The group of vertical jump tests is easy to perform for assessments of both lower-extremity explosiveness and raw talent. Currently, performance coaches and sports scientists employ jump testing to manage power, monitor for excessive or unexpected fatigue, and identify possible talent in youth populations. Scientific literature has proven that vertical jumps are strongly associated with speed (sprint tests) and strength (1 rep max testing), and the jumps are used as a proxy to determine improvement in training or athletic development.

We cover the supportive science in this guide and, more importantly, the right procedures and protocols to conduct a test properly, as well as analyze the results. Included in this resource is an up-to-date list of common jump devices that you can use to evaluate the common vertical jump tests and individual tests such as the countermovement jump and reactive rebound jumping.

 

The Common Vertical Jump Test

Vertical jumps are popular because they are extremely safe and easy to perform, and correlate well with other forms of performance. Some research suggests that horizontal jumps are valuable, but the landing and technical demands are the reason jumping up and down is desired in coaching circles. All the tests below are valid options if you want to monitor and manage athletes, and each test has pros and cons depending on what your staff needs. The specifics of which tests to use are beyond the scope of this resource, but we recommend that you use what is pertinent to your program and your athletes’ abilities to technically perform.

Jump and Reach

The NFL still uses the commercially available Vertec, and it is accepted as a basic way to estimate jumping ability. The athlete uses their arms and a countermovement to jump and literary reach a flag or other marker of height. Due to accuracy and reliability issues with the test, it’s not sensitive to use in any scientific analysis outside of, perhaps, talent identification when on a budget.

Countermovement Jump

We cover the supportive science in this guide and, more importantly, the right procedures and protocols to conduct a test properly, as well as analyze the results. Included in this resource is an up-to-date list of common jump devices that you can use to evaluate the common vertical jump tests and individual tests such as the countermovement jump and reactive rebound jumping.

Squat Jump

A squat jump uses a static and bent position to initiate the jump, and this option doesn’t rely on the stored energy of the lower body. Some coaches add a load to the jump to measure workouts, but this style of test is mainly used to contrast countermovement jump performances.

Reactive or Rebound Jumps

A rebound jump is a bouncing and quick repeated jump with two legs, and it provides a reactive strength index (RSI) score. Commonly referred to as incremental drop jumps, the reactive jump family sometimes uses boxes of various heights to calculate the RSI and to monitor the neuromuscular system.

Single Leg or Hop Tests

Return-to-play programs and screening commonly use single leg hops, but they are valuable in training programs as well. The athlete usually jumps up and lands on the same leg, and they can do this with one hop at a time or repeatedly in a rebounding manner. Your staff can sequence the tests in specific orders based on their needs and priorities, and the time available. Those electing to perform repeated testing should use a protocol that they know can be repeated over time so proper comparisons can be made.

 

Time and Space Required for Testing

A coach or sports scientist can purposely isolate vertical jump testing from training or embed it into the training itself, depending on their goals. If the data needs to represent an athlete’s true ability, then you should administer the test when the athletes are fresh and free of any residual fatigue. If you monitor the athlete in an applied setting, change and repeatability are more important than absolute valid scores. When managing a roster of athletes utilizing an Athlete Questionnaire to monitor current wellness is essential for accurate measuring.

 

 

 

On average, it usually takes two to three minutes per athlete to test. Depending on equipment access, this can take an entire training session or, if cleverly planned, just a few minutes before an intense workout. The required space should be large enough to accommodate a team with everybody standing and observing freely, and have enough room for the tested athlete to feel comfortable and land safely. You should set up all equipment safely so that athletes don’t interfere with the testing. We highly recommend back-up equipment.

A coach or sports scientist can purposely isolate vertical jump testing from training or embed it into the training itself, depending on their goals. If the data needs to represent an athlete’s true ability, then you should administer the test when the athletes are fresh and free of any residual fatigue. If you monitor the athlete in an applied setting, change and repeatability are more important than absolute valid scores. When managing a roster of athletes utilizing an Athlete Questionnaire to monitor current wellness is essential for accurate measuring.