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How do I Choose the Best Home Gym Mats?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Gyms and fitness centers have the luxury of space: they do not need to worry about storing equipment, because the equipment is always out and ready for use. When using gym equipment in the home, storage can often become a hassle when the equipment is not in use, so good home gym mats are lightweight, easily stored, and easily maintained. Home gym mats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as materials, so before choosing which home gym mats are right for you, it is important to decide what exercises you will be doing the most and how the home gym mats will be used.

Some home gym mats are extremely lightweight and portable, and are intended for use by only one person. For many exercises — especially stretching exercises — a simple yoga mat works just fine. If you will be using the mat for stretching exercises or exercises that do not require a great deal of room, a yoga mat or even a sleeping pad for camping works great. These are usually made from closed cell foam, which is lightweight and easily rolled up for storage. Yoga mats are generally made of thin rubber, and they can be rolled up even smaller than camping mats.

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For exercises that require a larger footprint, other options are available. Soft mats with foam in the center and a vinyl cover wrapped around it are ideal for exercises that require the user to spend a significant amount of time on the ground. Wrestling mats work well for this application, as they are soft enough to absorb a blow but thick enough to prevent the user from compressing the foam all the way to the ground. The vinyl cover is easy to clean should sweat drip onto them.

If weight training is your specialty, heavier duty rubber mats may be the best choice. These mats are heavier than other types of home gym mats, and they will more than likely stay in one place in the home. They can be rolled up if they need to be stored, though they can be a bit cumbersome to move. These mats are ideal because they provide sufficient cushioning on the feet when the body is burdened with extra weight, and they can absorb some of the energy from a weight that is accidentally dropped. This may mean the difference between a broken dumbbell and one that remains undamaged.

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fify
Post 3

@ysmina-- Actually, thick mats are not always best for gym flooring. For example, for yoga, I need a thin mat because I need to feel the ground with the soles of my feet. For pilates, on the other hand, I need a thicker mat to be able to do some pilates exercises comfortably. So we can't say that a specific type of mat is best. Different types are best for different purposes.

burcidi
Post 2

@ysmina-- I agree with you. The exercise floor mat should also be wide enough. Otherwise, the legs and arms land outside of the mat while stretching. And it should grip the floor well so that it doesn't move around.

ysmina
Post 1

I like yoga mats because they're lightweight and easy to store like the article said. But some of them are too thin and uncomfortable for this reason. When I lay down for yoga exercises, I can very much feel the hardness of the floor and it bothers me.

That's why I prefer thicker exercise mats that give some cushioning and also prevent the cold floor from making my back cold. These are a little more bulky and take up more space but I think that's worth it.

Also, a good mat should have straps attached to it, to tie the mat after rolling it up. Otherwise it unrolls within minutes and does not store.

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