Gym mats are the ideal choice for home owners wanting to work out at home while still protecting their expensive floors. With fitness becoming an increasingly popular fad in the 21st century, many are opting to workout at home rather than paying for a gym membership. Home gym flooring is highly recommended for individuals with heavy fitness machines and equipment to protect the flooring underneath. Not only does a rubber gym floor protect your floors, they can also protect you and your equipment from any injury or harm. With a wide variety of thicknesses and forms ranging from interlocking rubber gym tiles to custom cut rolls, there is no reason to sacrifice your beautiful floors for your health and well-being.
1. What Are Gym Mats For?
Gym mats are generally used for three main purposes: floor protection, equipment protection and injury prevention. Vibrations from fitness machines and accidentally dropping other heavy fitness equipment can damage floors and they, too, can be damaged by the impact on the floor. Gym mats provide a protective barrier between fitness machines/equipment and the floors underneath to protect them both from any damage. A rubber gym floor is also thick enough to provide some padding between you and the hard surface underneath in case of a tumble to prevent serious injuries. Additionally, the rubber material home gym flooring is made of provides anti-slip qualities creating the perfect athletic surface for your fitness regimen.
1(a). Floor and Equipment Protection
Fitness machines and gym equipment can be extremely heavy and can cause extensive damage to expensive flooring options such as hardwood or ceramic tile. Heavy equipment such as weights and dumbbells can dent or crack floors if dropped and fitness machines emit vibrations that can eventually ruin your floors with enough exposure; therefore, it is important to choose the correct sports surfaces to prevent costly damages. Rubber gym mats will evenly distribute the vibrations of a fitness machine evenly across its surface to prevent it from concentrating on a single point and causing damage. A rubber gym floor can also protect the fitness machines themselves. With the amount of rattling and bouncing of these machines on hard floors, abrasions and dents are almost guaranteed without the use of some sort of home gym flooring underneath.
1(b). Injury Prevention
Rubber gym mats can prevent injury in two ways. One, by keeping your feet, fitness machines and equipment firmly planted on the floor and, two, by offering cushioning between you and the hard subflooring underneath providing padding in case of a tumble and cushioning for your joints against the hard floor. Rubber has a naturally high coefficient of friction which allows it to provide excellent traction even when it is exposed to moisture. This quality will allow your fitness machines/equipment to stay in place while in use and prevent your feet from slipping out from underneath you during a workout. Also, as an elastomer, rubber is able to absorb the force of impact to help keep you safe from serious injury while protecting your floors at the same time. In addition, this quality is also beneficial to your joint and lower back health making a rubber gym floor the ultimate athletic surface for safety.
2. What Types of Gym Mats are Available?
Gym mats are available in three main forms: interlocking rubber gym tiles, custom cut rolls and pre-cut mats. The different forms offered make it easier to find an athletic surface that is perfect for your home gym. Depending on how large (or how small) the intended application space is, should determine which home gym flooring option is best fit for the area. You should also take into consideration how often your gym mats will be moved to determine which form is most convenient for a mobile home gym flooring option.
2(a). Interlocking Rubber Gym Tiles
Rubber gym tiles are the most mobile form of gym mats available on the market as well as one of the most customizable home gym flooring options. The interlocking mechanism of this flooring option allows you to add or remove tiles according to how large or small you wish your home gym flooring to be. Additionally, these rubber gym tiles are extremely easy to install with no adhesives required for application. To install, simply take each tile and connect them together by their puzzle-like edges and keep adding on tiles until you have reached your desired size. With these tiles, you have customization option of adding to your rubber floor as your home gym grows. For example, rubber gym tiles are ideal for home gyms where it is to add tiles to create more space as more equipment begins to be added.
2(b). Custom Cut Rolls
Custom cut rolls can be cut to a custom length up to 50 consecutive feet and is the ideal flooring option for larger sports surfaces. These gym mats are easy to install; however, unlike the interlocking tiles, these mats will require some sort of adhesive, such as double-sided tape or glue, for application. For custom cut rolls, double-sided tape along the perimeter of the mat is the most recommended method of installation since it is more temporary and easier to replace in case of any damage. Glue, on the other hand, is a permanent installation method that is recommended to be used in commercial gyms, where it sees heavy foot traffic, or outdoor applications where precipitation is likely to deteriorate double-sided tape. This form of home gym flooring is best for covering wall-to-wall areas which makes them more popular in public commercial gyms but, it is also ideal for home gyms that need wall-to-wall protective flooring.
2(c). Pre-Cut Mats
Pre-cut gym mats are generally placed under fitness machines or used in small workout stations that are usually fit for a single person. They come in a variety of pre-determined sizes some of which are designed with specific purposes in mind. Although these mats can be lined up side by side to create a “larger” mat; however, these pre-cut gym mats are not intended for wall-to-wall flooring. These mats have a similar installation method to that of custom cut rolls. Pre-cut mats can be installed using double-sided tape along the perimeter of the mat for a temporary installation or with glue for a permanent installation. Additionally, these pre-cut mats can be used in conjunction with larger mats, such as custom cut rolls, if you would like to add more cushioning between the subflooring and whatever is on the athletic surface of your rubber gym floor.
