my Low-Bar squat form for the first time in a while and HOLY SHIT THE BUTT WINK IS BAD!

I ended up taking all the weight off the bar and practise my squats. 2 observations:

  • Butt wink reduced based on how upright my torso was. Did some mobility and noticed I have super tight hips
  • I was squatting way deeper than I thought.

Would I be better off doing more mobility or switching to HB/Front squats?

Maybe learning how to squat properly.

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Bit savage lol

Post the video, you may just be putting yourself in a crap position.

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May be mobility issue but unlikely.

Tight/Short hamstrings is often given as a cookie cutter answer but if you can lie on your back and comfortably do a straight leg raise to 90 without your pelvis tilting you’re good.

Hip mobility: Also lying down if you can pull your knee up towards your chest (flex your hip) and move it about through its full ROM comfortably and without tilting and moving your pelvis all about than you’re also good in that regard.

What worked for me is working on my lumbopelvic control during squatting and not going to maximum depth. An awareness of your body’s, it’s segments and parts, position in space is a must if you wish to maintain or control your positions.

Also butt wink will be present near end of range of motion for almost everybody especially if you lose control or “let go” and sink into the bottom position. If you squat ATG … Squat an inch or two higher so less ATG. If you squat to parallel then refer to motor control and squat technique
videos to facilitate this.

Here’s a nice video by JTS on Buttwink

T-Nation doesn’t seem to support the format the videos are in @strongmangoals I have found though that just practicing again tonight with a broomstick and increased awareness has improved the issue.

What’s troubling me is this is a fairly new issue, so either it’s a mobility thing coz I haven’t been doing mobility, or I’m not built for Low-Bar (long femurs).

Technical issue? Just squat right and your limb lengths will determine how it looks. Unless you’re a dwarf who underwent femur lengthening surgery then you’ll be alright lel

It’s probably neither. Blaine Sumner has long femurs and squats over 500kg in a suit, over 400kg raw. You just need to fix your technique, keep a slight arch in your lower back and don’t let it go as you descend. If you can’t break parallel then maybe mobility is an issue but you say you are squatting very deep so I doubt it, but we need a video to know for sure. If you are one of those ATG guys then get over it, you don’t need to squat that deep if you can’t do it safely.

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Yeah I spent some time last night practising a lot of Dan John’s correctives (I love Dan John) and they seemed to improve my form a lot. I also noticed widening my stance had a positive effect as well

EDIT: nevermind. Back in the gym this morning and form’s just as shit as before. There’s a physio at the gym who recommended I do more hip mobility, so I might go back to Agile 8 daily

The Starting Strength sample on Kindle has the full squat chapter, which I read earlier today. Do you guys condone Rip’s squat coaching? Based on my reading my main issue was my toes pointing too far inwards, and slightly too narrow stance

HIP DRAAHVE lel. It’s a way to low bar squat but not the way I do it or would teach it. Since this is in powerlifting I’m assuming you want to squat more while still being safe, look no further than the techniques of successful powerlifters. Are they squatting Rippetoe Style?

If that’s the way you choose to squat or have learnt to squat best get good at it unless you are looking to change to a more upright legs-back balanced and thus more upright (reducing your buttwink apparently) squat.

Sounds like many people. It’s important to consider what these cues/technique for changing foot position do or allow you to do at the hip to make effective use of them. Often toes out at an angle, allowing knees to track out (I like to flex my glutes as hard as possible and whatever angle my toes are at I use) and a slight widening of the stance allows squatters to drop the torso straight down between their hips.

If you’re interested in improving form (switching from a Rippetoe Style lel) can link squat tutorials and vids of lifters in your weightclass.

I actually tried the Rippetoe squat for a few months. It yielded a strained left quad and a cranky right hip flexor. Here’s my point by point analysis of his squat teaching. Before I get into it, be reminded that Rip says he does not teach a powerlifting technique. His specialty is teaching rank beginners.

