Last updated: August 6, 2021
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Welcome to our big gym mat test 2022. Here we present all the products we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best gymnastics mat for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying a gymnastics mat.




Summary

  • Gymnastics mats offer protection and comfort when practising all kinds of sports.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between classic gymnastics mats, floor gymnastics mats, low jump mats and soft floor mats.
  • If you buy a gymnastics mat, you must pay the most attention to what you want to use it for, as there are many differences.

The best Gymnastics Mat: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a gymnastics mat

Who is a gymnastics mat suitable for?

A gymnastics mat is especially suitable for those who practise classical floor or apparatus gymnastics or who practise a martial art, but also for those who are involved in yoga, Pilates or gymnastics.

If none of the above applies to you, but you still like to stretch and are looking for a comfortable surface, a gymnastics mat is also the best choice. There is also always a high demand for sports mats in school and club sports.

Gymnastics mats are ideal for floor and apparatus gymnastics. However, they can also be used for stretching exercises. (Image source: unsplash.com / Anupam Mahapatra)

What size gymnastics mat should I buy?

When choosing a size for your gymnastics mat, there are a few things to consider: First, note that there are different types of gymnastics mats that are used in different ways and also have different dimensions.

The typical gymnastics mats, usually blue and often with leather corners, are 2 x 1 m long and wide and about 6 cm thick.

The classic floor gymnastics mat is mostly used in school or club sports and is in use in 6 x 2 m or 12 x 2 m sizes. Its standard thickness is 3.5 cm.

Soft floor mats typically measure 2 m x 3 m x 30 cm and low jump mats are available in two different sizes: Either in 2 m x 1.5 m x 12 cm or 3 m x 1.5 m x 12 cm.

The standard size for gymnastics or fitness mats is 180x55 cm. However, it is advisable to choose a larger mat (190x60 cm) if your height exceeds 1.70m. Mats with a width of 80 or 90 cm are also available.

Buying a wider mat makes sense if you feel your freedom of movement is restricted on the narrower mats. In addition, the size of the gym mat must always be adapted to the intended use.

For static movements, as is often the case in gymnastics or yoga, for example, the standard size is usually sufficient. However, if the mat is used for floor gymnastics and is also used, for example, as an exercise mat for rolls, more length is needed.

What does a gymnastics mat cost?

The classic blue gymnastics mats are already available at a price of 80£ to 250£. Depending on the quality and size, floor gymnastics mats can be found in the range of 550£ to 1500£. Soft floor mats can be purchased for 300£ to 1200£, and low jump mats cost between 200£ and 800£.

The price range for gymnastics mats is very wide.

As you can see, buying a gym mat is often expensive fun, but definitely worth it: in return, you get maximum comfort and ensure your own safety.

Type Price range
Gymnastics mat 80£ - 250£
Floor gymnastics mat 550£ - 1500£
Soft floor mat 300£ - 1200£
Low jump mat 200£ - 800£

What alternatives are there to a gym mat?

Gymnastics or yoga mats are a good alternative to a gym mat. These are much thinner than gymnastics mats, but are sufficient for stretching exercises, Pilates and yoga.

They also have the advantage that they are usually super light and rollable and often have a carrying handle. So they are easy to store and practical to use.

Type Description
Gymnastics mat Gymnastics mats are rather thick and elastic for training mats. You sink in more on them, which makes them easy on your joints, and they have good support for your hands and feet.
Yoga mat Yoga mats are very light and thin, but also hardly shock-absorbent. They are easy to transport.

However, if you are really looking for a mat for floor or apparatus gymnastics, you should urgently go for a thicker and more shock-absorbing version. Anything else greatly increases the risk of injury and offers far less protection and stability than an adequate gym mat.

There are also foldable versions of gymnastics mats that can be stored away easily. An additional alternative is the conventional sports mat. This is also much thinner than a gym mat. However, if you want to do some sports and fitness exercises from home, a sports mat can be used as an alternative.

Decision: What types of gymnastics mats are there and which one is right for you?

Gymnastics mats are divided into three types:

  • Soft floor mat
  • Low jump mat
  • Floor gymnastics mat

The advantages and disadvantages of each mat are discussed below.

What are the characteristics of a soft floor mat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The soft floor mat is the gymnastics mat with the highest penetration depth. It offers optimal fall protection for apparatus gymnastics and is mostly used for sports with uncontrolled landings, as the depth of penetration ensures a cushioned landing after jumps.

It is ideal for cushioning flat landings (seated or supine landings). However, it is not suitable for sports with punctual landings, such as apparatus gymnastics: The vise effect (the high sinking depth of the gymnastics mat, which causes feet and hands to be caught during landing) can lead to injuries.

Advantages
  • High penetration depth
  • Optimal fall protection
  • Cushioned landing
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for sports with point landing
  • Vice effect

What are the characteristics of a low jump mat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The low sinking depth is characteristic for this type of mat. The low jump mat is the best choice for demanding sports with turns and optimally suited for spot landings. It should be noted, however, that this mat is only recommended for use by children of primary school age and older.

Toddlers are too light to sink into the mat. As a result, their jumps are not cushioned by the mat and the mat cannot fulfil its purpose.

Advantages
  • Low sinking depth
  • For demanding sports
  • Optimally suited for spot landings
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for small children

What are the characteristics of a floor exercise mat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The floor exercise mat, also called a floor exercise runner, is the mat with the largest surface area. It is six or twelve metres long and two metres wide as standard, yet it is very thin at approx. 3.5 cm thick.

If you lay several of these mats next to each other, they are joined together to form one large surface. This type of mat is particularly suitable for sports such as gymnastics of all kinds, acrobatics, cheerleading or classical floor gymnastics.

It finds its greatest use in school and club sports. In apparatus gymnastics, the floor gymnastics mat is also often used as a support for soft floor mats to ensure a better footing when the athlete lands. One disadvantage, however, is that floor gymnastics mats have only low cushioning properties and wear out quickly.

Advantages
  • Large surface area
  • Suitable for covering soft floors
  • Optimal for gymnastics and floor gymnastics
Disadvantages
  • Low cushioning
  • Quick wear

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate gymnastics mats

Before you buy a gymnastics mat, you should consider the following points.

  • Area of use
  • Stability
  • Weight
  • Material
  • Dimensions
  • Stowability

The first important criterion to consider when buying a gymnastics mat should be the area of use: What do you need your gym mat for, what is its intended use? You should also compare the degree of stability as well as weight, material, dimensions and stowability before making a purchase decision.

Area of use

As already mentioned, you should be clear about what exactly you need a sports mat for. If you occasionally stretch or like to do yoga, gymnastics and Pilates, a thin mat is sufficient for these purposes.

If you are looking for a mat for children who like to do gymnastics and wrestling, you should buy a proper gym mat for them. This is more comfortable and thicker, which means it offers more protection against injuries.

Especially with children, there is a higher risk because they are often still very uncontrolled. If you are still a beginner and do mostly simple exercises (no jumps, no running exercises, etc.), a classic gymnastics mat is also the right choice.

There is always a great need for gymnastics mats in school and club sports - they are used there for all safety measures on sports equipment, among other things.

If you are already an advanced gymnast and do gymnastics in a club, you will already have come into contact with floor gymnastics mats (floor runners), soft floor mats and low jump mats. The floor mat is often used when you need a long gymnastics track for your sport. It is also used as a support for soft floor mats.

Soft floor mats provide ideal fall protection for apparatus gymnastics and are ideal for sports with uncontrolled landings and flat landings. The low jump mat is ideal for demanding sports with many turns and spot landings.

Stability

The soft floor mat is the mat with the greatest sinking depth, which is why it is not particularly stable. It is not a base for gymnastics, but is used to catch the gymnasts after they have completed their sequence. The floor gymnastics mat has only low cushioning properties, but is very stable due to its hardness.

It is often used as a support for soft floor mats to ensure a more stable stance for the athletes. The low jump mat has an additional stabilised edge. It also has a multi-layered construction, which ensures a secure footing when landing.

Weight

The classic gymnastics mats are (after yoga and gymnastics mats) the lightest of the types presented here. It is recommended to transport them in pairs or fours and then stack them on a mat trolley, if needed.

Floor exercise mats are usually already too heavy to be carried. They are rolled up and then stored on a rolling rack to save space. Low jumping mat and soft floor mat are the gymnastics mats with the highest weight. They are stored upright and standing, but must be secured with several straps to prevent sagging, buckling or falling over.

Material

Gymnastics mats are always constructed in the same way: There is the mat core and the mat surface. The mat core provides optimal cushioning and is usually made of foam: A distinction is made here:

  • Composite foam
  • Neopolen
  • PE foam
  • PU foam

A characteristic of mats with a composite foam core is that they are elastic, but still very resistant. A neopolymer core is known for its good resilience after dynamic and static loading.

Mats with a PE foam core are popular for their high stability and low weight, and mats with a PU foam core stand out for their high dimensional stability. They are mostly used for the production of soft floor mats. The surface also differs significantly. There are mats with:

  • Polygrip gymnastic mat fabric
  • Napped gymnastic mat fabric
  • Tarpaulin fabric
  • Needle fleece

Polygrip gymnastics mat fabric has a grain structure and is slip-resistant. Nubbed gymnastics mat fabric is also anti-slip, has a nubbed structure and protects against skin burns.

Tarpaulin mats, on the other hand, have a smooth surface and needlefelt has the advantage that the core and surface are very firmly glued together so that wrinkles cannot occur.

