The vertical jump test, which is also called the Sargent jump test was developed by Dudley Sargent. It is a very common fitness test given to athletes and individuals who work in physical jobs like firefighters and police officers.
The test is used to monitor the athlete’s bilateral (two legged) explosive power by measuring how high they can jump.
Today elite athletes who play basketball, volleyball and football are put through the vertical jump test to see how well they can compete in this aspect of the sport, as jump height is needed in their sport.
For this reason, athletes who compete in these sports go through training programs to increase their jump height.
Below is a list of the most common methods of performing the Sargent jump test.
Methods and Testing Equipment Used
Method 1: Using a Wall (no equipment, can do at home, is simplest)
This method is the simplest. There are no electronic equipment needed or special devices.
- All you need is a wall, marker (usually chalk on the finger tips will do) and tape measure.
In this methods, the athlete stands straight beside a high wall and raises their hand up.
- To measure their standing reach, they then touch the wall as high as they can with their fingers. The chalk on the fingertips will leave a temporary mark on the wall.
- The athlete then jumps as high as they can from a flat footed position and tries to touch the highest point on the wall they can.
- The distance between the first mark on the wall (standing reach) and the highest point on the wall (point of highest jump) is the athlete’s standing vertical jump height.
In this test, no special calculators are needed, you can use the tape measure to measure from the first point to the second.
Method 2: Vertec Vertical Jump Device
The most popular method used my large organizations like the NBA and NFL, the Vertec Vertical Jump equipment looks like a flag pole with numerous horizontal flags at the top of the pole.
- Vertec jump device
Each of the small flags are ½” thick and their height is adjustable based on the athlete’s level of skill.
- The Vertec device is set up based on the ability of the athlete.
- The athlete then steps under the horizontal flags and jumps up as high as they can.
- At the peak of their leap, they attempt to tip as many flags as they can.
- The flags make it easy to see how high up the jumper reached.
- The height of the jump is then calculated by getting the distance between the highest flag and the standing reach of the jumper.
Method 3: Vertical Jump Test Mat
The jump mat is a special electronic device that uses special mat that’s attached to a monitoring device.
For this method, the jump mat is the only equipment you will need.
The perform the jump test using the electronic mat, the athlete steps on the jump mat and jumps up from a standstill position.
The mat contains an internal calculator that uses the individual’s time in the air to compute how high their jump is. This method uses formulas in physics which is why it needs the electronic calculator inside the device.
Once the internal computer is finished calculating, it shows the results in the handheld monitor. Statistics like jump height, power and time are recorded.
Scores and Results
In this test, the scores and results are recorded based on the jump height of the athlete. This is the distance between their standing reach and the highest mark they can reach at the peak of their jump.
- Athletes are usually given 2 or 3 jumps, with the highest one being the one recorded. Although some tests only allow one jump.
Measurements are made in inches making is easy to compare athletes and see how they perform relative to others.
Here is a chart of the average vertical leap for men and women. See how you compare:
|Excellent||more than 28 inches||more than 24 inches|
|Very good||24 28 inches||20 24 inches|
|Above average||20 24 inches||16 20 inches|
|Average||16 20 inches||12 16 inches|
|Below average||12 16 inches||8 12 inches|
|Poor||Below 12 inches||Below 8 inches|
The vertical leap test is useful if you are currently in a training program as it allows you to measure your progress on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Vertical Jump Test Norms and Averages for World Class Athletes
For competitive athletes knowing how you perform in different drills that affect your sport lets you know what your strong and weak points are. This then lets you improve as a player.
Many test results and scores compare jump height average with the average person. If you’re an athlete looking to excel this may not be the most useful thing to do. After all, you expect to be better than the average person if you want to excel at your sport.
Below is a table of vertical jump norms of elite athletes, which makes it more relevant since the scores and results below are taken from well-trained individuals.
Comparing with World Class Athletes
|91 to 100||86 to 91 cm||76 to 81 cm|
|81 to 90||81 to 86 cm||71 to 76 cm|
|71 to 80||76 to 81 cm||66 to 71 cm|
|61 to 70||71 to 76 cm||60 to 66 cm|
|51 to 60||66 to 71 cm||55 to 60 cm|
|41 to 50||60 to 66 cm||50 to 55 cm|
|31 to 40||55 to 60 cm||45 to 50 cm|
To use the table:
- Find the range where your current vertical jump height ranks.
- Then refer to the leftmost column which shows the percentile rank.
If for example your percent rank falls in the 71% to 80%, this means 20% to 30% of elite athletes jump higher while the rest can’t jump as high as you can.
The table also gives you a figure to shoot for. For example you want to be above 90% of the jump heights of world class athletes, then you can look at how high you need to aim for, and train for that goal.
Advantages of the Jump Test
- The test is very simple to perform and it can be performed almost anywhere.
- Very little equipment is needed to conduct the test and not much time is needed to prepared for it.
- The test allows scouts, administrators or yourself to monitor your progress as well as assess your jumping ability relative to other athletes.
- Many factors affect how high the athlete jumps. Jumping technique plays a big part when using the wall measurement method and the Vertec equipment since timing the touch can make a difference of a few inches.