How to Measure Vertical Jump with Or without Equipment(2022)

Vertical jump measurement is critical in many sports, including basketball, football, and volleyball. The military also uses it to test potential recruits for physical fitness.

The vertical leap test is an essential evaluation criterion for the NBA draft and NFL combine. This measurement is used to gauge a prospect’s explosiveness (agility and speed).

In fact, the NFL combine considers the vertical jump test to be the best indicator of a player’s natural athleticism. It’s even more important than the 40-yard dash and long broad jump.

Players who can leap higher are typically more agile and quick, making them better suited to playing at the highest level. As a result, nobody should overlook the vertical leap test when planning and predicting success in professional sports.

A vertical jump measures the highest point an athlete can touch after jumping vertically as high as possible from a standing start. The difference between the athlete’s standing reach height and their jump height is their vertical jump.

The Sargent test is one of the oldest and most well-known approaches for measuring vertical jump height, but today we will look into newer and more advanced methods.

Whichever method is used, accurately determining your vertical jump height is essential for tracking your progress as an aspiring vertical jumper.

Besides the actual measuring methods, we will guide you on how to create your vertical jump test so that the parameters and your results are accurate. We will also compare and contrast each measuring method’s advantages and disadvantages, helping you choose the one that best suits your needs.

Table of Contents

How to Measure Vertical Jump Without Equipment?

There are a few ways to measure your vertical jump without expensive equipment. The “Chalk or Tape Method” is one of the oldest and most popular ways to measure a vertical jump. It might not be 100% accurate, but it generally provides a reasonable estimate.

All you need for this method is the following:

  • Chalk or sticky tape (preferably sticky on both sides)
  • Wall (one that is tall enough so that you don’t hit the ceiling if you do it indoors)
  • Tape measure

TIP: You can do this test yourself, but things will be much easier if you have someone to help you.

The Chalk and Tape Method

This image explains how it works and below that are precise instructions to ensure you do it right.

Vertical Jump Measuring

Step 1 – Determine Your Standing Reach

To determine your standing reach, stand next to a wall and reach up as high as possible. Keep your feet flat on the ground and use only one hand.

Once you have reached as high as possible, ask your partner to mark the wall with a pencil or just hold an object at the same height. If you are doing all this yourself, apply some chalk to your fingers or sticky tape (the sticky side should face outwards) and reach up as high as possible to mark the wall.

Get the tape measure and gauge the distance from the ground to the pencil/chalk mark or object. This is your standing reach.

Step 2- Jump as High as You Can

Now that you know your standing reach, it’s time to find out how high you can jump. For this, you’ll need a little bit of space. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and then bend your knees.

When you are ready, jump as high as you can and make sure to reach the highest point possible. Ensure you don’t forget to swing your arms when executing your jump. Many make this mistake and therefore miscalculate their vertical jump. If you are using chalk, coat your fingers with it and reach up as high as possible to mark the wall. If you have tape, stick it to the tip of your middle finger (the sticky side should always face outwards).

Once you have landed, ask your partner to measure the distance from the ground to the top of your reach. If you do this yourself, measure the distance from the floor to the chalk mark/tape.

You might want to do this process several times to get an accurate measurement.

Step 3- Determine Your Vertical Jump Height

To calculate your vertical jump height, simply subtract your standing reach from your jump reach. This will give you your vertical jump height.

For example, if your standing reach is 6 feet and your jump reach is 8 feet, your vertical jump height would be 2 feet (24 inches).

Step 4- Calculate your Running Vertical Jump (RVJ)

The running vertical jump is a measure that tells you how much you can jump from a running start.

You’d typically do this when you try to dunk a basketball. It lets you generate more power and jump higher than if you were just standing still.

To perform a running vertical jump, I’d advise you to use a basketball backboard, not a wall, as it might be dangerous to jump towards it.

Start by making a run. When you are close to the wall or backboard, push off with one leg and swing your arms to jump as high as possible.

After this last step, you are more than likely going to know your:

  • Standing reach
  • Standing vertical jump
  • Running vertical jump (RVJ)

Positives and Negatives of The Chalk and Tape Method


  • It’s almost free
  • You’ll need little or no equipment.
  • This method is decently accurate and will give you a general idea


  • This method requires a tall wall and also a tall ceiling if you do it indoors
  • It might be a bit dangerous, especially if you want to measure your RVJ
  • Less accurate than other methods because you need to contort your arm in the air to mark the wall.
  • For higher accuracy, you might need a backboard when you measure your RVJ
  • It can be a bit of a challenge to do it all by yourself

How to Measure Your Vertical Jump with Equipment

If you want accurate results when measuring your vertical jump, you will need to use some equipment. Several different types of equipment are available nowadays, each with advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s a list of advanced tools that you can use to measure your vertical jump:

  • Vertec
  • Jump Test Mat
  • Force Plate
  • Gyroscopes and Accelerometers
  • Electronic Vertical Jump Tester
  • Homemade Vertec

How to Measure Vertical Jump with Vertec

One of the most popular methods is using a device called a Vertec. The Vertec is a tall pole with vanes (or fins) that protrude from the sides.

Step 1- Record Standing Reach

You simply lower the device to your standing reach height and reach as high as possible. Swipe as many vanes as possible with your hand.

The vanes are placed half an inch apart, allowing you to measure your standing reach accurately.

You or your partner then use a rod or stick to push out of the way the vanes that you successfully made contact with.

Step 2- Jump as High as You Can

With a vertec, you do the same as with the chalk and tape method.

Make multiple max effort jumps, and then pick the highest mark you hit.

Step 3- Determine Your Vertical Jump Height

Simply subtract your standing reach from your maximum jump reach to calculate your vertical jump height. This will give you your final number.

Step 4- Calculate Your Running Vertical Jump (RVJ)

To calculate your running vertical jump or approach jump, simply repeat the process once more. This time, however, allow yourself a running start to generate more power.

Positives and Negatives of The Vertec

With a vertec, you’ll be less at risk of injuring yourself than with the chalk and tape method.


  • This product is very accurate, only being off by half an inch
  • There is nothing in the surroundings that could limit the jumper’s ability to leap
  • The device can be used indoors as well as outdoors
  • Once you’ve set it up, it’s simple to use.


  • Very pricey. Expect to pay between 400$ and 800$ for such a device.

How to Measure your Vertical Jump With A Test Mat

We’re moving on to more advanced measuring with the electronic jump mat. Vertical jump mats are primarily used by coaches to assess an athlete’s explosive power and to track their progress over time. Researchers also use them to study the biomechanics of jumping. This tool is very versatile and also reasonably easy to use. It can measure:

  • Jumps
  • Sprints
  • Explosive Leg Power
  • Anaerobic Capacity
  • Contact Time

How Does A Vertical Jump Mat Work?

The device typically consists of a mat and a measuring apparatus. The mat is placed on the ground, and the athlete stands on the mat and jumps vertically as high as possible. The measuring instrument measures the height of the jump, the athlete’s weight, the time in the air, and the amount of ground contact force produced. The data from the measuring apparatus is then used to calculate the vertical jump height.

How Accurate Is A Vertical Jump Mat?

A vertical jump mat is a good option if you’re looking for a reliable way to measure your vertical jump. Most vertical jump mats are very accurate, and a study from 2015 found that they are just as precise as the vertec, a standard device used to measure vertical jump height.

However, the study did find that vertical jump mats may underestimate the heights of elite performers who can jump between 27 and 43 inches. So, this might not be the most accurate method if you’re an elite athlete with a high vertical jump. But for most people, a jump mat is an excellent option for measuring vertical jump height.

Step 1- Get The Device Ready

Step with your feet on the mat and ask someone to turn the controller on

Step 2- Jump as High as You Can

Begin with your feet firmly planted on the ground and squat down, exploding as high as possible while remembering to swing your arms when you jump.

Make sure you land flat on the mat with both feet for the most accurate results.

Step 3-Record Vertical Jump Data

Your jump data will now show up on the controller’s display. That’s it!

Positives and Negatives of The Vertical Jump Test Mat


  • High accuracy. Eliminates the guesswork
  • Easy to operate
  • Portable
  • Useful to gauge athletic performance as well as to map out a rehabilitation journey


  • High price tag! While these devices are more expensive than a vertec, they offer convenience and portability that may be worth the extra cost.
  • Measuring a person’s running vertical jump on this device is difficult.

How To Measure With An Electronic Vertical Jump Tester

On the same note as pricey measuring items, there is also the electronic vertical jump tester. This is the electronic version of vertec but with some sophisticated features.

Most of these electronic vertical jump testers offer the possibility to download your jump data on a computer if this is something you plan to do.

Step 1 – Record Standing Reach

These devices have a measurement strip on the side that athletes can use to figure out their standing reach.

Step 2 – Jump as High as You Can

Squatting down and jumping up as high as possible from a standing position. Remember to generate power with your arm swing.

Step 3 – Record Data

The electronic vertical jump tester will instantly determine your vertical leap height and show the result on a digital display.

Positives and Negatives of The Electronic Vertical Jump Tester

If money were not an issue, this would be one of the best ways to measure vertical jumps!


  • Very accurate
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Perfect for bigger groups of athletes
  • Can export data to a computer quickly and easily.
  • Still very portable; you can move it around.


  • This is, without a doubt, the most costly equipment for measuring vertical jumps. You can expect to splash roughly $3,000 on one of these!
  • Electronic vertical jump testers often have a height limit of 12 feet. This won’t be an issue unless you are an elite-level volleyball player with a spike reach exceeding this height. In such cases, you would need to raise the devices on a platform to measure the athlete’s jump height accurately.

How to Measure your Vertical Jump with a Force Plate

A force plate is a device that measures the force exerted by an object, and people often use it to measure vertical jump height. 

Many strength coaches prefer force plates because they collect extensive data that can be analyzed, such as total force output or rate of force development.

How Does a Force Plate Work?

The force plate consists of a platform connected to a computer that records the force exerted by the athlete on the platform. You or your coach can then use the information gathered by the force plate to assess the performance.

The force plate can measure the amount of force exerted by the athlete and the rate at which that force is produced. The device then uses this information to create a force-time curve along with various other metrics, which you or your coach can use to improve the athlete’s performance.

How Accurate Is a Force Plate?

Assuming the force plate is set up and calibrated correctly, it is a reasonably accurate way to record vertical jump heights. Compared with a vertical jump mat and the vertec, the force plate will often slightly underestimate jump heights. Nonetheless, it still gets reasonably near the accurate number.

They are also consistent, so even if the actual number isn’t exact, you should be able to make out a distinct picture of development if you apply the same amount of force and calibrate it similarly. This can be extremely useful for athletes trying to improve their vertical jump height.

Step 1 – Step on The Force Plate

Once the athlete is on the scale, the coach will give instructions on when to jump.

Step 2 – Jump as High as You Can

Squatting down and jumping up as high as possible from a standing position. Remember to generate power with your arm swing.

After the athlete completes their first attempt, the operator will collect data and allow them to try again.

Step 3 – Record & Analyze Vertical Jump Data

The device will provide data on ground reaction forces, hang time, force development rate, and vertical jump height. Some devices do not display jump height directly, but you can obtain this from the force-time curve.

Positives and Negatives of The Force Plate


  • Ideal for coaches that want to keep track of the development of many athletes over time.
  • Generates other power output indicators, which may be helpful for strength and power coaches.


  • This is not the most accurate way to measure vertical jump, and it might underestimate how high someone can jump.
  • These will set you back $3,000-$5,000. Yikes!
  • This device usually requires a direct laptop connection with the appropriate software installed.

Measure Vertical Jump with An App

Another option is to use a vertical jump measurement app. These apps work by using a process called ‘frame counting.’ This simply involves videoing yourself jumping and then using the app to determine how long you were in the air.

You’ll need to set your phone to record at the correct frame rate. Once you have your footage, you can use one of the many available apps to calculate your jump height. You can do this by using the gravitational constant.

Positives and Negatives of Using an App


  • Cheap (some of the better-developed apps cost only a couple of dollars)
  • The only things you need for this are your smartphone and maybe a tripod.


  • Accuracy: Overall, this isn’t a bad way to measure your vertical jump, but if accuracy is your main concern, you should know it will underestimate your vertical by a couple of inches.

How to Measure Vertical Jump Using Gyroscopes and Accelerometers

The athlete wears these, and they function similarly to force plates. Rather than measuring ground reaction forces, they evaluate the athlete’s acceleration and movement. The calculation method is similar, converting hang time into vertical jump height.

One of the best such devices is VERT – a small device you can clip onto your shorts. Vertical Jump results are measured in real-time, and the device transmits data to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.

Vert records various jump statistics, such as the last, best, and the average number of leaps performed.

One cool thing about the Vert device is that it allows people to see how many times and how high they jumped during a game.

Positives and Negatives of Using Gyroscopes and Accelerometers


  • ​It’s quick and light and accounts for the number of jumps.


  • The developer may address several bugs right away. The application could use some work, and iPhone must be within range to keep track of previous jumps.

Homemade Vertical Jump Tester

You’ve probably had enough of this expensive equipment by now (so did I ), so I would like to end with a guide for building your vertical jump tester.

What if I told you, you could build your own vertec for just 60$? You probably wouldn’t believe it.

I’m not the crafty type, so I can’t assess how difficult it is to create such a thing successfully. If you are too young or lack experience, ask a parent or a friend to help you.

Here’s a video to get you started

Positives and Negatives of Making Your Own Vertical Jump Tester


  • For only a fraction of the cost of a real one, you can get a tool that does the same thing as the original.
  • It might be interesting for some to craft.


  • You will need to dedicate time and effort if you want to create a decent vertical jump tester
  • Expect lower durability for a makeshift vertec

What Is the Best Vertical Jump Test Equipment?

The answer to this question will differ significantly depending on who is asking. When it comes to testing vertical jump height, there are a few different options available. For those on a budget or with limited resources, the chalk/tape or frame counting techniques might be the best option. These methods are relatively simple, and you can do them with minimal equipment. However, they are not as accurate as some of the more expensive options.

For those who want more reliable data, a vertec or force plate is a better choice. These devices are more expensive, but they are much more accurate. You can also use them to track progress over time. A force plate is probably the best option if you have a dedicated strength coach. Otherwise, a vertec is a good choice for most people.

Wearable devices such as Vert, which use gyroscopes and accelerometers, are not an option to neglect. They provide a lot of accurate data and some unique features. They are cheaper than many of the options on this list, but you will need to get a quote to be able to buy such a device.

As far as the electronic vertical jump tester goes, even though it may be more expensive, it may be a worthy consideration for organizations with large budgets. Ultimately, the decision of which type of vertical jump test equipment to use depends on the needs and resources of the organization.

The most standard method to measure your vertical jump is to use a vertec. Industry experts see it as the best way to measure vertical jump heights.

Vertical Jump Test Norms

The average person’s vertical jump height depends on age and gender. Here are some norms for both men and women of different ages:

AgeGenderExcellentAbove AverageAverageBelow AveragePoor
15 – 16Male >26.6″ 22 – 26″ 19.7 – 22.7″ 15.7 – 19.3″ <15.7″
15 – 16Female >23.6″20 – 23.6″ 16.1 – 19.7″ 13.8 – 15.8″<13.8″ 
16 – 19Male >25.6″19.7 – 25.6″ 15.7 – 19.3″  11.8 – 15.4″<11.8″ 
16 – 19Female >22.8″18.5 – 22.8″  14.2 – 18.1″10.2 – 13.8″ <10.2″ 
20+Male >27.5″22 – 27.5″ 16.1 – 21.6″ 12.2 – 15.7″ <11.8″ 
20+Female>23.6″18.1 – 23.6″12.2 – 17.7″8.3 – 11.8″<7.8″

As you can see, there is a significant difference between the average man’s vertical jump height and the average woman’s. This is to be expected, as men are generally taller and have more muscle mass than women.

There is also a significant difference between the vertical jump heights of people of different ages. This is to be expected, as younger people are generally more athletic than older people.

Finally, it is essential to note that these are averages. Some people will be able to jump much higher than the average, while others will be below it. There is a wide range of normal when it comes to vertical jump height.


In conclusion, the best way to measure your vertical jump height is to use a vertec. This is the most accurate method, and many professional organizations use it. However, it is also one of the more expensive options. If you are on a budget, you can use one of the other methods described in this article. Whichever method you choose, ensure that you are consistent in measuring your jumps to track your progress over time accurately.

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