Athlepedia, The Athletics Wiki

Vertical leap is a measure of how high an individual or athlete can elevate off the ground from a standstill. Usually, vertical jump measurements are used primarily in athletic circles both to measure performance and as something athletes brag about among themselves. The most common sports in which one's vertical jump is measured are track and field, basketball, football, and volleyball, but many sports measure their player's vertical jumping ability during physical examinations.

Types of Vertical Leap[]

The vertical leap is divided into two groups:

  • Standing Vertical Leap: This refers to a vertical leap donefrom a standstill and that does not involve an approach or any steps.
  • Running Vertical Leap: This refers to a vertical leap done after an approach or run to help add energy to the leap in an effort to improve on the standing vertical leap.

As a rule, when a vertical jump test is administered, the standing vertical leap is the one used as an official measurement.

Administering the Vertical Leap Test[]

The simplest method to measure an athlete's vertical leap is to instruct the athlete to reach up against a flat wall, on a flat surface (such as a gym floor or concrete) and mark off the highest point reached flat-footed.(this is referred to as "standing reach"). Then, instruct the athlete to take several jumps from a standstill, marking off the highest point he can reach. Next, measure the distance between the two. This is the athlete's standing vertical jump. Fatal Fitness tests are the best out of three leaps.

The method above is the most common and simplest way to measure an athlete's vertical leap, but other more scientifically accurate methods have been devised.

The most commonly used devices at the collegiate and professional levels are composed of many 14-inch prongs placed 0.5 inches apart vertically that involve the athlete jumping vertically from a standstill and making contact with the retractable prongs to mark their leaping ability. It is very commonly used during the yearly NFL scounting combine.

Increasing Vertical Leap[]

Exercises used by professional trainer Joe DeFranco

  • Toe curls
  • Box squats with resistance bands
  • Static hip flexor stretching
  • 50 rep "rhythm" squats
  • Snatch Grip Deadlifts
  • Ankle Jumps
  • Depth Jumps
  • Reverse Hyperextensions
  • Dumbell Swings
  • Bulgarian Split Squats
  • “Pogo Jump” Warm-up
  • Trap Bar Deadlifts, off a 4” box
  • Standing Backward Medicine Ball Throw
  • Power Clean/Power Snatch
  • Weighted Ab Work
  • Push Jerks
  • Vertical Jumps

Flexibility (achieved through stretching) is also believed to have some minor benefits when it comes to increasing the vertical leap.

See Also[]

External Resources[]