How to test your vertical with no equipment.
Testing your vertical jump often is the easiest way to get an accurate reading on your increase. Moreover, I think it is advantageous to always test your vertical during jumping exercises to ensure you are reaching your maximum heights each jump. When performance drops off, I usually change the training because training for maximum vertical should involve you jumping at your very highest or very near that.
Before I talk about how to measure your vertical with no equipment, let me briefly mention the expensive ways that are more convenient for some people, and may be suitable for coaches etc..
This type of apparatus is one of the most popular and accurate methods to test your vertical. Once you know the highest reaching point of the trainee the apparatus will tell give you a fast measure of how higher they jumped. Simply:
Another apparatus is an electronic mat that measure ground contact time, time in the air, and amount of force applied to the ground, as well as using the measure to provide a close estimate of vertical jump. These can be great training aid for plyometrics and to concentrate on minimizing ground contact time. However, the estimate of jump height can be thrown off by knees bending in the air which increase time in the air.
The Ceiling method.
First it is handy to carry around a small tape measure with you. This can be found or made from scratch to easily make measurements. If you really don’t want equipment you can measure the length of your hand, or arm and use it to make measurements.
You must find a ceiling that you can barely touch.
You need to know what your standing reach it (no cheating).
Now by subtracting the height of the ceiling (using your measuring tape) from your standing reach you will know how high you have to jump to touch the ceiling. Now for the tricks.
If you can touch the ceiling try and touch it with your middle knuckle. If you can do that, add the distance from the tip of your finger, to your middle knuckle.
If you can touch the ceiling with your middle knuckle, try and touch it with your big knuckle (further down). If you do it, add the distance… basically your vert is the distance from your knuckle (reaching to the air) to the ceiling.
Next would be to touch your wrist.
This isn’t a perfect system but can work.
Measure using a rim
Once again you must know your standing reach. We will assume that the rim is 10′ but you may want to measure to be sure.
It is handy to find out the distance from your hand to the rim to start with.
Now jump into the air and see how high you can touch on the rim. For example maybe you can touch the rim to your wrist. Now add the distance of your hand and wrist to the original measure, and you have your vertical.
You can also have someone watch your highest touch on the backboard and simply measure the distance form your reach to the backboard.
Here is another method:
If you have a small tape measure you can measure your vertical anywhere, it is always the distance of your reach to the highest point you can jump and touch.
You can use anything, tree branches, basketball hoop, wall… I carry around a small tape measure in my backpack so I can measure anywhere and attempt to train by jumping at my highest levels.
Parting words on measuring your vertical
You can measure your running vertical, or your standing, one foot, or your two foot. It is all the same principle.
Don’t be discouraged if you are lower some days than others. Due to fatigue and muscle condition your vertical can vary from day to day. The important is to make sure that you are improving over time. Only measuring often will allow you to see the gradual incline and see the fruits of your discipline.