The Best Exercise to Eliminate Butt Wink

Stephen Holt, Timonium personal trainer

Millions of readers of national fitness magazines including Shape, Women's Health, Fitness. Woman's Day, Family Circle, Runner's World, (and many others) have made their exercise programs both more effective AND more efficient with fitness and nutrition advice from "America's Baby Boomer Expert," Stephen Holt.
Oh, no – not the dreaded Butt Wink!

Don’t freak out, though.

It’s not some ridiculous made up thing like thigh gap or bikini bridge women are told they need to worry about.

And your friends and co-workers probably aren’t whispering behind your back about your embarrassing Butt Wink.

So what exactly is Butt Wink?

See the one on the right? That’s Butt Wink.

[Thanks, Molly Galbraith of I can copy as long as I link to you – cool?]

Butt Wink is the oh-so-scientific name educated trainers have given to refer to the unwanted bending (we call it “flexion”) of your lower back typically near the bottom of the squat.

[UN-educated trainers simply yell, “Get lower.”

Implication: Do whatever it takes to get your butt down to that fairly randomly chosen 14″ medicine ball that so obviously requires more range of motion from a 6-foot tall person than a 5-foot tall person and thus become a different and possibly inappropriate exercise.

Oops – I digress.]

In the simplest terms, rounding your low back like that (on the right) — especially under load, as in a squat — is bad news for your spine.

That’s all you really need to know. If you want to get fancy, read some Stuart McGill:


The good news is that, in most people, Butt Wink is caused by a simple lack of awareness that

  1. it’s happening in the first place, and
  2. it’s a position that should probably be avoided in the weight room*

*Keep in mind that “Neutral spine doesn’t mean dead spine” [stolen from Paul Chek – don’t start], so movements like Cat and Camel do have their place. Besides, if it wasn’t for pelvic tilting, none of us would be here.

We call this exercise The Rocking Frog, or simply Rocking.

Here’s How You Do It

Start on all fours with your toes tucked under. This subtle tip may help ease your plantar fasciitis if you have have a mild case or if you’ve had issues with plantar fasciitis in the past.

KEEPING THE NATURAL CURVE IN YOUR LOW BACK (yes, I’m yelling because it’s important), sit back on your heels. Then move your upper body forward.

Yep, it’s that simple. In principle.

Although this move may not look like much, on a fancy-pants personal trainer level, it teaches Hip-Back Dissociation which is crucial for avoiding low back pain.

You see, a common cause of mechanical low back pain (that’s back pain caused by moving improperly) is Hip-Back ASS-ociation. [Oops – I could have hyphenated that a little better].

In other words, people with chronic low back pain tend to move their low back when they move at the hip.

Ideally, hip movement should be DIS-sociated from back movement.

Try this simple exercise and let me know how you do.


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