My observations:

  1. The thumbless grip - It tended to raise my elbows which in turn caused the bar to roll forward at the bottom.
  2. Looking down - This is just stupid. I understand his observations regarding spinal alignment but you can look forward/upward without raising your head. I pick a spot far out approximately 10 feet high and focus my eyes on that spot. Your brain orients your body based on visual feedback. If the science doesn’t appeal to you, follow the old school saying - your body follows your head. I challenge anyone to find a top level squatter wh looks down in front of them when they squat. Coan, Karwoski, Malanichev, Hatfield, Wrenn, Reinhoudt, Pacifico, Bridges, Crain, Williams ALL look forward.
  3. Stance - Rip’s squat uses way too much quad. By spreading the hips out, but keeping a fairly narrow stance, the shins are incline too far out of vertical. In essence he is teaching a hybrid lowbar/hibar squat. In the squat the shins should be as close to vertical as possible. This uses more hip muscle, and shortens the bar travel. The further the knees move forward, the deeper you need to sink to get depth.
  4. Raising the hips too early - Rip advocates raising the hips as the first movement out of the hole. As weights get heavy this will create a tendency to perform a good morning squat. Correct technique is achieved by raising the spine as a unit by pushing up with the upper back at the same time the hips are being raised. When viewed from the side, the head should move faster than the hips because the hips should be moving forward, pushing the head upward. When this is mastered, the knees will not move further forward than they are in the hole. Watch videos of knee injuries and in each case the knee moved forward due to the inability of the back to maintain proper position (Mark Bell, Ed Coan, Paul Jordan, etc). This is why good mornings are so valuable as assistance work.
  5. Heeled shoes - I 'm going to opine that very few people have ankle mobility that prevents proper positioning. Personally, I noticed that as my hamstrings got stronger, it became easier to attain depth with flat shoes. Strong hamstrings will stretch further, allowing the pelvis to position itself properly, thereby avoiding butt wink.
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Aside from the idea that everyone should look down and use a thumbs-over grip, Rippetoe’s advice is OK. Look up Sheiko’s facebook page (Boris Sheiko Official), not too long ago he posted a video about coaching beginners in the competition lifts. I haven’t watched it myself, but Sheiko’s methods definitely work so it’s worth checking out.

How long have you been squatting for? If you are totally new to this then trying to load up the weights for a heavy low bar squat is not the right way to go about it.

If you compete in a federation that is very strict about squat depth (like the IPF) then heeled shoes are good because they make it easier to hit depth. That’s why most IPF lifters wear heeled shoes. Even in less strict feds you see guys wearing heeled shoes because they squat more in them. But for a beginner it’s really not necessary to invest in a pair of heeled shoes. Like Louie said, don’t have $100 shoes and a ten cent squat.

Have to put forth an opposing point of view on some things here.

You imply squatting Starting Strength style contributed to some small injuries. Perhaps so. I contend that your strained quad was due to a combination of bad luck and your quad not being strong enough through the range of motion to handle your loads. Your cranky right hip flexor could be any number of things including poor mobility, poor technique or something entirely out of your control such as impingement of some nature.

  1. Thumbless grip should not change your elbow position or wrist position if anything it may make your positions more comfortable. The muscles acting on the thumb are either intrinsic to the hand, thus having nothing to do with joint closer to the torso, or extrinsic inserting on the bones of the forearm and interosseous membrane. No muscles acting on the thumb cross the elbow joint or shoulder joint and thus cannot act upon them. You probably were unable to maintain technique with this change. It can’t raise your elbows

  2. Could you not say that the style you advocate uses too little quad? Loading of the quads allows for a more upright squat which in turn reduces shearing loads on the back but requires the knee to be able to cope with it. Mark Bell squats in a similar style to which you advocate and suffered a knee injury. Could a contributing factor this be that he squatted in such a style neglecting his quads and knees and in time with a bit of bad luck and loss of concentration and back position shifted loaded onto his quads and knees, essentially the weakest link in the chain because he himself made it so, resulting in injury.

Perhaps you watched the supertraining video where Max Aita discusses and tries out a more quad dominant squat with Mark? In the description he wrote "Since my raw squats suck, I’m going to see if I can learn something from this highly sought after coach. Towards the end he describes the impact that Max and other who visited Supertraining had on his training, taking his squat to the next level.

