The Ultimate Guide To Vertical Jump Testing : How To Test Your Jump Height On Any Budget

vertical jump testing equipment and how to test vertical jump guide

by Vertical Jump World | Last Updated on 06 May 2024

How high can you jump today? Oh, you don't know... Well it looks like it's time to test your vertical jump height!

Before embarking on your journey of learning how to jump higher it is always a good idea to test your current vertical jumping ability.

This will give you a baseline measure and a way to track your jump progress and the efficacy of your chosen vertical jump training program.

To do this we must use a specific vertical jump test protocol.

"Knowing exactly how high you can currently jump will allow you to determine exactly how high you will need to jump to achieve your vertical jump goals"

There are many ways to test your vertical jump height.

Vertical jump testing seems simple to do in theory, but reliable and consistent testing can be a challenge. 

In this guide, I will explain the many different ways that you can test your vertical jump.

I will also introduce you to some of the best vertical jump testing equipment that can help ensure you get the most accurate and reproducible results.

(Note: You can also check out our huge gear roundup page to see more vertical jump test equipment plus a selection of the (best vertical jump training equipment).

You are about to learn the best approaches to testing your vertical jump on a budget. 

You will also gain an understanding of more complex and expensive science based vertical jump testing protocols.

Feature Photo Credit: Schriever Airmen train like Broncos, licensed under CC BY 2.0 (modified from original)

What Does The Vertical Jump Test Measure?

The vertical jump test is the most widely used and respected method of assessing the lower body power of an athlete.

The Sargent jump test (2 foot standing jump) is the most common type of jump vertical test used.

Why Should You Test Your Vertical Jump Height?

There are 3 main reason why you or your coach might want to test your vertical jump height. These include:

  • Determining how high an athlete can jump in the air with a sport specific technique.
  • Determining if training has/will make a difference in the athlete’s overall leg power and sport specific goals (great for athletes who want to learn how to dunk a basketball).
  • Determining any information that can indicate risk of injury or loss of performance due to fatigue?

Regardless of what vertical jump testing method you use always make sure your tests are reproducible, reliable and accurate.

If you are like the majority of people who visit our site you probably just want to test your vertical jump to measure the progress of your jump training program.

Taking a measurement of your jump height before, during and after embarking on a jump training program can provide you with some very helpful feedback.

Note: If your are after a quality jump program we suggest considering either:

How To Measure Vertical Jump

If you want to learn how to measure your vertical jump you have many options to consider.

There are various ways to measure your vertical jump, but the most common method is to measure the height of a counter movement from a standstill two foot stance.

However, sometimes it makes more sense to measure your vertical jump with a sport specific approach.

For example, when measuring a vertical jump for basketball players it is usually a much better idea to test a single leg jump from a fast run-up rather than from static start. The run-up component makes this vertical jump testing procedure much more specific to the movement of a dunk.

Recommended For You: How Tall Do You Have To Be To Dunk

Proven Methods To Measure Your Vertical Jump: 5 Best Vertical Jump Test Protocols

1. The Wall Jump Test (A cheap, simple and convenient option)

Step 1) Simply cover the tips of your fingers with chalk.

Step 2) Stand next to a wall and with a two foot standing take off jump and reach as high up on the wall as possible. Touch at the peak of your jump and leave a chalk mark with your fingertips. 

This test is the most affordable and convenient, yet least reliable method as timing the absolute peak of the jump can be difficult. Jumping with optimal form may also be difficult if crowded by the wall. 

There are also affordable magnetic jump and reach boards available that tend to produce more accurate results then when using chalk.

Magnetic Jump and Reach Board
  • Accurately measures vertical jump
  • Easily mounted metal board is adjustable for children or adults
What We Like About The Wall Vertical Jump Test
  •  Very Cheap
  • Can Be done at home
  • requires very little space to Perform
What We Don't Like About The Wall Vertical Jump Test
  • Jumping against a wall feels awkward and unnatural which may limit your max jump.
  • Unable to effectively measure one foot jumps with this method.
  • Difficult to accurately mark the exact peak of jump with chalk in hand.

2. The Vertec (The Gold Standard Of Vertical Jump Testing)

If you have ever watched an NBA combine you would have noticed the use of The Vertec in the vertical jump test component. It is standard NBA vertical jump analysis protocol to use this form of testing. 

Yes, even Michael Jordan's impressive 40+ inch vertical jump was measure on this device.

In fact, most of the highest vertical jumps ever recorded were tested with a Vertec device.

The Vertec is a upright metal bar, which has horizontal metal vanes at the top.

The athlete jumps and attempts to push the vanes back with their fingertips at the peak of their jump.

The vertical jump can then be determined by measuring from the point that the highest vane was pushed back.

The Vertec is quite expensive but there are other very similar options that are around half the price.

  • Measures jumps in 1/2-inch increments
  • Allows you adjust height of vanes to measure jumps from 6 to 12 feet
What We Like About The Vertec Vertical Jump Test
  •  Gold standard of vertical jump testing
  • Very accurate
  • Measures jumps in 1/2-inch increments
  • Allows you adjust height of vanes to measure jumps from 6 to 12 feet
  • Accurately measures vertical jump and lets you follow your progress
  • can measure one foot run-up jumps
What We Don't Like About The Vertec Vertical Jump Test
  • Expensive

3. Jumping Mats (You Get What You Pay For!) 

There are three varieties of vertical jump measuring mats.

