Is Squatting To Depth Actually Harder To Judge From The Front?

By: Adam Driggers

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 a mile high, and squats that I wasn’t 100% sure about. I both heard and participated in countless discussions about how to properly judge the squat. I was told, and have opinioned myself, that judging from 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.

  • Only myself performed the following experiment so only my exact body type is represented, thus, I cannot speak or vouch for those of other body size or compositions.

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 elses head. I want to know exactly what the judges see.

The main question that posed itself was whether it is more difficult to judge the squat from the front rather than the side? Does the front view make the squat look higher? The latter was the most important of the two questions for me to answer.


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

1. I set my cameras in a position that would mimic where a judge would be sitting at an actual meet.I wanted to be able 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. There are a total of ten video clips. Each video has both a side and front view of the exact same squat. Again, there is a title screen for each individual clip that explains how it differs from the previous video.











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.

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Team Samson Powerlifting

Team Samson was founded by Adam Driggers who built the Team Samson compound. Some of the biggest names in powerlifting have trained with Team Samson including Dondell Blue, Al Caslow, and Gary Frank. What began as a small group of members has grown into an accomplished team of lifters that continue to chase after new strength gains. Team Samson is made up of pro lifters Brian Carroll, Clint Smith, and Jonathan Byrd along with lifters in various stages of their lifting career including Adam Driggers, Keith Price, Filipe Gusmão, Mike Holman, Paul Key, Shane Ford, Shane Shepperd, and Tony Garland.
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