While there’s different cues for different squatting styles which are effective for different lifters I do think there’s an overall more effective squatting style and where better to look than the top level squatters you’ve mentioned.




While not Oly Lifter like knees all these top level squatters have forward knee travel to varying degrees. Cuing the shins should be as close to vertical as possible is incorrect. Like you mention later perhaps in the squat the lifter should maintain control of their knee position and upon reversing out of the bottom actively resist the tendency for their knee to deviate for the reversing the range and movement it performed. Semantics maybe but awareness and control as opposed to artificial restriction would be most beneficial.

Heeled Shoes… I’ll give you this one. Most peeps can get plenty deep (too deep) barefoot. However but the benefit is that you can achieve that depth more comfortably. We know this position into and out of the hole is crucial for a successful squat. The question is can you squat while being in a comfortable position or more when you have to worry about hitting depth and feeling all kinds of body parts stretch and catch.

Lastly the muscle properties of strength and length/shortness are seperate. A muscle can be strong but short, or strong and lengthened. Strong hamstrings will not stretch further just for being stronger.

Apologies for the long read and thanks for the discussion

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I’ll agree with louie on this one. Heels are a band aid that masks other issues.

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First I won’t address your comments related to my injuries because you have no facts to dispute my injury experience. Other comments below.

  1. Thumbless grip - I said it made the bar roll off MY back. I didn’t say it sucks for everyone.

  2. Quads - maybe. Who knows? Read my post again I did say that the injuries I was referring to were caused by the knee shifting forward. Here’s where you and Max and the rest of the upright squat advocates go off the rails. The strength potential of the knee will NEVER COME CLOSE to the hip. Therefore, train the hip for power and the knee for stability. I’ll agree with Louie on that one.

  3. As close to vertical as possible DOES NOT MEAN vertical it means as close AS POSSIBLE. Very few people will have perfectly vertical shins.

Finally regarding strength ad flexibility, the body prevents a weak muscle from fully extending. Again as my hamstrings got stronger, my squat got deeper.


Hmm always open to learning new things and thinking in new ways.

I can’t argue the hips even without gear beat out quads in force potential else everyone would be olympic hi bar squatting everything. So quads and hips still work in conjunction and the best way to train this is the hip for power and the knee for stability. Sounds interesting. I’d like to incorporate something like this into my own training.

How would one train the knee for stability? Does it matter if I squat raw, wraps or equipped when using Louie Simmons’ tips or is this for all kinds of squatting? I’ll probably be able to take away a lot from these approaches seeing that they are foreign to me.

And just to clarify for @j4gga2 did stronger hamstrings assist you in avoiding buttwink, going deeper or both?

Yes, in my case Hamstring strength has cured my buttwink and gotten me to the point where I don’t think depth - I just drop down and rebound up. You need to find a position where your body is locked in and you can’t go deeper. Then you just hit position withour thinking.

Currently, I treat the Hips, Adductors, and Hamstrings as primary movers (in extension). I train conjugate and after the ME or DE movement I use one heavy hip hinging movement (RDL, GM, SDL, etc.) and then a leg curl variation. This way the hamstring is worked in bothe directions since it spans two joints.

I also do calf work because as Ed Coan mentioned the calf functions to stabilize the lower leg while pulling the shin backwards. I learned this somewhat by accident. A year ago I partially tore the inner part of my right Gastroc and after rehab, when squatting I initially had problems stabilizing the walkout and also my right leg would shift forward and cause a rotation in the bottom of the squat.

As for knee stability it is a combination of knee isolation (leg extensions, leg curl and adductor/abductor work). Hamstrings should be about 2/3 as strong as quads. Right now my leg curls are still lagging (about 55%) with respect to quad strength. The Ham work has also improved deadlift poundage and mechanics.

Also, don’t accept popular wisdom. I have always found that the “worthless adductor/abductor” machines have always helped when included as prehab work for sets of 25-30 reps. There is no such thing asa bad exercise, only inappropriate programming.

Finally, you should really look into westside programming.It demands a fair amount of study but the beauty of the program is that it is infinitely customizeable. My only caution is that you have a long enough training history so that technique is dialed in and you can analyze whta your body is doing.