Vertical jump test

The vertical jump test describes the method used for directly measuring the height jumped. There are also timing systems that measure the time of the jump and from that calculate the jump height. Whether you use a wall chart (carefully placed for the right height_ or use a functional rig with markings on, the result is the same.

Vertical jump test equipmentVertical jump test

To correctly perform the vertical jump test participants will need:

  • A marked wall or meauring tape and wall
  • A piece of chalk to mark the wall




Performing the vertical jump test

To accurately perform the vertical mup test the performer stands side on to a wall and reaches up with the hand closest to the wall. Keeping the feet flat on the ground, the point of the fingertips is marked or recorded. This is called the standing reach.

The athlete then stands away from the wall, and jumps vertically as high as possible using both arms and legs to assist in projecting the body upwards. Attempt to touch the wall at the highest point of the jump. The difference in distance between the standing reach height and the jump height is the score. The best of three attempts is recorded.

Variations of the vertical jump test

The vertical jump test can also be performed using a specialized apparatus called the Vertec. The procedure when using the Vertec is very similar to as described above. Jump height can also be measured using a jump mat which measures the displacement of the hips. To be accurate, you must ensure the feet land back on the mat with legs nearly fully extended.

Vertical jump height can also be measured using a timing mat. The vertical jump test is usually performed with a counter movement, where there is bending of the knees prior to the jump. The test can also be performed as a squat jump, starting from the position of knees being bent.

Other test variations are to perform the test with no arm movement (one hand on hip, the other raised above the head) to isolate the leg muscles and reduce the effect of variations in coordination of the arm movements. The test can also be performed off one leg, with a step into the jump, or with a run-up, depending on the relevance to the sport involved.

Scoring in the vertical jump test

The jump height is usually recorded as a distance score. The table below provides a ranking scale for adult athletes based on my observations, and will give a general idea of what is a good score. For more information, see a selection of vertical jump test results. It is also possible to convert jump height into a power or work score.


Male (inch)

Male (cm)

Female (inch)

Female (cm)


> 28

> 70

> 24

> 60

very good

24 - 28


20 - 24


above average

20 - 24


16 - 20



16 - 20


12 - 16


below average

12 - 16


8 - 12



8 - 12


4 - 8


very poor

< 8

< 21

< 4

< 11

The pros and cons of the vertical jump test

There are many advantages and disadvantages of performing the vertical jump test. These include:

Advantages of performing the vertical jump test

  • The vertical jump test is quick and easy to perform
  • The tvertical jump est is inexpensive
  • The vertical jump test is a good way to assess leg power and jumping ability

Disadvantages of performing the vertical jump test

  • During the vertical jump test technique may play a bigger part than leg power
  • Using chalk to record a jump may allow for error when recording accurate scores

And finally ...

The jump height can be affected by how much you bend your knees before you jump, and the effective use of the arms. The test is also sometimes incorrectly spelled as the "Sergeant" or "Sargent" Test.

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