An Essential Guide to Measuring Vertical Jump (Sargent Test)

What is Sargent test aka vertical jump test?

Sargent test is a test everyone can use to measure their leap height. How high you can jump, is a good indicator of your lower body power and explosive performance.

Should you even care about it?

Is being able to do decent vertical jumps going to help you become a better athlete? It is obvious that having a decent jump is a key ingredient to your success as a Basketball or Volleyball player. Imagine how impressive it would be if you could take a huge leap to smash the ball into the net because players are guarding the net like crazy. Think about this, though. You’re involved in sports that don’t have you doing  jumps at all, like UFC type fighting or NHL Hockey. But still require you to have better than average strength, ability to explode using the power of your lower body. Now again, the vertical leap can be used as a tool to assess your performance. So obviously the answer to above question is Yes, if you are serious about your sports, you have to care about it.

You Can Easily Do at Home to Measure Your Jumping Ability

If you are still here means you are looking for a method to assess your vertical, so let me tell you that’s not rocket science. Although there are various types of equipments for advanced Jump assessment, which used to do the measuring very precisely, you can still assess your jump and your overall anaerobic power at home easily, and the result will be virtually as perfect.

How to perform a simple Vertical jump test



Use these 3 items: A conventional measuring tape, chalk or heavy pencil— and the nearest wall. This is so simple even I could do it. And most people are smarter than me. (Not really!) You might do the test outside or inside home, but make sure there is plenty of headroom to jump up. If inside your home doesn’t accommodate that then do it along an outside wall.


  1. Always warm up with 5 minutes of a basic easy stretching. Your body will stay loose, relaxed and proper blood flow in the body will help your body perform a much better vertical leap from a standing position. And more importantly doing the prep warm up will prevent muscle and body strain. (You don’t want an injury from a simple jump. right?)
  2. Start by doing the test somewhere where you can jump and land safely, with nothing getting in your way of a physical nature. You can even use a flat carpet or rubber pad to use as a landing pad so your body doesn’t bear the brunt of landing on a hard floor or even concrete.
  3. First of all by standing with the side of your body next to a wall. Make sure there is a lot of space upward because you’re going to reach up with the hand next to the wall to measure your jump.
  4. Measure your standing reach by standing fully erect and just reach up the wall as far as your hand will take you. Mark up this point on the wall.  Don’t stand on your tippy toes guys. Just make sure to measure your standing reach.
  5. Stand just a little away from the wall and jump! Use your legs, both arms and the core of your body to propel you upward.
  6. Reach as high as you can upward and mark up this point with the chalk. Make sure you’re close enough to the wall when you jump to touch the wall. Measure the difference between the standing reach measurement and the highest point you touched with your tips. That will give your height for a vertical jump.
  7. Marks will help your to do your test precisely and assess your improvement over the time. This is not an exact science so you can do it even without a market but because the human eye has a hard time determining where exactly something has landed. Believe me, it will help you. Also mind if you’re dealing with a brick wall you have embedded lines that go horizontally within the bricks. So you can also use that to measure your vertical leap as well.

Vertical jump test used in NBA, NFL and more!

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to figure out which sports use the vertical leap assessment tool the most. The NBA obviously. Because even 7 footers have to have a strong leap. Besides, the NFL is also well known for testing players jumping ability. 1 Believe it or not, many NFL players have better jumps than NBA players. In fact professional NFL player, Byron Jones, has a 44 inch vertical which is better than most of NBA players. Here you can see test scores for normal adults

So many muscles used in a simple vertical leap

Be it from your Lower back, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings or CalvesEvery time you jump you incorporate different groups of muscles at the same time to perform these three main movements: Hip extension, Knee extension and Ankle plantarflexion that generate the the momentum you need to do a jumpSo if your vertical is not impressive enough means combination of these muscles are not generating enough power. That is why exercises which only isolate one or two muscles are not what you want to add to your routine to improve your vertical.


A great test to assess anaerobic power and explosive ability

The vertical leap measurement is such a great tool in determining a player’s anaerobic performance, muscular strength and explosive ability.  2 All can be used in the real game to propel past opponents, break free of holds or dunk  from the free throw line! That is why measuring jump height has been used for decades by the NBA and NFL. This is all why investing some time and energy to increase your vertical jump can pay off in huge dividends, not just for pro athletes and teams, but college and high school. So why not starting to improve your vertical by adding a jump training program to your routine? It’s not only help with your jumping ability but your explosive performance and anaerobic power output.

So what a coach can know just by seeing your vertical?

Vertical jump test is an effective way to assess a player’s explosive ability and not just their vertical leap height. This tool that helps coaches to gather information on a player’s ability for play making or even scoring when there is virtually no chance to succeed. And having that information would help coaches and scouts determine who to scout, what players they already have on the roster that will help the team succeed and possibly win a championship based on information of this kind. Believe it or not.

Pros and cons of Sargent test

We talked a lot about advantages of Sargent test. But keep in mind, that as an  body power assessment tool, there is a slight disadvantages to the vertical jump test because it only focuses on measuring jump height. How high an athlete can vertically leap is not only related to their power output but the amount of body mass has an effect on the height of the jump. Also jumping technique has a key role in increasing your record. So if you want to have a decent jump, first you want to have a jump training program to improve your technique. Second, you probably want to lose some weight.  3

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