Vertical Jump Test: How To Measure Vertical Jump?

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The vertical jump is crucial for some sports, such as basketball. For many other athletic disciplines, the vertical jump may not be by itself essential, but it can show your legs’ explosive strength. Changes in your vertical jump also allow your coach to assess your progress over time.

If you are wondering how to measure your vertical jump height, it’s actually pretty easy to do and doesn’t require any equipment. However, there are many ways to measure your jump height, one more accurate than the other. Let’s talk about these below.

Best Ways To Measure Vertical Jump

There are many ways to measure your vertical jump. Some require no equipment and can be done at home, while others need some investment.

Among the most accessible and popular tools for vertical jump measurement are:

  • Double-sided tape (yup, if you don’t need high accuracy, you need nothing more than tape).
  • Mobile apps.
  • Force plates.
  • Vertical jump testers.

How To Measure Your Vertical Jumps At Home (With Equipment)

Equipment allows for the most accurate measurements. If you are a coach or a professional athlete, it would make sense for you to invest in equipment. Though if you are a member of a local professional team, chances are that your team has adequate equipment for vertical jump measurement.

Anyway, let’s have a look at ways to measure your vertical jump height at home with equipment.

Mobile apps

Search for vertical jump testers on your mobile device’s app market – you’ll probably find a bunch of them. Mobile jump tester apps can be quite inaccurate and generally have low user ratings, but you could try them anyway. They are free and don’t require you to dig into your pocket.

App testers generally work in two ways:

  • The app relies on your phone’s sensors to measure your vertical jump.
  • You upload a video of you jumping, and the app uses its internal algorithms to calculate your jump height. For the most accurate results, mobile apps usually ask for a slow-mo video, which not all smartphones can take. 30 fps video will work the worst.

Since each app has its own way of calculating the jump, it’s difficult for me to give you precise recommendations. Check out your app’s instructions to achieve accurate results, but don’t expect much.

Jump plates

Jump plates – like the Just Jump System – measure jump height based on how long you are off the ground. It’s most accurate when you do 60 jumps – the machine averages heights over your attempts to give you a single number.

Aside from jump height, this particular system measures foot quickness and explosive leg power.

Jump plates like the Just Jump System seem to be accurate and are very easy to use – you only need to jump for the device to make measurements. But jump plates require considerable investment.

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Vertical jump testers

Vertical jump testers are very accurate when used properly, but they can cost as much as $700. It’s up to you whether they are worth your money. If you’re a coach, then it’s probably a good buy.

Jump testers have several flaps or vanes that you need to hit when jumping. Your jump height is measured based on how many flaps you can move.

Vertical jump testers are used this way:

  1. Adjust the jump tester so that you can reach the vanes with your hand.
  2. Extend one of your arms as high as you can while keeping it tight against your ear.
  3. Walk through the jump tester a few times to get an accurate measurement. This would give you your standing reach.
  4. If necessary, adjust the jump tester to raise the vanes.
  5. Jump and hit the vanes. Do this a few times to get an accurate reading.
  6. Subtract your standing reach from the jump height. Jump testers have height markings on them – use these to calculate your vertical jump height.

Here’s a video that demonstrates how to use jump testers. This video is aimed at coaches but still contains handy information for athletes.

You may test your jump from a standing position without taking any steps. Alternatively, you may take a few steps before launching yourself into the air to get your max vertical jump.

Vertical jump testers have one caveat – some people may try to keep their arm lower when measuring standing reach to make their jump appear higher. Don’t do this if you want to measure your vertical jump accurately.

How To Measure Vertical Jump Without Equipment

If you have no equipment at home, you can still measure your vertical jump fairly. The only thing you need for an equipment-free vertical jump test is double-sided tape and a tall wall.

And here’s how to measure your jump.

  1. Find a tall wall to measure your jump, whether indoors or outdoors.
  2. Stand with your side against the wall.
  3. Lightly stick a small piece of double-sided tape to the middle finger of the arm closer to the wall.
  4. Extend the arm with the tape as high as you can. Keep your arm close to your ear and your feet planted on the floor.
  5. Touch the wall so that the tape sticks to it – this establishes your reach when standing.
  6. Stick another piece of tape to your middle finger.
  7. Jump as high as you can, sticking the tape to the wall at the peak of each jump.
  8. Make several attempts. Once you think you had enough, measure the difference between your standing reach and the highest jump with a tape measure.

