The vertical jump test has been used to measure the lower body power of athletes. It is also a test used for checking physical fitness. So what is the average vertical jump of a person?
We answer that question by looking at some of the statistics compiled over the years.
Athletes are tested for their vertical leap because it is a way of measuring the athletic ability of their lower body.
Strength can be tested by using squats or leg presses, but those exercises do not directly translate to sports.
This is the reason jumping ability is used as the measure instead.
In general, when vertical jump is being measured the test in question that’s used is the standing vertical leap. This means that the athlete jumps from a standstill position and is not allowed to take any steps or have a running start.
Below is a chart showing the average vertical leap of men and women.
Average Vertical Jump Chart
The male and female bodies are build differently. Biology tells us that men have more muscle mass compared to women and one reason that the average man is 50% stronger than the average woman when it comes to brute strength.
For this same reason, the vertical jump norms and score averages are also different with men having an advantage. To make the scores more comparable, the comparison table splits the mean scores into males and females.
Vertical Jump By Age
When it comes to age, vertical leaping ability increases as during the teenage years and peaks during the decade of 20 to 30 years old.
- During their 20’s, the average vertical jump for men is at 19.5” to 20”.
- At the same age, the average vertical leap for women is at 13” to 14”.
After that it, the averages start to decrease by around 3 inches for every decade.
So What is a Good Vertical Jump?
For that we take a look at some of the top athletes in their sports. These are elite world class athletes who train as a big part of their life. If you can match their average vertical leap, then you have a good vertical jump to say the least.
Average Vertical Jump for a Basketball Player
The athletes that popularized jumping the most have been basketball players. Their ability to do aerial acrobatics when they drive to the basket or when they dunk captures the imagination of fans and spectators.
When it comes to vertical leap, here are some averages for basketball players:
- NCAA Division 1 College Basketball Players average 27 to 30 inches
- Professional NBA Player’s average jump is 28 to 30 inches (standing vertical)
Well known NBA leapers including Vince Carter and Michael Jordan have their standing verticals at over 35” while their max vertical (running start) at over 40”.
Vertical Leap for a Football Player
Because jumping requires explosive power, the training of a football player actually gives them an edge over basketball players. As an example, the elite college football player out jumps the elite college basketball player by a bit.
- NCAA Division 1 College Football Player 29 to 31 inches
Statistically, the average NFL player jumps higher than the average NBA player and this can be seen in the jump test results during the draft combines.
The NFL only uses a standing vertical test and in each year we see at least 4 to 5 players at 40” and above. On many years, specially recently, we’ve seen more than 10 players in go over 40” in a single year.
This is rare in the NBA draft combine, as the current standing vertical jump record is 40”, which has only been done 1 time by D.J. Stephens.
For Elite Athletes
When it comes to measuring elite athletes, those who compete in world class events, the averages go like this:
- Elite Male athletes: 26 inches
- Elite Female athletes: 22 inches
This is much lower than the NBA and NFL, but we have to remember that in many sports jumping isn’t needed or important. This means many athletes don’t train their jump at all, which pulls down the average.
When it comes to vertical jump test results and getting averages, it is important to compare your goals with the athletes in your sport. Different sports require different abilities so some athletes don’t train jumping at all.
The top jumpers usually fall under a few sports including football, basketball, volleyball, Olympic weightlifting and track and field, specially the sprint events, the long jump and high jump.