But, what is a good vertical jump for men and women? What is the average vertical jump height by age?
Keep reading to learn about vertical jump test norms, how to assess your highest vertical jump, and what a good and average vertical jump is for men and women of different ages.
We will cover:
- What Is a Good Vertical Jump for Men and Women?
- Average Vertical Jump By Sex and Age
- Vertical Jump Test Norms by Age and Sex
- How To Test Your Vertical Jump
- How to Get a Better Vertical Jump Height
Let’s dive in!
What Is a Good Vertical Jump for Men and Women?
As we will find when we are trying to look at the average vertical jump height and vertical jump test norms, one of the complicating factors with determining the average vertical jump test height is that there are different vertical jump test protocols.
The two primary approaches to performing the vertical jump test to determine your vertical jump height are either jumping as high as possible from a standing start or having a running approach to your vertical jump.
The latter vertical jump test protocol, where you get to run a step or two and then leap, will result in higher vertical jump test averages than the average standing vertical jump height.
As such, the same trends are seen with the world record vertical jump height.
According to the Guinness Book Of World Records, the highest vertical jump with a running start is 1.27 m, or 4 feet 1.92 inches.
This is essentially equivalent to a vertical jump height of 50 inches.This world record vertical jump height for men was achieved by Darius Clark (USA) in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, on 28 June 2022.
On the other hand, the highest vertical jump world record for men from standing (no run-up) is 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in), or about 67 inches. This highest standing vertical jump world record is held by American Christopher Spell and was set in February 2021.
The highest vertical jump height for women is not readily available.
For reference, Michael Jordan’s vertical jump is said to have been about 48 inches.
Average Vertical Jump By Sex and Age
Although few people would turn down having the dunking skills of superstar basketball player LeBron James, having a good vertical jump goes beyond just helping your basketball game.
As with many athletic skills and fitness tests, there is a higher average vertical jump height for men vs women, and the average vertical jump height and what constitutes a “good vertical jump for seniors“ declines with each decade of life after roughly the age of 30 years.
The differences in vertical jump test score norms for females vs males and good vertical jump test scores for seniors vs younger adults and adolescents are both due to the fact that younger men have more lean body mass and less body fat than older adults and women, both of which contribute to better vertical jump performance.
Additionally, when it comes to the average vertical jump for women vs men, men also have an advantage because the average male is taller with longer legs than the average female, which again contributes to higher vertical jump averages for men vs women.
The other key component that contributes to your vertical jump ability is the relative percentage of fast-twitch vs slow-twitch muscle fibers you have, also known as type II vs type I muscle fibers.
Because the vertical jump test is a power-based fitness assessment, and fast-twitch muscle fibers (type II fibers) responsible for more powerful, forceful, explosive contractions, the more fast-twitch muscle fibers you have in your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads, the better your vertical jump will be.
Additionally, the average vertical jump declines with age. This is primarily thought to be due to a loss in anaerobic power from age-related decreases in muscle mass.
Vertical Jump Test Norms by Age and Sex
What is the average vertical jump?
According to a study that assessed three different equations to calculate power from vertical jump height, when the vertical jump height for women and men used in the studies were averaged, the overall average vertical jump height for both sexes together (n=116 subjects) was just about 40 cm (15.75 inches).
Using the data from this study, the average vertical jump for men was 45 cm (17.7 inches), and the average female vertical jump height was 30 cm (11.8 inches).
The average age of the subjects in these studies was around 26-27 years old.
Unfortunately, it is hard to find the average vertical jump height by age since most vertical jump norms or studies have been conducted with college-aged students or professional athletes.
According to the Eurofit Vertical Jump Testing, here are the vertical test norms by age for men and women based on percentile rankings:
What Is a Good Vertical Jump for Men?
|Age Range cm (in)|
What Is a Good Vertical Jump for Women?
|Age Range cm (in)|
How To Test Your Vertical Jump
When you do an official vertical jump test, you use a device called a jump tester, which has thin plastic sticks in one-inch increments along the upper portion of a tall pole.
To test vertical jump height at home or at the gym, you can use a pencil or erasable marker and jump up along a wall.
Mark the wall, being careful not to extend the writing implement higher than the tips of your fingers.
Although most people inherently know how to jump after mastering this developmental milestone in toddlerhood, actually performing a proper vertical jump test takes a fair amount of skill and practice.
As mentioned, the test for vertical jump height can either be performed from the standing position or with a running start, like a vertical leap.
However, it is most common to do the vertical jump test protocol without a running start.
Here is how to do a standing vertical jump test:
- Stand with your core and legs engaged, your chest up, and your feet directly under your hips.
- Keeping your spine upright and core engaged, quickly bend your hips and knees into a partial squat, sitting your hips back and thrusting your arms behind you to create momentum.
- Explode upward, jumping as high as possible while driving your arms forward and overhead.
- Reach up as high as you can with only one arm, and hit the marker on the vertical jump tester (or make a mark on the wall with a writing utensil).
- After you start coming back down, straighten back out and land softly with your knees bending to absorb the load, ensuring they stay straight forward rather than caving in. Allow your arms to swing backward as a counterbalance.
To actually measure your vertical jump height, measure the distance between your standing vertical reach (stand up and reach up as high as you can, recording the height of the tip of your fingers) and the height you reach with your fingers when you jump.
For example, if your vertical reach is 98 inches and you mark 128 inches up on the wall with your pencil, your vertical jump distance is 30 inches.
How to Get a Better Vertical Jump Height
Here are a few tips for increasing your vertical jump height on the vertical jump test:
- Resist the urge to widen your stance because this actually reduces the power you’ll be able to generate and drive into the ground for push-off.
- While keeping your feet anchored into the ground, consciously pull your knees outward so that you feel tension in your hips because this engages the hips and glutes so that they’re primed and ready to fire rather than fully relaxed. This gets your neuromuscular system geared up so that muscle recruitment for your jump is faster.
- Make sure to reach up with only one hand instead of both arms because performing a unilateral vertical reach increases the maximum height you obtain compared with reaching with both arms.
You can learn more about how to improve your vertical jump here.