Enter any commercial gym these days, and gym mats are likely one of the first things you would see lining the floor—and for good reason! Rubber gym mats are made of a durable material that serves to protect floors from impact, especially over long periods of time and repetitive use. Commercial gyms, however, aren’t the only favorable space for these mats.
Gym mats—or workout mats and training mats as others may call them—are perfect for at-home use in your own private gym. Consider the kind of flooring most people have in their homes: hardwood, carpet, or tile. These surfaces are great for everyday life and aesthetics, but not so much for physical exercise where constant impact would quickly wear them down and increase your own chances of injury.
Gym Mats | Home and Commercial Use
This is why gym mats are a great investment for both residential and commercial use. It’s a small investment now to prevent future worries over property damage and/or physical injury later down the line. Of course, workout mats vary in thickness and not everyone will need 3/4 or 1/2 inch-thick gym mats in their homes. Depending on where you plan to exercise and use your training mats, the thickness can allow for easy storage or mobility if desired. For example, in a run-of-the-mill commercial gym, you might find training mats that are 1/4 inch thick for treadmills and elliptical machines to rest on, but in another area of the gym, there are 3/8 inch workout mats for use with lightweight dumbbells or high intensity workouts like P90x.
So what kinds of thicknesses are generally available for rubber gym mats and which one is right for you?
- 1/4 inch gym mats:
- These fitness training mats are usually found around most commercial gyms where heavy fitness machines rest, such as treadmills or ellipticals. This is also the optimal thickness for yoga and other exercises of little to no-impact. For private home gyms, these would be the most ideal in terms of mobility and storage. However, for more high-impact workouts, thicker rubber gym mats would be more beneficial.
- 3/8 inch gym mats:
- For use of lightweight dumbbells, kettlebells, and the like, 3/8 inch thick workout mats are perfect for absorbing such shock and impact. For heavier weights, an upgrade to ½ or ¾ inch thick training mats would be more ideal.
- 1/2 inch gym mats:
- These rubber gym mats are excellent for high-impact workouts such as insanity and enduring strength training equipment like utility benches, bench presses, and power cages.
- 3/4 to 1 inch gym mats:
- As the toughest of training mats, these 1 inch thick mats are most popular in Cross Fit Gyms and as use for deadlifting, especially on Olympic weightlifting platforms. More often than not, this thickness of gym mats is used for wall-to-wall flooring than for isolated areas of a residential or commercial gym. So, if commercial gyms are your business, the ½-1 inch range of gym mats thickness may be the most ideal selection for you.
Beyond the overall thickness of training mats, it’s also important to consider the elasticity, resilience and impact protection you’re looking for when thinking about investing in gym mats. Whether your primary workout spot is your home gym or a commercial gym, workout mats are a must—if not to protect your hardwood, carpet, tile, or concrete floors, then at least to protect your body and joints from scrapes and injuries from high-impact exercises. The elasticity and resilience of rubber mats depends on the thickness you choose; the thicker the mat, the less elastic it is, but it is useful for durability especially in cases where heavy weights or intense workouts are concerned.
Moreover, most rubber gym mats are perfect for shock absorption and muffling sound and vibration from high impact workouts. The thickness and material of these durable training mats allows for the optimal slip-resistant surface especially as workouts naturally intensify and perspiration inevitably gathers on the gym mats. While it may not be 100% guaranteed that these mats will prevent slipping, the rubber material does provide more friction for people during workouts than hardwood floors or tiles might—both of which are flooring you might find in a residential or commercial gym.
To best safeguard the floors of your home or gym, choosing the right gym mats that is unique to your business or personal needs is essential. But it is a process that could easily be alleviated given the right amount of time and research.