How important is the butt squeeze?

The so called butt squeeze is an increased contraction of the glute muscles which leads to an increased posterior tilt of the pelvis.

It is a phenomenont that resulted from what I like to call the “insta fitchick” movement. It is all those influencers who show their – often very fancy – training methods and techniques without any reasoning. Often this specific movement (the butt squeeze) is emphasised in movements such as deadlifts and squats or other lower extremity exercises.

But what‘s the benefit? Additional muscle „activation“? Is the isometric contraction really gonna lead to additional glute hypertrophy? Is the risk to benefit ratio good enough?

I don‘t think so. The same people who emphasize the good old butt squeeze often promote that there should never ever (!!) be any spinal rounding during any part of any movement and at the same time ass to grass squats are a must (which it is not!). If we are trying to somehow achieve „spinal neutral“ and „spinal stability“ during squatting and deadlifting and want to avoid excessive rounding, why go into crazy (or even end range?) lumbar flexion. Which is essentially what you do with an excessive butt squeeze.

Not to say that some lumbar flexion per se is dangerous. Especially when you build up load slowly, it should not impose any immediate danger. But what is the benefit of doing the butt squeeze? What are the downsides of leaving it out? None, really. So why not maintain the “neutral” position of the spine, while creating tension at the same time?

The key takeaway is, that in most heavy movements, where a butt squeeze is often emphasised, it is exactly the opposite of what you want to do. You can build tension and activate your glutes without it being so excessive. Just because a lot of people show it online does not mean it is necessary, correct or desirable. Building up the right tension often cannot even be seen, but felt. It is all about motor control which is, unfortunately, one of those things that take time to learn.

Quiz time!

Try this quiz to see if the information from the blog post stuck!

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