Moreover, needlefelt mats are skin-friendly and slip-resistant and you are also protected from burns. With floor gymnastics mats, it is important to note that the foam core must be firmly bonded to the surface and that the underside is made of a slip-resistant material. Smooth edges are also important in order to enable seamless laying together.

Soft floor mats provide ideal fall protection, but are very thick and extremely heavy. You can't roll them up, so you need a lot of space to store them. It should also be noted that due to the heavy weight, you are not able to set them up and take them down on your own.

Soft floor mats - unlike other gym mats - cannot be rolled up and therefore need a lot of space. (Image source: unsplash.com / Gesina Kunkel)

Low jumping mats have different foam layers, which is why we also talk about a "sandwich construction". The edge is additionally stabilised and the surface is mainly made of needlefelt velour. They are moderately heavy and also rather difficult to store.

In the case of yoga or gymnastic mats, both the bottom and the top are made of non-slip materials, usually virgin wool, PVC, TPE or natural rubber.

Dimensions

Fitness mats are usually 1.80 m long and 60 cm wide. However, they are also available in extra length and wider. Standard gym mats are 2 m long, 1 m wide and approx. 6 cm thick.

Floor gymnastics mats are the longest gymnastics mats: they are used in 6 x 2 m and 12 x 2 m sizes and are about 3.5 cm thick. Low jumping mats are 2 m x 1.5 m and 3 m x 2.5 m. They are 12 cm thick. Their thickness is 12 cm. Soft floor mats are usually 3 m long, 2 m wide and 30 cm high - they are by far the thickest of the four mat types.

Stowability

As already mentioned, gymnastics mats are stacked on a mat trolley. Floor exercise mats are rolled up, soft floor mats and low jump mats are stored upright and secured with straps. The possibility of rolling them up makes floor gymnastics mats relatively easy to store.

However, soft floor mats and low jump mats are impractical to store. If you have a gym with an equipment room to store the mats, this is not a problem. At home, however, it is rather difficult to store larger and heavier gymnastics mats.

Normal gymnastics mats are somewhat easier to store because they are smaller than other mats. In addition, there are now many variants that can be folded.

Facts worth knowing about the topic of gymnastics mats

How do I clean a gym mat properly?

Hygiene is very important, especially in sports. Many people coming together and direct physical contact provide ideal conditions for germs and pathogens to spread uncontrollably. In addition, sweat and other body fluids quickly accumulate on sports equipment and gym mats.

Therefore, it is extremely important to regularly remove dirt and bacteria from gymnastics mats. Coarse dirt should be removed gently with a brush or sponge at regular, shorter intervals. Minor dirt, which is always caused by dust deposits and sweat, is best removed with a damp cloth. This gentle form of cleaning ensures that the surface material of the mat is not damaged.

To avoid the formation of mould, the freshly cleaned, damp gym mats should only be stacked again when dry. For a more thorough cleaning, you can use a soap cleaner.

In addition, it is advisable to use a special cleaning and care product for cleaning at longer intervals: This has the advantage that the mats are not only cleaned again after treatment, but that the surface of the mats is also protected. The care product prevents the material from drying out too quickly, which means that the mats do not become brittle so quickly and you can enjoy them for longer.

If the gym mats are also used outdoors, it is recommended to hose them down with a garden hose after use. However, care must be taken to leave out seams to prevent liquid from penetrating the inside of the mat.

How do I disinfect a gym mat?

To disinfect a gym mat, you should get a special disinfectant for use on lying surfaces of fitness equipment or mats. It is best to choose a ready-to-use, alcohol-free and fast-acting product such as HygienicPlus. The product has a pleasant smell, is ÖGHMO and DGHM/VAH certified and is effective against enveloped viruses.

In the meantime, there are also some mats that do not need to be disinfected because of their antibacterial and fungicidal effect.

What exercises can I do on a gymnastics mat?

Both floor gymnastics exercises and stretching exercises are performed on gymnastics mats. Floor exercises, which are mostly performed on rather hard gymnastics mats, include

  • the cartwheel
  • the screw
  • the handstand somersault
  • the handstand
  • the headstand

The gymnast should already have developed a certain level of safety for these exercises and have mastered the technique. If one should buckle or fall over, the gymnastics mat offers protection.

Another popular exercise that is often trained and practised on mats is the forward roll. As already mentioned, gymnastics mats are also perfect for performing stretching exercises. They provide a comfortable, clean and soft surface, which is a big plus as many stretching exercises are performed sitting or lying down. Despite the soft surface, a stable stance is ensured for the gymnast.

During the stretching exercises, which are performed sitting or lying down, mainly the back muscles and the upper body are stretched forward. The position of the legs, hands, arms and elbows varies depending on the exercise. Sometimes the legs are closed, sometimes open and in some exercises the floor is touched by the hands, arms and elbows, in others not.

Image source: pixabay.com / 5132824

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