3. What is the Best Gym Mat?
The best gym mats are the ones that are thick enough to provide ample protection for your floors, equipment and joints while ensuring that your feet do not slip and your equipment stay in place while you are exercising. Rubber, being elastic enough to provide cushioning and having a naturally high coefficient of friction to prevent any slippage, is the ideal material for gym mats compared other cheaper flooring options such as vinyl. Vinyl, or PVC, is another flooring option available on the market and, while vinyl gym flooring is generally cheaper to purchase initially, vinyl is not as durable as rubber is and will not provide the same amount of protection rubber will; this may end up costing you more in damage repairs or equipment replacement when rubber will last you far longer and will cost you much less money in repairs in the long run. Rubber gym mats are also available in a wide variety of forms while vinyl mats are only available in custom cut rolls. That being said, let’s get into some of the best products for gym floors.
3(a). “Elephant Bark” Rubberized Flooring
Made from 83 percent post-consumer recycled rubber content, “Elephant Bark” Rubberized Flooring is made to withstand the most abrasive of conditions. As one of the most popular options for gym flooring, this rubber matting is available in custom lengths up to 50 consecutive feet and different thicknesses coordinated by color. Thicknesses of 3/16-inch and 3/8-inch come in green dot, blue dot, red dot, blue steel, candy corn and all black colors while 1/4-inch thickness comes in all black only. The easy installation process only requires double-sided tape or glue depending on how permanent you would like the installation. This easy installation and durability of this flooring option allows them to excel as gym mats.
3(b). “Eco-Sport 1-Inch” Interlocking Rubber Flooring Tiles
Unlike the “Elephant Bark” Rubberized Flooring, this rubber flooring option comes in interlocking tiles. The “Eco-Sport 1-Inch” Interlocking Rubber Flooring Tiles comes in 1-inch thick tiles that can be fit together to fit a specific area. Made of recycled crumb rubber, these interlocking rubber gym tiles are extremely abrasion resistant making them perfect for heavy-duty fitness machines and equipment. The 1-inch thick rubber protects your floors against damage in case a heavy object falls or if large objects are being dragged across the floor. Installation is easy and pain-free. Glue can be used for permanent applications whereas plastic connector pins are used for a more temporary or mobile installation.
3(c). “Maxx-Tuff” Heavy-Duty Mats
At about 1/2 an inch thick, the “Maxx-Tuff” Heavy Duty Mats are one of the most popular heavy-duty gym mats available. These mats are offered in three different sizes, 4 feet by 6 feet, 3 feet by 4 feet and 2 feet by 3 feet, and are easily installed with double-sided tape along the perimeter or with glue. The honeycomb surface texture provides added grips for your shoes to hold onto with each step. These pre-cut mats were designed to be able to withstand the roughest of conditions making them the perfect heavy-duty mat for your home gym flooring.
How Do I Choose a Gym Mat?
To choose the correct gym flooring option, you must consider variables such as level of foot traffic, the type of equipment you will be placing on the floor and the space available. An athletic surface that experiences heavy foot traffic such as public commercial gyms should consider choosing a flooring option that has a more permanent application such as custom cut rolls. Larger spaces will also benefit from the use of a custom cut gym flooring since they can be customized to a specific length. Interlocking rubber gym tiles are the ideal flooring option for home gyms since they are mobile enough to be moved to different locations around the house and is easily customizable to fit as small or large of a space in your home. For those just wanting a mat for individual use or just to place under a single fitness machine or workout station, custom cut mats are available for a quick and easy solution to protect you and your floors.
How Thick Should a Gym Mat Be?
The thickness of your home gym flooring should be determined by the weight of the equipment you will be placing on top of it or the intensity of the workout. Gym mats come in varying thicknesses ranging from as thin as 2mm to as thick as 1-inch depending on how heavy-duty of a mat you need. For general gym matting underneath traditional fitness equipment, such as treadmills and ellipticals, it is recommended to use a mat with a thickness of at least 3/16 of an inch; however, the thickness may need to be adjusted if you are using a more modern or high-tech fitness machine since they tend to be heavier. Heavy-duty mats that are at least 1/2 an inch to an inch thick is recommended for more intense workouts requiring heavy weights and dumbbells such as deadlifting to ensure the safety of the subflooring beneath.
How to Clean and Maintain Gym Mats
Cleaning and maintaining gym floors are simple and easy thanks to its rubber composition. Rubber is an extremely durable material that can withstand harsh and wet environments making a rubber gym floor just as durable. For stuck on messes, you may use a hose to spray it off (although, this method is generally used if the flooring has an outdoor application) or you may use a wet rag to wipe it off. For dry messes, the cleaning process is even easier. Simply take a dry rag or dry polyester op to sweep off any unwanted loose dirt or debris.
Installing home gym flooring is an easy way to ensure the safety of you, your equipment and your floors. Gym mats are designed to protect your floors and cushion the force of impact to protect your joints from the hard floor surface and to keep you safe from serious injury in case of a tumble. Interlocking rubber gym tiles and custom cut rolls offer a more customizable approach to home gym flooring while pre-cut mats are usually made or purchased with a specific purpose in mind. Additionally, because of the sheer weight of workout equipment and the intense vibrations fitness machines emit, gym mats are available in different thicknesses to help ensure it can support the weight of all the equipment. Overall, gym mats are more of a necessity than a commodity when working out at home due to the damaging forces of fitness machines and equipment and the hard surfaces of the subflooring underneath.