Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General hip/ankle mobility and the butt wink

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    • #71271
      AvatarYoav Sagy

      Hey ya’ll. I’ve recently changed some things about my approach to
      training, 1. I got olympic lifting shoes, FINALLY. 2. I am doing a lot
      more mobility and form work, I am pushing 30 and I don’t need to fuck
      myself up. I have some questions about butt wink. I feel like I have
      much more mobility in my hips and ankles than I did even last week (thanks Kelly), yet
      I’m still getting a bit of butt wink at the bottom of my squat. I can
      feel it happen sometimes and other times my squat feels good, but I can
      see a bit of wink on video. My question is this: Are my squats
      acceptably deep when I stop before the wink OR, is the degree of
      butt wink acceptable at full depth? I can post another video if need be, I
      was really feeling around to see what I could do with my knees, etc. to
      get lower with no rounding. Thanks in advance.


    • #75779
      AvatarTom Matchinsky

      A couple of things. If you really look down like that when you squat you will lose lower back position at the bottom. If you turn your feet out that far it becomes difficult to created the torque in your hips necessary to keep your lower back in position. I also feel the times you stopped higher you were just below parallel which is all you need. Don’t get to caught up in going ass to grass. It is hard to see your breathing but if you are taking your breaths before you descend into your chest and not into your diaphragm and abdomen, you will lose spine position at the bottom of the squat.

    • #75812
      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.
    • #75813
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      Also, a couple technical pointers after reviewing your video:

      1) Make sure you have a solid grasp of how to brace a neutral spine. There are MWODs on the topic, for sure. As you move to get under the bar to unrack it, you arch your lower back and push your belly out. Breaking position before you receive the load will have a very negative impact on your ability to move well through the set. Practice getting under the bar with good form. Practice it like there is nothing else to the squat until you can do it reliably.
      2) Watch that head position. Your chin is dropping down to your chest throughout the video. Keep your head in line with your body. It can help to look at a spot on the floor a few feet in front of you. But similarly, you should practice being able to maintain a good head position while you move and be able to do this reliably before you try to progress the squat any further.
      3) One thing at a time. Each set, or even each session, pick a technical detail that you want to improve, and make it your primary focus for the practice session. Trying to juggle all the things you need to fix will be very overwhelming, and result in very little actual improvement.
      You’re going to crush the squat! Just make patience your personal virtue while you do so.
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