If there's anything that 2014, the unofficial Year of the Butt, has taught us, it's that we need to be doing our squats. Before going balls-to-the-wall (or should it be butts to the wall?), trying to get a butt worthy of breaking the Internet, remember that in squatting, like with any workout, technique is what matters most.
Women's Health consulted with East Texas State University researchers on a study they conducted on the effectiveness of full squats (where you go down until your knees bend at 90º) versus partial squats (where your knees only bend at 120º). They found that the group who performed full squats during half of their workout and partial squats during the other half increased their strength to a greater extent than the group who did an entire workout of full squats. What makes partial squats so helpful is that, though you're doing a much shallower squat, you have the opportunity to use heavier weights.
So, although partial squats have been found to be an important addition to your squat routine, full squats are still necessary to reap the benefits of this conditioning. For example, squatting to 90º involves a greater length of muscle than squatting to 120º does. That's why, as the study suggests, you should incorporate both into your workout. If anything, your squats will get a little less monotonous.
Click through to Women's Health for details on the study and a step-by-step guide to the partial squat. (Women's Health)