One variety consists of a measuring tape which is connected to the mat which is released when the athlete jumps. Post jump the released tape can be read.

The second variety of jumping mat requires the participant to hold onto or attach a small computer to their body. The measurement is automatically recorded into the system upon jumping.

The third variety is a very expensive state of the art option from Fusion Sport. These guys have created the SmartJumpPT which uses a combination of video recording and sensors to record jump height and a number of other training variables. 

However, be aware that some of the cheaper jump mat systems have proven to be quite inaccurate, hence why the Vertec remains the go to method for testing a vertical jump.

Smart Jump PT
  • -SMARTJUMP PT is one of our Standalone Jump Training options -Wireless...
What We Like About Vertical Jump Testing Mats
  • Good quality mats are very Accurate
  • Require limited space
What We Don't Like About Vertical Jump Testing Mats
  • Cheap models can be Inaccurate & unreliable
  • Can only be used with two foot jump

4. Wearable Vertical Jump Testing Devices & Apps

Wearable jump rate monitors such as the popular VERT measure your vertical and sync the data to your smart phone device.

All data is readable in real time and can be stored for future reference. 

These devices are worn by the athlete and measure the acceleration and movement to calculate vertical jump height.

There are many wearable vertical jump testers out there that simply do not work. If you are considering purchasing one of these I highly recommend the Vert Wearable Jump Monitor.

Vert Monitor
  • EASY TO USE: Just clip (included) and jump for quick COMBINE or try-out testing...
  • INJURY PREVENTION: Measures jump count (like pitch count in baseball) and...
What We Like About Vert Wearable Jump Monitor
  • Portable
  • Affordable
  • Require limited space
  • Also counts number of jumps
What We Don't Like About Vert Wearable Jump Monitor
  • Partnered I phone must be close by To avoid glitches

5. Chronojump Force Plate (The Researchers Choice)

The Chronojump Boscosystem is a expensive high-tech software/hardware package that can accurately measure jump height plus a range of other bio-mechanical measurements.

These are usually found in high tech university and sporting institute exercise testing laboratories. Chronojump Boscosystem measures from contact platforms, photocells and encoders, and sends data to a computer where the info can be stored and compared at a later date.

Vertical Jump Test Average & Normative Data

What Is The Average Vertical Jump

The average vertical jump for men falls between 16 to 20 inches while it is around 12 to 16 inches for women.

What Is A Good Vertical Jump

A good vertical jump for males is somewhere between 20 to 28 inches. A good vertical jump for women is somewhere between 16 to 24 inches.

What Is A Very Good Vertical Jump

A very good vertical jump for males is anything over 28 inches however elite athletes will have a 40 inch plus vertical jump. A very good vertical jump for women is anything over 24 inches. It is extremely rare for a women to have a vertical jump over 40 inches.

vertical jump test average
Average Vertical Jump By Age

The average vertical jump for a 13-14 year old boy is about 14 inches. Elite 14 year old athletes tend to be more in the range of 15 to 18 inches.

The average vertical jump for a 15 year old boy is about 17 inches. Elite 15 year old athletes tend to be more in the range of 18 to 20 inches.

The average vertical jump for a 16 year old boy is about 18 inches. Elite 16 year old athletes tend to be more in the range of 20 to 28 inches.

The average vertical jump for a 17 year old boy is about 20 inches. Elite 17 year old athletes tend to be more in the range of  28 inches or more.

Vertical Jump Testing Tips

The most important aspect of any vertical jump testing is that the test must be reliable and reproducible.

Any causal changes to the testing procedure could completely destroy the accuracy of your results.

Here are some other things you should consider when undertaking vertical jump testing:

Get Familiar With The Jump Test: Some vertical jump testing procedures are much more complicated than others. Make sure that you take time to perfect the testing routine before recording initial results.

Make sure that your arousal levels are consistent: If you are going to test your vertical jump you must make sure that you are pumped up to do so. If you take a pre-workout and pump up the music for your initial test you should replicate this in your follow up tests.

Vertical Jump Testing For Coaches And Teams

The team from Vert have created an innovative device named Vert Coach which can measure vertical jump height performance for up to 8 athletes in real-time. VERT Coach is a vertical jump testing management platform used by over 350 collegiate programs, particularly for testing vertical jump for basketball.

All data is collected wirelessly by VERT wearable devices. The VERT devices capture real-time jump metrics during tryouts, practices and games. 

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Final Thoughts On Vertical Jump Testing

As you can see there are many different ways to test your vertical jump height. Regardless of which method of vertical jump testing you use you must ensure that it is:

  • Reliable
  • Accurate
  • Reproducible

Testing your vertical jump can be a great way of keeping you accountable on your journey to a higher vertical jump. 

Now that you know how to test your vertical jump height please consider reading our helpful vertical jump training articles that can show you exactly how to jump higher. Also, don't forget to enroll in our free jump course Rapid Vert Gainz.