Forums General hip/ankle mobility and the butt wink Re: hip/ankle mobility and the butt wink

AvatarKatie Hemphill

Hey Kristopher,

To be honest, if you’re experiencing a butt wink in your squat, you’re going to deep FOR YOU. It may be that you have a mobility deficit or you’re not quite moving correctly, but the bottom line is that you’re exceeding your ability to squat with good mechanics.
Squatting below parallel is the ideal (barring any limiting factors like injury), but if you continue to squat past your true end position, even if that is above parallel right now, it will very likely hinder you on your quest for a good deep squat. Only by finding and respecting your bottom position will you familiarize yourself with what the bottom position feels like, and only by knowing what it feels like can you hope to improve it reliably.
So, step number one is to reduce your range of motion (squat more shallowly) and fine-tune your mechanics within THAT RANGE as much as possible. I highly recommend using a box squat, with a box height that meets your available depth (or even a little higher at this point), and PAUSING in the bottom position. Not sitting on the box, but hovering with minimal contact so you learn to stabilize the bottom position. Any butt wink is too much. Continue to diligently box squat, slowly reducing the height as either (1) your improved mechanics allow you to squat more deeply, or (2) you gain the range through working hard on mobility.
I also highly recommend that you begin these box squat sessions without load. Air box squats! You need to be confident that you can move the way you want to without fully relying on the weight to drive you into the bottom position. You may be able to get deeper with weight, and that’s fine, but make sure you can understand what the bottom feels like without load, and then start heaping it on very slowly.
Something very important to keep in mind is that this won’t be a one workout thing. This might take weeks. Maybe longer. Mentally prepare yourself to be involved with improving your squat for the foreseeable future, because nothing will waste your time like a half-assed attempt to improve those mechanics (speaking from experience here). Consider that you’ve been butt winking for a while, and you’re not even truly aware of it without video. You’re almost learning the bottom position of the squat for the first time. It’s way behind the rest of your squat. Nurture it carefully, but with your full intent and dedication!
Good luck.