Winking is a universal sign of something cool is either happening or about to happen. Seeing someone wink at you usually means you are in a buddy cop movie and your partner is giving you the signal to punch the bad guy in the face or someone of the opposite sex has done it across the bar at you which sparks a series of events that leads to you waking up in a rufie haze, in a bathtub full of ice, with a hole in your back and a kidney missing. Either way, getting winked at usually ends up with a great story to tell.
Now, onto the butt wink. Yes, people do this. Yes, it is a sign of dysfunction. No, it is not ok to do. No, not even when you drop it in the club. Here is what it looks like:
As you can see, his ass is attempting to smother his legs in the hole of the squat. I don’t know about you, but that last thing I want to do is turn my spinal chord into a wet noodle when I have a billion pounds on my back. There are a couple of issues that could be present. Fixing one or all of them will help to unwink your hiney and get you in a position to smash weights and extend your glute modeling career into the next several decades.
1. Hip Abduction:
Poor hip abduction is a major contributor to the gluteal blink. When done correctly, the squat is not a knee extension/knee dominant exercise. When the knees are forced out, the hips forced open, and “space” is created between the head of the femur and the hip joint, the hips will then have more room to move independent of the legs. This turns the movement into a hip dominant/hip abduction/hip extension exercise… which it should always be. Think of it this way, everybody on Earth, our center of gravity is right around/above our belly button. When you are risking being crushed to death with a heavy bar on your back, don’t you want your prime mover to be the most stable joint closest to where you are structurally at your most mechanically advantaged? Yes. You’re answer is yes. So, for the love of god, stop calling squats a leg exercise and start abducting some huge weights.
How to fix this mess:
Goblet Squats (good video but I have no idea why it was filmed looking like vintage WWII footage):
10 Minute Squat Test… yes, I am fat… and yes, even I can do this. It just sucks. A lot.
2. Hip Extension:
Along the same lines as hip abduction, if the muscles responsible for hip extension are all yoked up, your butt will do all kinds of weird stuff when you squat.
Fixing the mess:
General Hip Extension:
3. Lateral Hamstring:
The first two suggestions were more technique and positioning issues with the butt during it’s mal-wink. Tightness in the lateral hamstrings (and the hamstrings in general) can literally pull your hips/pelvis underneath of you in the hole of a squat. This is a pretty easy problem to fix… you just have to take the time to do the stretches.
Lateral Hammy Stretch (note Coach Boyle’s enthusiasm):
A variation I like to do with a band pulling on the thigh, posterior to the hamstring. This is easy to set up if you have a power rack. If you don’t have a power rack… then how the hell did you find this blog?
Two things need to be happening when you are squatting to make sure the weight doesn’t smother you into a crushed, ex-human meat puddle. The first is building your abdominal muscles to the point of being able to grate diamonds by rubbing them on your stomach, then learning how to push those muscles OUT (do not ever draw in with a bar on your back… actually don’t do that ever anyway. It’s stupid) as hard as you can to create the largest base of support/point of force transfer between your upper and lower halves. The second piece of the puzzle is making your upper back and lats so tight that you should be scared that you are going to rip the bar in half.
Learning Upper Back Arch (why in the hell is this video so long? Skip to 8:09 for the actual exercise):
I could go on for days and says about squat technique. Check out the 5,000 part EliteFTS series “So You Think You Can Squat” for TONS of useful squatting info that is explained better than I could by people smarter than me.
As far as prescription for the mobility work/stretches mentioned above. I would strongly suggest doing each 4-6 times a week, 2-5 minutes each for the first 2 weeks (or however long it takes to fix the winky butt) then backing off to more of a maintenance frequency of 1-2 times a week.
Let me know how your own personal unwinking goes and also if any of this information was actually helpful to you.
“If it can’t be cured by squatting and fish oil, then you’re probably going to die.”
Solum Per Exitum.