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In Russian, we have a saying, "The deeper you squat, the firmer your butt is" (in Russian, it rhymes, "Чем ниже сяд, тем крепче зад"). However, sumo squats are not deep at all but are touted as a way to get your bottom in shape. So does it make most sense to do deep or shallow squats if, suppose, your focus is glutes?

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A 2019 study measuring lower limb hypertrophy after a training program consisting of full squats (to the point where the thighs are parallel with the ground) or half squats found that full squats were vastly superior to half squats for glute hypertrophy.1

There's some EMG evidence showing that the glutes aren't particularly active at the very bottom of a super deep squat2 (they reached 140° of knee flexion), which could be taken as meaning that squatting below parallel is unnecessary for glute hypertrophy, however EMG only measures muscle activation, so we can't say for sure that this is the case until someone runs a study directly measuring hypertrophy as a result of deep vs parallel squats.

Stronger By Science has an excellent writeup on this topic: Squats Are Secretly An Adductor Exercise

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  • Confusing. 4 more to go... Nov 26, 2021 at 22:26
  • @SergeyZolotarev 4 more what? Nov 27, 2021 at 3:54
  • 1
    Characters. Also four more to go. Nov 27, 2021 at 13:50

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