How High Can a Human Jump?

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The greatest human leapers in the world are able to jump over a bar suspended nearly 8 feet off of the ground. While the world record consistently increased for a period of about 100 years, recently, it appears that competitive high jumpers may be approaching the human body’s biological limits. Most average humans jump only a fraction of this height.

In 1968, high-jumping revolutionary Dick “Fosbury Flop” Fosbury set the world record by jumping over a bar placed 7 feet 4.25 inches high. This was good enough to earn Fosbury an Olympic gold medal. Gerd Wessig improved his previous best by nearly 2 inches in the 1980 Olympics, as he brought the gold medal back to East Germany. American Charles Austin holds the current record, set in the 1996 Olympics. Austin cleared the bar when it was set at 7 feet 10 inches from the ground. The highest jumps women have achieved have been approximately 6 feet 8 inches off the ground.

Other athletes can jump exceptionally as high as well. Basketball player DJ Stephens is the current record-holder for highest vertical leap among NBA players. Stephens has leaped 46 inches straight up in the air. The previous record, held by Kenny Gregory, was 45.5 inches.