Squat Depth

Harder to Judge From the Front?

Is it truly harder to judge the squat from the front? Does the squat always look higher from the front?

Below is a series of experiments I conducted.

I sat in judges' chairs; both side and front. I saw squats that were without a doubt deep enough, squats that were obviously high, and squats that I wasn’t 100 percent sure about. I heard and participated in countless discussions about how to properly judge the squat. I was told, and have opined myself, that the front seat was the hardest to judge the squat from. If you look in most federations' rule books, they illustrate the proper depth for squatting, but always from the side, leaving the head judge guessing.

So, I wanted to answer the question for myself.

But before I do, I want to point out that there are several things the following can not take into account.

1. Body size and composition.

  • I performed the following experiment so only my body type is represented.

2. Different camera angles.

  • I am not concerned at this time with what a squat looks like from the audience. I’m even less concerned at this time with how it looks from a camera held over everyone else’s head. I want to know what the judges see.

The question I posed to myself was as follows:

Is it more difficult to judge the squat from the front rather than the side? Does the front view make the squat look higher? (The second was the most important of the two questions for me to answer.)

Here's how I conducted my experiments to get an answer:

1. I set my cameras in a position similar to that of a meet. I wanted to see what the judges see.

  • I set two cameras in fixed locations.
  • The front camera is 105 inches from the squatter.
  • The side camera is also 105 inches from the squatter.
  • I set the lens height to be exact on both cameras (27 inches).

2. I began the experiment by squatting off boxes to have a definite squat depth

  • Sets 1 and 2 were to a 12 ¾” box.
  • Sets 3 and 4 were to a 13 ½” box.
  • Set 5 was to a 14 ½” box.
  • Set 6 was to a 15 ¾” box.

3. I conducted the experiment both raw and in full gear. I removed the box once I was in gear.

There are a few changes from set to set. I added light as needed. I tucked in my shirt after the first set to get a better view of my hips. Each change is stated in each of the clips.

What you will see:

There are 10 video clips. Each clip has a side view and a front view of the same squat. Again, there is a title screen for each clip that explains how it differs from the previous clip.

Set 1:

Set 2:

Set 3:

Set 4:

Set 5:

Set 6:

Set 7:

Set 8:

Set 9:

Set 10:


I will wait to give my own conclusion, but in the meantime I’d like to know what you think. Is it harder to properly call a squat from the front? Tell me what I could have done to make the experiment better.