Jump to Conclusions

Is your leg routine working? You can determine whether your lower body is getting stronger by using deep squat jumps, say Spanish researchers, who reported that the body-weight exercise was a good predictor of weightlifting performance.

Here’s how to test yourself. Holding a piece of tape, face a wall in a shoulder-width stance. Keeping your chest up and back flat, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, then explode upward as high as possible, allowing your feet to leave the floor and raising your arms overhead. Stick the tape to the wall at the highest position you can reach. Land on soft feet with your knees bent. Repeat three times, placing a new piece of tape on the wall each time. Measure the distance from the floor to the spots where the tape pieces are on the wall and record the best of the three measurements. Repeat this test every four weeks — a higher result is a good indication of increasing strength.