Gymnastics Mats FAQ: Everything You Need to Know
| Fact Checked By: Lamont Robbins
Published: September 24, 2020 | Updated: February 5, 2021
The right gymnastics mats are essential for developing skills and practicing. But how do you find the right mat? You probably have a lot of questions and you’re not quite sure where to start.
No need to flip out! We get lots of questions about gymnastics mats, so we know a thing or two that can help you, whether you’re buying a mat for a beginner gymnast, or you’re a seasoned pro looking to teach others.
This guide will teach you about the different kinds of gymnastics mats, the thickness options, the teaching tools you can use, how to take care of your mat, and much more.
When you eventually buy your mat, you want to make sure you stick the landing by finding the perfect product. To get started on the right foot, read up on the basics, and then learn about the different kinds of mats available to you.
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What are gymnastics mats?
Gymnastics mats are floor mats that provide impact absorption for gymnastics, cheerleading, martial arts, wrestling, and other high-impact sports. They cushion your landings to protect your joints and make sure you’re always practicing safely.
What are gymnastics mats made of?
Gymnastics mats are typically made of impact-absorbent cross-link polyethylene foam covered in a durable vinyl casing. They’re designed to be easy to clean and sanitize, and won’t easily tear or puncture, no matter how much traffic they get. Other mats may feature carpet tops for improved traction with floor routines.
What types of gymnastics mats are available?
There are a few options for gymnastics mats. Depending on how portable you want your mat to be, and how you want to use it, you may find that one option suits you better than others.
Folding mats feature vinyl-covered panels that fold up for convenient storage. These panel mats are one of the most popular options for gymnastics mats because they’re so easy to store and transport. They’re the perfect practice mats for gymnastics of skill levels.
Roll out mats
Roll out gymnastics mats are also easy to transport and store because you can roll them up like a yoga mat when not in use.
Landing mats are designed for the ultimate impact absorption. They’re ideal for advanced gymnastics and martial arts. Also known as crash mats, these mats tend to be thicker, and feature mesh sides that allow air to escape upon impact, giving you an even softer landing.
Competition mats are meant to cover a large area when the time comes for a match or a floor routine. They may have carpet or vinyl tops, depending on your sport. They’re easy to roll out and are perfect event venues like gymnasiums or convention centers. Roll out competition mats often come in a range of customizable colors to match your school’s or team’s colors.
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Can you attach gymnastics mats together?
If you buy multiple gymnastics mats, Velcro will be provided to connect multiple mats together to create a larger practice area.
Use and Durability
Where and how should you use gymnastics mats? What kind of mat do you need for your specific practice? We’ll answer those questions here.
Can you use gymnastics mats for home practice?
Yes, you can use any of our gymnastics mats at home, as long as you have space. In fact, some folding and roll out mats are specifically designed to be easy to store so you can practice effortlessly at home.
How thick should a gymnastics mat be?
The right thickness for your gymnastics mat depends on how you want to use it. Generally speaking, thicker mats provide more impact absorption, while thinner mats won’t absorb as much impact.
Here are your options:
- 1-3/8″ – 2-1/2″: This is the ideal range of thickness for tumbling mats and gymnastics mats. Mats of this size are good for multipurpose use.
- 8″- 12″: Landing mats or crash mats are typically extra thick to ensure you fall safely.
- 14″ – 16″: Incline mats a.k.a. cheese mats can be up to 16” tall at the highest point. These mats are less about absorbing impact and more about supporting beginners as they learn the basics.
What are the best gymnastics teaching tools?
- Wedge mats: Also known as incline mats, these mats are a great tool to teach basic rolls, walkovers, and handsprings. Teachers may also use them as tumbling aids, crash pads, or landing mats.
- Balance beams: Lifted only a few inches off the ground, these balance beams allow beginning gymnasts to practice without the fear of falling. They’re made from a durable foam core with a protective vinyl cover. They fold in half for easy transport.
Are gymnastics mats waterproof?
