10 Things You Didn’t Know About Gymnastic Mats

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gymnas jumping near the white board


It was quite recently that I had to purchase new gymnastic mats for my team. And it was during that journey when I found out a few things that I didn’t know before.

Seeing that they were more than helpful to me in finding the perfect gymnastic mat, I thought, what would be the 10 things you didn’t know about gymnastics mats?


A gymnastics mat’s durability, use, and price are all dependent on obscure details that are not commonly known by everyone. It is essential to be aware of them to make helpful purchase decisions. This is even more important if you are purchasing a gymnastic mat for the very first time.


1. Gymnastic Mats and Tumbling Mats Are Not the Same


To the outside observer, gymnastic mats and tumbling mats might be one and the same. But as those who practice these sports would know, they are quite different.


Gymnastics is a large discipline that involves an array of acrobatic moves. These moves are largely performed by the athlete on their own. But more often than not, they involve certain props and equipment.


On the other hand, tumbling is a form of gymnastics that don’t require props or equipment. The routines are performed over a long floor mat, which is why they are also referred to as floor gymnastics.


Whenever you are purchasing gymnastic mats, make sure that you are seeing how they are compatible with other equipment. But if you are only buying them for home practice or tumbling, then having such a mat in just your required size would do.



2. Gymnastic Mats Come in Different Materials


Gymnastic mats come in different materials. They are typically made out of a high impact foam core, but they often use different foam and material types with this core. This is to give the athletes the perfect mix of cushion and support that they need during different routines.


Some gymnastic mats are also inflatable, which makes them easy to carry and offers more absorption abilities. Also called air floors, they are quite popular among home users.


Depending on the type of material used, the function and price of a gymnastic mat could differ significantly. It is important that you look at the purpose why you are buying a gymnastic mat, and then make a decision accordingly.


3. Gymnastic Mats are Versatile


Gymnastic mats are not only made for the floor to absorb crashes or provide a surface for tumbling. They could be used in a variety of ways to offer more functionality.


For instance, if you are buying a foldable gymnastic mat, then you could use it both as a floor mat for practice, and a wall mat to prevent impact accidents. With that, you could also utilize it in its folded form to practice different gymnastic skills with ease.


Whereas, gymnastic air floor pads could be used in a variety of situations. You could easily practice your routines right in your backyard. You could also take these pads on your travels to practice on the go.


girl splitting on jigsaw mat

4. The Dimensions Make a Big Difference


Buying a gymnastic mat could fulfill a variety of needs for an athlete. But that is exactly where the purchase process gets tricky.


“Gymnastic mat” is a broad term that is used to refer to a variety of mats used in the discipline. As defined above, different types of gymnastic mats serve different functions, and it all depends on how they are made.


Dimensions play a big part in the process. If you are buying a gymnastic mat for tumbling, then it has to be a certain length in order to give you the room to perform your routines. And if you are buying a gymnastic mat to be used with other equipment, then it has to be a certain thickness to serve as your crash pad. You need to keep these factors into account whenever you are out to buy a gymnastic pad.


5. Some Gymnastic Pads Could Be Attached with Others


There would be times when your usual practice mat might not be enough to sustain a certain routine. You may need a larger practice area, and with it, would need more gymnastic mats.


Given that you can’t just keep buying different gymnastic mats for different routines, some gymnastic pads come with the ability to be attached with others. This allows you to create a larger practice area with smaller gymnastic mats.


This also lets you collectively utilize those mats that you typically use with a variety of other equipment. This ability keeps you from purchasing new mats for certain practice routines, and helps you keep your budget in check.


6. Some Gymnastic Pads Come with Anti-fatigue Capabilities


When you are just branching out into gymnastics or simply want to continue with lighter routines that aren’t as tiresome, gymnastic pads with anti-fatigue or comfort foam could be of help.


These gymnastic pads absorb your fall and provide you with extra comfort during your routines. As a result, your body is not pushed beyond a certain extent.


These anti-fatigue pads are often used by beginners. With that being said, they are also used by athletes over their travels to keep post-routine fatigue to a minimum.


7. Their Covering Materials Are to Be Taken Into Account


Gymnastic mats come with a variety of options in terms of cover materials. But only a few of these covering materials are optimal from a hygiene viewpoint.


For instance, coverings made out of vinyl are considered the most hygienic. They do not absorb bacteria like other materials do, and are easily cleanable.


All that you need to do to maintain hygiene over vinyl covered-mats is to wipe them down with a good disinfectant. This makes sure that you are able to prevent any illness-inducing germs from your practice area.


With that being said, vinyl covers are not suitable for all gymnastic mats. For instance, some landing and crash pads might require a softer cover material to absorb the fall. Keeping this in mind, make your choice accordingly.


8. Their Warranty Isn’t Always the Same


Another thing that you need to take into account is the warranty being offered by different gymnastic pad manufacturers. If a certain brand offers a specific period of warranty, then it is not mandatory that another brand would be doing the same.


This goes both ways.


If you find that a certain brand does not offer a warranty on specific products, that is not a sign to drop your search for a good deal. Instead, if you keep looking, then you might just find another manufacturer that offers a warranty on the same product.


In some cases, these warranty-based products come at a higher price point. But it is all worth it because it keeps you from spending on a new mat in just a matter of a few months.


focus photography of person counting dollar banknotes

9. Never Trade Quality for Budget


Whenever you are out to buy a gymnastic mat, you would find that the same type of product is available for highly variable prices. At the surface, those products would look the same. But when you look closely, there would be a difference in material, manufacturing techniques, and warranty.


It is a given that low quality and low-cost gymnastics mats would give out in just a few months. Without a warranty, this would mean that you would have to start your search all over again. As a result, you would end up spending more than you initially thought.


That is why it is important that you never bargain quality for your budget. If you have to pitch in a higher amount for a high-quality gymnastic mat, then think of it as a necessity. This way, you would be able to enjoy your mat for a long time.


10. Gymnastic Mats Do Not Last Forever


While this might be a given for some consumers, it would be news to others. This is especially true given the higher costs of some high-quality mats.


But it needs to be put into account here that even with high-quality materials, there is only so much damage that a gymnastic mat can take.


Since gymnastic mats are put through rough usage, they often need to be replaced. While pricier gymnastic mats take a longer time to wear out, they still do so. Warranties could prevent the hassle of finding a new mat all over again. But when these warranties wear out after a long time, you would end up with having to buy a new mat.


That is why it is always a great strategy to start saving up for another gymnastic mat halfway through the suggested lifespan of your existing one. This keeps you from having to break into your other savings when your gymnastic mat wears out after years of use.