The quadruped rocking squat assessment should be a staple for anyone looking to master the squat. The goal of this assessment is 2-fold. First, we are working on hip and pelvis dissociation. What this entails is the ability of the athlete to move their legs independently of their pelvis. While problems with lumbopelvic dissociation (moving the pelvis independently of the lumbar spine and vice versa) are more common in other movement patterns, for the squat we are more focused on moving the femur independently of the pelvis.
As we descend into the squat, we are moving into hip flexion. Our femur rotates within the acetabulum of the pelvis to create this osteokinetmatic motion. However, as we continue to move into hip flexion, the femur will eventually run out of ‘real estate' to move, and in order to move into more hip flexion, our pelvis POSTERIORLY ROTATES. This posterior pelvic tilt, commonly known as THE BUTT WINK, is a fundamental and natural phenoma that allows us more hip flexion ROM.
However, as the body is a kinetic chain, this pelvic posterior tilt is accompanied by lumbar spine flexion. And excessive flexion in the lumbar spine is something that we believe should be avoided - especially under high loads in the squat. Notice as I rock backwards, I am staying ‘in tune’ with my body awareness and trying to find that point where my pelvis posteriorly tilts. That is going to by MY LIMIT for squat depth with a posterior pelvic tilt. Everyone has a different bony anatomy and body control, and squat depth where the butt wink occurs will vary from person to person. For someone STARTING OFF AND LEARNING TO SQUAT FOR THE FIRST TIME, we believe it’s extremely important to maintain this neutral spine and not squat past the butt wink.