Vertical Jump Test -- How to Measure Your Vertical Jump (With or Without Equipment)

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If you have decided that it is time to increase your vertical leap, good for you... and also STOP! Sometimes when we get excited about starting something new, we jump in head first, without taking the time to put a good plan into place...


Why You Need A Baseline

Before you get started down the path to improving your athleticism and vertical leap, make sure you have a baseline.

You want to see exactly how much your vertical jump has improved. Without a baseline, this would be impossible.

While it is fun to be able to boast about how your hard work is paying off and how your vertical leap increased by 3", 6", or 9", this is not the main reason for establishing a baseline. The most important reason why you need to establish a baseline is because it will answer the key question:

Is my athletic development program working for me?


Proof Is In The Jumping

It is easy to get frustrated doing workouts when you can't see tangible evidence that your work is paying off. Having a baseline solves this problem. It will show you the growth you've made and keep you motivated to continue to improve your vertical leap.

Maybe your vertical leap is 18" or maybe it is 28", it really doesn't matter. The key is to ACCURATELY establish what your vertical jump is now, so you can test in the future and actually see your improvement.

But remember, if you don't accurately find your baseline, it is irrelevant and misleading anyway. So take your time and don't skip over this very important step.


Vertical Jump Test (With Equipment)

The most common equipment that most gyms have is called a Vertec Vertical Jump Tester. It is a great piece of equipment to use because:

  • It is easy to use

  • It is very accurate when used properly

There are two different approaches used with the vertical jump test. Cody Roberts Athletic Development Program teaches these approaches when measuring the vertical jump. The standing approach and the full approach.

Cody Roberts has worked with lots of Division I athletes over the years. His meticulous attention to detail helps athletes reach their maximum potential. Below, Cody Roberts demonstrates how to properly perform both.


Standing Approach

  1. Measure Your Reach - Walk through the Vertec device with your arm reaching as high as you can. Keep your arm tight to your ear as you walk through. Do this twice to assure the most accurate reading. Record the height of your reach.

  2. Load and Explode - Jump off of two feet to start with and see which bar you can reach. You can do this multiple times. Do NOT take any steps with this standing approach. Remember, snapping down QUICK will help you get more height on your jump!

  3. Calculate Your Jump - Subtract your reach from the height you jumped. This number is your vertical leap from a standing approach.


Full Approach (Max Vertical Approach)

  1. Measure Your Reach - Walk through the Vertec device with your arm reaching as high as you can. Do this exactly as you did for the standing approach. Then, record the height of your reach.

  2. Max Vertical Approach - For the max vertical approach, you can take as few or as many steps as you think necessary to reach your maximum jumping height. You may be more comfortable with one or two steps, or you may choose a 5-15 yard running start. The idea is to find your maximum vertical so try several methods and choose what works best for you and as many attempts as you want.

  3. Calculate Your Jump - Subtract your reach from the height you jumped. This number is your vertical leap from a full approach or max vertical approach.

For most athletes, your highest vertical leap will come from the full approach. The speed of the approach will help you jump higher... to a certain point. Your body must be able to control this speed and use the energy to help create a maximum vertical leap. Too much speed begins to have a negative effect on your maximum vertical leap.


No Equipment? No Problem!

Vertical Jump Test (Without Equipment)

So maybe you don't have the Vertec System to help measure your vertical leap. This is absolutely no problem. A couple tweaks to what you do and you are on your way to establishing a baseline for your vertical leap.

Let's walk you through step-by-step how to do the same vertical jump tests without equipment.

  1. Start - Find a tall wall to use. If you can't find an indoor wall that is tall enough for you, simply use the exterior wall of a building.

  2. Tape - Take some double sided tape, or roll a piece of tape into a ball and very lightly stick it to the tip of your middle finger (another option is to use chalk on the tip of your finger).

  3. Reach - You need to establish the height of your reach. To do this, reach as high as you can, keeping your arm tight to your ear and reach your hand up to the wall. As you do this, touch the wall and allow the tape to stick to the wall. You now have established your reach.

  4. Standing Approach - You are now ready to find your vertical jump by using the standing approach from above. Use tape on your middle finger to mark the wall with the height of each jump. After you have your best jump, use a tape measure or yardstick to measure the difference between the two. You now have established what your standing vertical jump is.

  5. Full Approach (Max Vertical Leap) - Apply tape to your middle finger for each jump. Take as many or as few steps as you require to reach your maximum height. You may also take as many attempts as necessary. The goal is to find your maximum vertical leap through this test. Once you have your best jump, use the tape measure to measure the difference between the tape that marks your reach and the tape that marks your maximum vertical leap. The difference between the two is your mass vertical jump.


Start Improving

You are now ready. You have established a baseline for your vertical jump and you are ready to start your athletic development program to increase your vertical leap. Make sure to follow the exact same protocol when you retest your vertical jump in the future to see your improvement.

If you change any part of the vertical jump test in the future, it will throw off the validity of the test.

If you are looking for a proven plan from a professional to help increase your vertical leap, check out Cody Roberts Athletic Development Program. Good Luck!





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