Beginner Gymnastics Mats Buyer’s Guide
By Ari Ziskin
| Fact Checked By: Lamont Robbins
Published: February 28, 2018 | Updated: February 3, 2021
Just starting to work on those cartwheels and forward rolls? You, my friend, need some beginner gymnastics mats! Check out our buying guide to find the best mats for your skill level.
Just getting ready to start gymnastics or still working on the basics? You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg (umm, you need those for gymnastics!) on a fancy mat designed for the most advanced movements.
You can start your gymnastics practice simply with the right tools designed for beginners to help you get started.
From mats for basic tumbling to beginner’s teaching tools, we have a wide array of mats to help you take your first steps towards becoming the next Simone Biles. Or, you know, just taking up gymnastics as a hobby. Either way.
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What should you look for in a beginner’s mat?
Safety is always a concern, but even more so when you’re just starting out.
The concern is either making sure your kids are safe or, starting as an adult, the fear of not being safe when you suddenly tackle these new gymnastics moves.
Have you ever attempted to learn gymnastics after the age of 10? It is so hard and so scary! Especially when you don’t have a good mat there to support you.
When learning things like handstands, cartwheels, and front walkovers, there’s bound to be spills and tumbles (not the good kind), but a safe, cushioned, shock-absorbent mat will be there to protect you.
All of our beginner’s mats are safe for beginning gymnastics movements. They are thick and durable enough to protect you from falls as you practice moves like handstands, forward and backward rolls, cartwheels, and front and back walkovers.
Many of these mats are also appropriate for intermediate level movements like front and back handsprings.
When you’re just starting, you want all the help you can get, right? Although most beginner level mats won’t do much in the way of help other than protect you (which is important!), there are plenty of accessories that you can check out to help you learn the basics.
A great start would be the combination of a 4’x8’x2” Folding Mat plus an incline mat or balance beam to help you practice your floor work, plus some extra skills like walkovers and transitions to bar work.
If you’re learning at home and don’t have someone there to spot you, these extra tools can be especially helpful. A wedge mat can fold up into a handy spotting block in no-time.
No one wants to spend hours a day maintaining their mat. If you’re busy training a beginner gymnast, you’re always on the lookout for ease and convenience, and that’s just what these mats offer. All of our mats and accessories have a smooth vinyl casing that makes them incredibly easy to clean with just a damp cloth or a traditional sanitizing product.
When you’re done with practice for the day, simply put the mat away. Each of these mats is very portable.
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Types of Beginner Gymnastics Mats
As I mentioned, a great setup is a traditional folding floor mat with the addition of a teaching tool or two. Here’s a look at what you have to choose from.
Just a little upgrade from our Eco Folding Mats, our traditional folding mats are a little denser and provide that extra bit of shock absorption. Also, they’re colorful (but they also come in black if you’re not into the whole color thing).
The extra density, more durable vinyl, and sweet color options make this mat a solid choice for anyone just starting out. It can sustain you a little bit further through your practice into more advanced movements, and it’s just as easy to store when you’re not practicing your heart out.
For a vibrant, durable multi-level gymnastics and martial arts mat, our 4’x8’x2” Folding Mats are the ideal choice.
Gymnastics incline mats are also known as wedge mats or cheese mats, which refers to their distinct wedge-like shape. Unlike regular folding mats or rollout mats, wedge mats serve a specific purpose to beginner gymnasts.
The unique “cheese” shape is a great tool for learning forward rolls, front walkovers, uphill vaulting, transitioning to bar training. Some incline mats also fold into a block, allowing you to work on other skills or use it as a spotting block.
These mats are more of a teaching tool than an all-use mat. If you have a little one in gymnastics, they’re a great add-on to other folding mats, but you may not want them as your only mat. Gymnastics wedge mats come in a range of heights to accommodate the skill of any beginning gymnast.
Even though they’re big and bulky, cheese mats are designed with heavy-duty handles for easier carrying. If you’re looking for a beginner’s teaching tool or just a mat for fun and games, the incline mat is the way to go.
The dreaded balance beam! No matter how skilled a gymnast you are, everyone gets butterflies in their stomach when they first step on the balance beam. It is probably the scariest and most mentally challenging part of gymnastics.
Our foam balance beams are the perfect beginner training tool. Before they get up to the high beam, beginners can practice on this approachable, low-to-the-ground foam beam. This way, when falls inevitably happen, you’re only 2.5” off the ground. That’s a relief!
For extra safety and protection, place the foam balance beam over your folding mat so your little ones can fall safely to a soft surface, encouraging them to push themselves more and gain confidence.
Highlights of Beginner Gymnastics Mats
- Easy to clean, transport, and store
- Great for teaching beginning – intermediate moves
Limitations of Beginner Gymnastics Mats
- Kids outgrow them after about age 10
- Not suitable for advanced gymnastics
Ready to get started? Order your beginner gymnastics mats and equipment today!