Better Hip Mobility for a Better Squat

By: Chuck Kretchek PT, DPT, CEAS

Form is key in CrossFit. From squats to overhead press, it is essential that form is maintained in order to maximize your lift and minimize your risk of injury. We could spend pages analyzing the mechanics of each lift, but I want to focus on a common issue that emanates from the hips- the “butt wink”.

Technically speaking, the butt wink is a posterior pelvic tilt at terminal hip flexion. When we are engaging in an activity such as squatting, we lower ourselves down to the ground by flexing our hips. When we run out of motion in our hips and still want to continue downwards, we then compensate by flexing (or crunching) our lumbar spine to gain more motion. This crunching of the lumbar spine causes the tailbone to tuck under and give the appearance of a “wink” at the bottom of our squats.

The problem is that when our spine is flexed and we have a considerable weight either in front or on top of our shoulders, it makes our back very susceptible to injury. The way to minimize this risk? Gain posterior hip mobility and focus on the mechanics of only utilizing your hips during a squat. Some of my favorite stretches to accomplish this mobility gain include the hand-heel rock maintaining neutral spine, frog stretch and kneeling Piriformis stretch. A great deal of these posterior hip mobility drills can be combined with manual therapy intervention as well as a foam roller to really target these deficit areas.

We will be hosting a seminar on June 3rd where I will be demonstrating these drills and more that will help you incorporate a well rounded mobility program into your training regime. Stay tuned for more info!