Like with jump testers, you may test your jump standing or by taking several steps for max height. And instead of double-sided tape, you may also use chalk to make markings on the wall.

This method is straightforward and gives reasonable accuracy. But it has two problems:

  • Your marks may be inaccurate.
  • Jumping against a wall may be awkward.

If you need accurate measurements, then specialized equipment at the gym is your best bet.

Vertical Jump Test Norms

If you wonder how you compare with your peers, then here is some normative data adapted from many scientific works.

For world-class athletes, vertical jump norms are as follows. Measurements are given in cm (inches in parentheses).

Gender Excellent Above average Average Below average Poor
Male >81.3 (>32) 71 to 81.3 (27.95 to 32) 60.9 to 70.9 (23.98 to 27.91) 50.8 to 60.8 (20 to 23.93) <50.8 (<20)
Female >71.1 (>27.99) 60.9 to 71.1 (23.98 to 27.99) 50.8 to 60.8 (20 to 23.93) 40.6 to 50.7 (15.98 to 19.96) <40.6 (<15.98)

Next, we have norms for athletes aged 20 and more.

Gender Excellent Above average Average Below average Poor
Male >70 (27.56) 56 to 70 (22.05 to 27.56) 41 to 55 (16.14 to 21.65) 31 to 40 (12.21 to 15.75) <30 (<11.81)
Female >60 (23.62) 46 to 60 (18.11 to 23.62) 31 to 45 (12.21 to 17.72) 21 to 30 (8.27 to 11.81) <20 (<7.87)

These are the norms for 16 to 19 years olds.

Gender Excellent Above average Average Below average Poor
Male >65 (>25.59) 50 to 65 (19.69 to 25.59) 40 to 49 (15.75 to 19.29) 30 to 39 (11.81 to 15.35) <30 (<11.81)
Female >58 (>22.83) 47 to 58 (18.50 to 22.83) 36 to 46 (14.17 to 18.11) 26 to 35 (10.24 to 13.78) <26 (<10.24)

Finally, the norms for 15 to 16 years olds.

Gender Excellent Above average Average Below average Poor
Male >65 (25.59) 56 to 65 (22.05 to 25.59) 50 to 55 (19.69 to 21.65) 40 to 49 (15.75 to 19.29) <40 (<15.75)
Female >60 (23.62) 51 to 60 (20.08 to 23.62) 41 to 50 (16.14 to 19.69) 35 to 40 (13.78 to 15.75) <35(<13.78)

These numbers can serve as a point of reference for you, but don’t obsess over them. If you need to jump higher, work out more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Was Michael Jordan’s Vertical?

The Canadian Olympic Committee writes that Michael Jordan’s vertical jump was “almost 46 inches”. Bleacher Report claims a jump of 48 inches, 20 inches higher than the NBA average. Jordan’s incredible jump put the top of his head 6 inches above the rim.

Is A 30 Inch Vertical Good?

The average vertical jump for an NBA player is about 28 inches, so 30 inches is indeed very good. But raw jump height doesn’t really mean anything – if 30 inches is weak in your sports discipline, you need to increase your vertical jump.

How Many Inches Can You Gain On Your Vertical?

5 to 10 inches should be relatively easily achievable for anybody with training. If you work hard, then you may be able to add as much as 20 inches.

The 4th Quarter

All in all, if you want to measure your vertical jump accurately, you should make use of a jump tester if you think that it’s a good investment for you.

Alternatively, just use some double-sided tape and jump against a wall to make measurements – this method is reasonably accurate and is free if you have tape.

I think that pricey equipment like jump testers or force plates are only worth it for coaches. Although if you are building a personal gym, they might be an excellent addition to it.

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Justin D. Johnson
Justin D. Johnson
Justin is a PhD student at Stanford University and has been a basketball youth coach for over ten years. He is passionate about sports, cinema, astronomy, and sharing knowledge.