Wondering that the highest vertical jump ever recorded was? Here they are.
There are actually a number of different types of jumps and measurements done by different organizations so comparing them isn’t always easy. We’ve compiled the different top marks from various sources that have been documented.
Understanding What Vertical Jump Really Means
The vertical jump is a test done by athletes to test jumping ability. We know that for sure.
Where it gets confusing is the different types of vertical jumps that people do.
The problem with this is that when you compare two different types of vertical jump methods then the numbers aren’t really the same because one kind of jump shows higher results compared to another.
So what are the most common types of vertical jumps measured:
1. Standing vertical jump
In its purest form, this is what the Vertical Jump is.
When doing the standing vertical jump, you stand on 2 feet, can’t take any steps. And just jump as high as you can and reach up as high as you can.
2. Running Vertical Jump
Sometimes people get a running start before they jump. If you do this and compare your jump height with someone who did it standstill (flat footed), it will look like you are a much higher jumper. But actually may not be.
This shows much higher results compared to standing jumps, sometimes as much as 8 to 10 inches more.
The NBA’s max vertical jump uses this running start.
3. One or Two Step Jumps
Others take a 1 step or sometimes a 2 step approach then jump.
This is in between the no-step and the running start. It will also show much higher results than the standing jump.
4. Vertical Box Jumps
Of the 4 types listed here, this by far gives the highest number of all.
You shouldn’t compare someone doing this jump, for example the guys in YouTube telling you they did a 50” vertical (box jump), with a 35” jump by an NBA player.
Because chances are the NBA player’s jump measurement was done with a standing jump.
With the box jumps, the athlete gets to pull up their legs to get up the platform.
So if you think about it, you need to subtract the length of the athlete’s legs by their vertical jump measurement to get the real jump height, right?
If you do that, then the 50 inches may actually be less than 30 inches.
Highest Vertical Jump Recorded in the World
Below are the documented highest jumps from the NFL and NBA draft combine. We also have the Guinness Book World Record holder of the standing vertical.
To explain the jump tests in the NBA and NFL draft combines:
- The standing vertical uses counter movement (arm swing), but is a no step jump.
- The max vertical, meanwhile, allows players a running start (any number of steps).
The current jump records:
for the NFL Draft Combine:
- Standing Vertical:
46 inches by Gerald Sensabaugh
for the NBA Draft Combine:
- Standing Vertical:
40 inches by D.J. Stephens
- Max Vertical:
46 inches by D.J. Stephens
Unfortunately there are no documents of volleyball players and Olympic weightlifters, two types of athletes who have very high vertical leaps.
Among the highest vertical jump seen in volleyball is that of Cuban volleyball player Leonel Marshall, who is said to have a 50 inch vertical. His leaping ability is very obvious if you watch any of his games on YouTube.
Standing Vertical Box Jump
Another measure people like to use for their vertical leap is the box jump. In this exercise, the athlete jumps on a box and lands on top of it.
The height of the box is what they measure during their box jump.
- Kevin Bania 64 inches
- Justin Bethel 60 inches (current official Guiness World Record)
- J.J. Watt 59.5 inches
You’ll notice that the numbers are much higher than the figures listed above for the standing and max vertical jumps.
This is because they get to pull up their legs during the box jump.
To put things into perspective, J.J. Watt’s vertical jump (no step) in the NFL draft combine was recorded at 37 inches. So the extra 22.5 inches or so listed above accounts for the legs getting tucked up during the box jump.
Other Highest Jump Marks in the World
Other high jump records that we have seen include those from the high jump and long jump. It would be great to have had these athletes’ verticals measured and documented since they would have had very good numbers too.
High Jump World Record
- Javier Sotomayor – 2.45 meters (8 feet)
- Stefka Kostadinova – 2.09 meters (6 feet, 10 inches)
- Mike Powell – 8.95 meters (29 feet, 4 inches)
- Galina Chistyakova – 7.52 meters (24 feet, 8 inches)
I remember seeing an old tape of Mike Powell in a slam dunk content. He definitely could go up.
Top Jump Training Resources: