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Old 12-28-2010, 07:14 PM   #1
Kevin Simons
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Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

What is the general consensus around here about dealing with the butt-wink issue?

I'm training a kid who has never touched weights or squatted in his life. As an ex-gymnast he is pretty strong and has above average flexibility in most positions. When he gets below parallel in an air squat, however, he has a really hard time keeping his lower back from rounding.

At a CF affiliate I heard the trainer tell a woman to only go so low that she was able to still maintain proper lumbar extension. The problem was that the woman wasn't even getting to parallel. I personally know the toll that can take on one's knees. So what takes precedence in this situation? Low back or knee health?

I know that we would optimally fix the underlying issues, and I really am trying to improve flexibility in the area. We have been doing some stretches, MWODs, and he has been practicing at home. But until it is fixed, what would you have him do? He is in the 2nd week of Starting Strength so the weights aren't at all heavy for him. I have been having him go all the way down and trying to keep the low back arched since I don't think that the small amount of flexion will hurt him at these weights. When they start getting heavier, that probably won't be an option.

What would you trainers have him do?
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:38 PM   #2
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

Do you want the "CrossFit" answer or the "SS" answer? Because they're different.

What a person's body does in an "air" squat may be completely different than what his body does in a weighted squat. And, the common misconception is that everyone's body should look the same at the bottom of a squat, which is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE due to differences in anthropometry.

I don't care what his back looks like in the air squat. I care what he's doing in his weighted squats. So, what do those look like? How much weight is he squatting, and do you have video?

"There are very few more effective stretches for tight squatting muscles than squats..." - Rip

This issue is addressed extensively on the SS Forums. See also:
http://www.70sbig.com/?p=2978 (not WFS due to profanity)
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:40 PM   #3
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

Buttwink is an overhyped boogieman in the CF world. I forget if I heard it at Rip's seminar or one of KStar's videos, but a slight amount of it is pretty much unavoidable for anyone who doesn't have lordosis, and a little of it is not worth worrying about.

I'll see if I can find a link or my notes to give you some more details on it.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:35 PM   #4
Kevin Simons
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamara Cohen View Post
Do you want the "CrossFit" answer or the "SS" answer? Because they're different.

What a person's body does in an "air" squat may be completely different than what his body does in a weighted squat. And, the common misconception is that everyone's body should look the same at the bottom of a squat, which is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE due to differences in anthropometry.

I don't care what his back looks like in the air squat. I care what he's doing in his weighted squats. So, what do those look like? How much weight is he squatting, and do you have video?

"There are very few more effective stretches for tight squatting muscles than squats..." - Rip

This issue is addressed extensively on the SS Forums. See also:
http://www.70sbig.com/?p=2978 (not WFS due to profanity)
Thanks, Tamara! I care a lot more about the evidence than blindly following some dogma. Not a Kool-Aid drinker, thank you very much!

Anyway, the butt wink occurs in both his air squats and his weighted squat. He did 115lbs for five during his last session. Unfortunately, I don't have a video.

After reading that article from 70sBig (great read btw) I don't think I'm going to worry about it too much. It seems to be one of those rare problems that will likely fix itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
Buttwink is an overhyped boogieman in the CF world. I forget if I heard it at Rip's seminar or one of KStar's videos, but a slight amount of it is pretty much unavoidable for anyone who doesn't have lordosis, and a little of it is not worth worrying about.

I'll see if I can find a link or my notes to give you some more details on it.
I knew the trainers at my Level 1 were a bit crazy when they talked of the "dangerous" butt wink when performing air squats. I just didn't want to hurt the kid when he started loading some weight on his back. As long as it doesn't get much worse when it gets heavy, I'll probably keep going just as I have been. Thanks for the responses!
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:04 PM   #5
Brian Degenaro
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

The other thing to keep in mind is if he is hyperextending his back (around thoracolumbar junction), squatting all the way down usually unlocks this hyperextension and brings the junction to neutral. Most of the times I see squatting happening, this butt wink is that: hyperextension to neutral extension.

Telling someone to get a big arch (most of the time they will hyperextend) in their back can do just as much harm as flexion. Think tall and straight.
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:17 PM   #6
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

I can't believe I'm asking this, but since I think I'm a "buttwinker," does anyone have any guidelines to acceptable and non-acceptable "wink" or photos of such. I read the "70's Big" and it gave me and idea but I want to make sure I'm not going from over extension to neutral vs. mild over extension to mild rounding.

Thanks
Bob
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:05 PM   #7
Matt Payne
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamara Cohen View Post
Do you want the "CrossFit" answer or the "SS" answer? Because they're different.

What a person's body does in an "air" squat may be completely different than what his body does in a weighted squat. And, the common misconception is that everyone's body should look the same at the bottom of a squat, which is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE due to differences in anthropometry.

I don't care what his back looks like in the air squat. I care what he's doing in his weighted squats. So, what do those look like? How much weight is he squatting, and do you have video?

"There are very few more effective stretches for tight squatting muscles than squats..." - Rip

This issue is addressed extensively on the SS Forums. See also:
http://www.70sbig.com/?p=2978 (not WFS due to profanity)
Totally agree with Tamara. My Air Squat looks less than perfect and totally different then back squat or front squat with weight. I am tall, long femurs etc... in my air squat it is very challenging to keep my torso more upright, but with weight it is much easier. I also get far deeper with some weight.
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:16 PM   #8
Donald Lee
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

I strongly disagree with that 70's Big article.

1. Sitting and standing from a toilet is not comparable to Squatting. I hear this all the time, but I don't think I should have to explain this one.

2. Injuries usually occur while exercising because of some form of repetitive trauma. Even "butt winking" while air squatting can potentially cause or facilitate spinal injury if done frequently and with high volume.

3. Pushing the knees out can help, but it does not eliminate the need for adequate hamstring flexibility.

4. There are those who hyperextend their spine while squatting, but that does not negate the benefits of actively extending the spine. Both hyperextension and hyperflexion can cause injury, but the spine is more vulnerable to injury with hyperflexion than with hyperextension.

5. Being contrarian and "talking out of your butt" (pun intended) does not equate to being right.
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:32 PM   #9
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

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Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
Injuries usually occur while exercising because of some form of repetitive trauma. Even "butt winking" while air squatting can potentially cause or facilitate spinal injury if done frequently and with high volume.
Solution: Stop "air" squatting for high reps. Or stop "air" squatting, period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
Being contrarian and "talking out of your butt" (pun intended) does not equate to being right.
Um, the CrossFit view on this tends to be the contrarian view, so yeah...totally agree with you...
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:34 PM   #10
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Dealing with Buttwink on Starting Strength

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Fabsik View Post
I can't believe I'm asking this, but since I think I'm a "buttwinker," does anyone have any guidelines to acceptable and non-acceptable "wink" or photos of such. I read the "70's Big" and it gave me and idea but I want to make sure I'm not going from over extension to neutral vs. mild over extension to mild rounding.

Thanks
Bob
Need to see YOU squatting.
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