How To Measure Vertical Jump

Vertical jumping ability is a measurement of leg power. More specifically, it tells coaches and scouts how much lower body power and explosiveness you have.

So how to measure vertical jump?

There are a few ways. In this article we demonstrate the simplest way to calculate your jump height without having to use special testing equipment that some professionals use.

This way you can test yourself and see how to compare to other athletes and figure out if you need to increase your jumping capability.

If that’s the case, then using a specialized jump training program is the best way.

When using a training program, don’t forget to regularly measure your jump height to track your progress.


How to Measure Vertical Jump at Home

In this section, we lay out the simplest and easiest way to measure your vertical leap. It requires no measuring device or equipment.

What you’ll need:

  • Chalk
  • Tape Measure
  • A wall with a high ceiling

Vertical Jump Test 2

Performing the Jump Test:

To measure standing vertical jump, follow the next steps:

  1. Mark the tips of your fingers with chalk or a marker that will stick temporarily to the wall when you touch it.
  2. Stand straight up beside the wall and raise your hand up and touch the wall.
  3. Try to reach as high as you can while keeping both feet on the ground when you touch the wall.
  4. The mark made is your standing reach.
  5. Standing next to the wall, jump as high as you can.
  6. At the top of your jump, reach as high up as you can and touch the all.

The mark you leave when jumping is your vertical jump reach (highest point you can reach with jump).

Measurement and Calculation:

Method 1: Using a Tape Measure

  • Take out the tape measure and use it to get the distance between your standing reach and vertical jump reach.
  • The distance between the 2 points is your vertical jump height in inches.

You may need a small ladder to step on to do this.

Method 2: Using a Calculator

Another way is to use a calculator.

  • From the ground use the tape measure to get the distance of your standing reach.
  • Then get the distance from the ground to your vertical jump reach.

Once you have the 2 numbers (in inches), use the following formula to calculate your jump height:

Vertical Jump Height = Vertical Jump Reach – Standing Reach

This method is most convenient because you can do it anywhere without the need for a jump measuring device or any test equipment.

Note that the method we describe measures a standing vertical jump since you start from a flat footed standstill position.

Other methods allow you to take 1 step, 2 steps or have a running start.

For other methods used to perform the vertical jump test, see our article here.


How Does the NBA Measure Vertical Leap?

This is one of the most common questions asked because basketball players are known for their jumping ability. Plus, we’ve seen a lot of NBA players showcase their dunking ability.

The NBA measures vertical leap through the NBA draft combine, which is an event where potential basketball players get tested for skills and abilities by NBA scouts in preparation for the NBA draft.

The combine vertical jump measure is done with the use of a Vertec device, where the player tries to tap as many flags on the top of the Vertec jump device. The more flags you can reach the higher the jump height.

As far as testing goes, the NBA draft combine uses 2 different tests, these are:

  • Standing or No Step Vertical – this is the same as what is described above, except they use the Vertec device instead of touching the wall.

In this test, athletes jump up without getting any extra steps. They need to take off from a flat footed standstill position, similar to when players go up for the rebound.

The highest standing vertical that has been recorded to date in the NBA draft combine has been 40 inches by D.J. Stephens.

  • Max Vertical Jump – this jump test allows players to run to the Vertec device and use a running start to get up as high as they can.

This results in much higher jump heights compared to the standing vertical, and it gauges how high the player can jump on the run, similar to when they drive or try to dunk.

D.J. Stephens also owns the highest max vertical in the NBA combine with 46 inches.


How the NFL Measures Vertical Jump

The NFL meanwhile, uses this test to see how athletic the players are. They also use it as a measuring stick for positions that may require going after jump balls, like receivers.

Like the NBA, the NFL has a draft combine. Here among the tests used by scouts and teams is the vertical jump.

  • In the NFL combine, they only test the standing vertical jump.
  • Gerald Sensabaugh is the record holder for the standing vertical for the NFL combine at 46 inches.


How Does My Jump Height Match Up to Others?

There are a few ways to comparing how high your jump is. One way is to see the average jump heights based on gender. Here you’ll be able to compare how we’ll your efforts relative to the average man or woman.

To go a step higher, you can compare yourself to elite athletes, this article has a table where you can see what percent you rank compared to world class athletes.

If you’re a basketball player, you may want to see how high the top NBA leapers go up. And see how well you fare.

For the best of the best, here are the highest vertical jump records.


How Can I Increase My Vertical Leap?

So now we know our measurement and we know how we compare with other athletes.

What if I need to improve or want to go up even higher?

Here are a few options:


Two of the programs we’ve seen the best success with are the: