Sports, such as basketball, volleyball and certain track and fields events, require the ability to jump vertically. And jumping straight into the air requires powerful contraction and extension of all the leg and back muscles.
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If you're working to increase the height of your vertical jump, it's important to know how to accurately measure your jump so that you can gauge a baseline height and track your progress. Below are two methods you can use — one that only requires chalk and the other that requires a specific tool called a vertec.
How to Figure Out Your Vertical Jump
- Stand sideways on a flat surface against a high wall that you don't mind getting chalk dust on.
- Cover your fingertips on one hand with chalk.
- Reach your hand as high as you can, keeping your feet flat on the ground, and mark this height on the wall.
- Reapply the chalk to your fingers.
- Jump as high as you can, with your arm reaching up, from the same spot and mark the wall with your hand.
- Jump 3 times, marking the wall each time.
- Measure the height of your standing mark.
- Measure the height of your highest jump.
- Subtract your standing height from your highest jump. This number is your vertical jump.
Vertical Jump Measurement
Your standing height (arm extended) — your highest jump = your vertical jump height
How to Use the Vertec Vertical Jump Tester
The vertec is a vertical jump machine that provides an easy and accurate system for measuring a vertical jump, and is a common choice for many sports organizations, including the National Football League (NFL).
- Set up the vertec on a stable surface with enough room to be able to jump and land in a safe position without hitting any other objects or landing on an uneven surface.
- Measure your reach using a tape measure against a wall. Try to reach as high as possible to eliminate any inaccuracy between reach and vertical jumping ability.
- Raise the vertec so the bottom peg is exactly 10 inches above your reach.
- Even all of the pegs facing outward away from the vertec using the vertex stick.
- Set yourself underneath the pegs.
- Jump as high as you can from a standing position. Do not take a step or use a running start to jump, as this will lead to an inaccurate measurement of your vertical jump.
- Move as many pegs as possible and land safely after the jump. Dont swat at the pegs because you're more likely to miss or not hit the pegs at your highest point. Simply reach out as far as you can while jumping to move the pegs.
- Push all of the pegs you moved and any peg below the highest peg you moved to the inside of the vertec. Straighten the remaining pegs.
- Continue Steps 5 through 8 until you're unable to touch a peg during your jump.
Vertec Jump Test Results
Count the number of pegs you moved during your jumping. Each peg represents a 1/2 inch of a jump. So if you moved 15 pegs, for example, multiply 15 by 1/2. Add the result (7.5) to the initial 10-inch difference between your reach and the bottom peg, and you get 17.5 inches. This is your vertical jump.
If you have your own vertec, you may want to mark each peg with a number for easy calculation. Begin at the bottom with 10 and add a half to each peg. Use athletic tape to make a mark 10 inches below the bottom peg.
Have the athlete reach against the vertex and move the tape mark to his reach. The vertec is then set for that athlete to jump, and with the pegs marked, you won't have to calculate how many pegs they moved or the offset difference.