Fix Your Butt Wink In THe Squat

“I have scottish hips”

This is BY FAR the best excuse I’ve ever heard to justify someone's hips tucking under during a squat (also commonly called “butt wink”).

It sure beats the usual “I have tight hamstrings” line that a lot of people like to throw around.

Truth be told, I have yet to put my hands on someone who’s hamstrings ACTUALLY prevented them from doing a legit squat with good control at the bottom.

In this short article, I’ve outlined the simple process you should follow to get rid of your butt wink. And I promise that it doesn’t involve any stretching. Pretty dope, right?


Test Your Squat Range Of Motion

The best way to determine whether or not you actually possess the adequate range of motion to complete a safe and controlled squat is to use the Quadruped Rockback exercise.

Setup in a quadruped position (on all fours) and after bracing your core, rock your hips back toward your heels. Keep your back as flat as you can, or at least make sure you that the curvature of your back doesn't change during your rock. In other words, avoid rounding out the back OR increasing the curvature of your low back.

The best way to check your progress is to work next to a mirror. Move slowly and stop your movement as soon as you see your hips tucking under or when you lose core control. Reset at the top of your rock and start again.

You can also use a wooden dowel (or stick) on your back. The stick will balance onyour low back and your tailbone. Keep the curvature of your low back consistent with the stick between the top and the bottom of your rock.

Rep after rep, you should see your control improving as your butt gets closer and closer to your hips.

It might take you a few sets to get this one down. Just make sure you don’t rush it. Stay slow in your movement and pay attention to what your body is doing.

Were you able to get your hips close to your heels without tucking under? Congrats! This means that you have the pre-requisite range of motion to complete a squat effectively.

Let’s get to the next part of this sequence.


Stand Up And Squat!

You’ve now shown good control in a stable position (quadruped), so it’s time to get on your feet and integrate that control into a real squat.

My go-to here is usually the goblet squat.

I like this variation because it’s front-loaded, which allows for a better positioning of the mid-section compared to a back-loaded squat.

Set up standing upright with the dumbbell (or kettlebell) in your hands. Keep the weight close to your chest and reach your elbows forward. Give a long breath out (think “blow up the balloon”) to set your core tight. This should feel close to what you experienced at the top of the Quadruped Rockback earlier.

Now that you’re set with a tight core, proceed to squat down, keeping your weight evenly distributed on your feet.

Just as you did in your rockback, stop your descent when you see your hips starting to tuck under. You can check your progress with a mirror, although sometime a video from the side works best.

Reset at the top and go again, until your find the right groove. Eventually, you will be able to squat down without a butt wink.

Sometimes it pays to go back and forth between the Quadruped Rockback and the Goblet Squat to really get the feel for each position and see good transfer between the two.


Advance Your Squat

After you’ve mastered your goblet squat, you can move on to applying this newfound control to other, more advanced squat variations (front squat, back squat, etc…).

Congrats! You just fixed your butt wink. Those hamstrings weren’t that tight after all, were they? 😉

Comment on your progress below!

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Sean is a Strength & Conditioning Coach based in Vancouver, BC. He focuses on beginner strength training and online programming for recreational lifters and athletes. He believes in the value of hard work when applied to a smart training program. Sean has a keen eye for good movement and encourages a positive lifestyle to support good training results.

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