Your Guide on Squats for Lower Back Pain and Butt Winking

Doesn’t a butt wink sound cute? Despite its cute name, this common squatting mistake is actually a sign of muscle weakness and isn’t helping you squat. 

A butt wink happens when your butt curls under your body at the bottom of a squat (like you’re winking your butt). 

The results of this include excessive lower body and spinal flexion that leads to more muscle weakness. The opposing lesser-used muscles here that help you come out of the butt wink will then get weaker and weaker over time leading to more muscle imbalances. If you want to learn how to spot this and fix it, keep on reading!

Why Do People Butt Wink?

You butt wink because you don’t have proper muscle awareness, which you CAN learn. You need to learn how to maximally contract your hip flexors and your erectors at the same exact time and hold that awareness while squatting. You could also be butt winking due to a misalignment in your spine and/or pelvis, which needs to be addressed before you keep doing squats, or anything really. 

How Do You Fix the Butt Wink? 

We said it above, and we will say it again and again, you need to develop muscle awareness. How do you do this? We created the MoveU Hips & Glutes Program and MoveU Back & Core Program to help you connect with your body, gain awareness, reduce pain, and help you fix your alignment and muscle imbalances. Do yourself a favor and go enroll today.

2 Techniques to Fix Your Butt Wink

Forehead Groin Test with Stick

Stick Trick for Squat Form

To get you started, try out these two techniques using a stick mobility stick to help keep your pelvis and back aligned during a squat. You can place the stick mobility stick on your forehead and groin while squat to prevent yourself from over-arching your back on the way up or down from a squat. It will also help you drive up using your glutes and keep your pelvis in alignment with the rest of your torso.

Head and Back Test with Stick

The next technique is to place the stick on your head and back (with the end resting at the bottom of your tailbone). This variation will help you determine when you butt wink at the bottom of a squat, which can be due to poor ankle or hip mobility. Notice if your butt winks at the bottom of your squat by seeing what happens to the stick. You can use a mirror for more support/feedback.

Proper Squatting Cues: What Should You Look for if You Want to Avoid a Butt Wink?

How should a squat look then, you might be asking. Here is what you want to look for while squatting: 

  • Extension of the lower body.

  • Contraction of your erectors.

  • Maximum flexion of your thighs.

  • Contraction of your hip flexors.

Here’s what you want to look for when standing back up and getting out of your squat: 

  • Spinal angle stays the same as you return to a standing position

Squat Form

What Muscles Get Stronger When You Learn to Squat Properly? 

When you learn how to squat properly you will have stronger extensors, stronger glutes, and stronger hip flexors as well.

How to Do a Squat Without Pain or Butt Winking

Are you ready to get low? Great, but before you even attempt a squat, please check out your ankle mobility. Sometimes a butt wink is a result of an ankle mobility issue. If you have stiff ankles and descend into a deep squat, you’re going to hit your end range of ankle mobility earlier and need to compensate with your pelvis in order to get deeper in your squat. To fix this, warm up, stretch your calves, and open your groin.

Here's our complete list of things to look out for when doing a full-body functional movement like a squat without pain:

  • Ankle mobility.

  • Toe and foot engagement.

  • Neutral spine (slight arch in the lower back).

  • Active core.

  • Shoulder blades pulled down.

  • Glute engagement (on the way down and then back up).

Remember to perform a great squat, you need to address your body’s entire function. Also, don’t force anything while squatting. Work to a depth where you can maintain good form and back off if you feel any pain and don’t be any of these people in these barbell back squat videos.

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