Vinyl-encased gymnastics mats are considered to be waterproof. However, other types of gymnastics mats will vary. Mats with foam bases that are only topped with carpet or vinyl are not waterproof, since the exposed foam can absorb water.
Can gymnastics mats be used outdoors?
Vinyl-encased mats are virtually waterproof, so they can be permanently left outdoors. The vinyl will protect the mats from the weather and the sun. Other kinds of mats, such as mats that only have a vinyl or carpet top, are not suitable for permanent use outdoors, because they will soak up water, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. However, you can bring exposed foam mats outside temporarily, as long as you take them back inside with you after use.
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Cleaning and Maintenance
Once you’ve found the perfect mat, you want to make sure that you can take care of it properly. Fortunately for you, when it comes to gymnastics mats, there’s nothing to it! They’re designed to be easy to clean, and they’re tough, too. Find out just how simple it is to keep your mat in good shape.
How do you clean and sanitize gymnastics mats?
Gymnastics mats are very easy to clean, whether they have a carpeted surface or are encased in vinyl. For daily maintenance, you should sweep or vacuum up any dust or dirt. To spot clean, you can wipe down the mats with a cloth.
Those are the basic steps to keep your mats looking good, but how do you make sure they’re sanitary? No matter if the mat is topped with vinyl or carpet, you need to sanitize the mat before and after each use, to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Here are some helpful tips for sanitizing mats depending on the material.
How to Clean Vinyl Gymnastics Mats
It’s pretty simple to kill bacteria on vinyl mats, as long as you use the right products for the job. Make sure you wipe down the mats with a clean cloth and one of these recommended disinfectants.
- ULINE Cleaner and Disinfectant: This fast-acting, low odor, disinfectant is designed to be sprayed on exercise equipment after use. It does not have to be diluted with water, making cleanup a breeze.
- Ecore at Home Enviro Care Neutral Disinfectant: This disinfectant from Ecore works on a variety of surfaces and equipment to ensure a safe and sanitary environment. You can apply it in several ways: with a cloth, mop, sponge, coarse spray, or by soaking.
- Disinfectant wipes: Don’t have time to find a specialized cleaner? The disinfectant wipes you find at the grocery store offer a simple, fast way to quickly sanitize a mat.
- Rubbing alcohol or peroxide: Create your own sanitizer by diluting one part peroxide or rubbing alcohol in two parts water. Then simply wipe down the mat and let it completely dry before the next use.
How to Clean Carpeted Gymnastics Mats
A carpeted surface provides better traction, which is great for floor routines, but those carpet fibers require some special treatment when it’s time to sanitize. To ensure your carpet-topped mats are sanitary, here’s what you will need.
- Carpet shampoo: Of course! You should treat a carpet-topped mat like you would a regular carpet. To keep it clean, vacuum the dirt and shampoo the carpet to get rid of any bacteria that might show up on the surface after use.
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How do you repair gymnastics mats?
On the off chance the vinyl casing on your mat does tear, you can repair it using a vinyl patch with an adhesive backing. Just follow these steps.
- Cut the patch into a rounded shape so no edges will catch.
- Smooth out the patch over the tear or puncture, making sure there are no air bubbles.
- Carefully apply sealer around the edges of the patch to make sure it’s secure.
- Let it dry completely. Then get back to practice, because your mat is as good as new!
If you need to fix your mat on a budget, some high-quality duct tape can also patch the tear for a temporary fix.
Time for a celebratory cartwheel, because now you’re in the know! With all these answers on your side, you can make an informed decision about the kind of mat you need, whether you’re a gymnast, cheerleader, wrestler, or martial arts enthusiast.
If you still have some answered questions, our flooring experts will be happy to help via call or chat.
Ready to shop?
Oh, okay. Thank goodness you pointed out that thicker gymnastic mats would be better for novice athletes as higher levels of safety could be provided. The local kindergarten in my neighborhood plans to upgrade the facilities in its exercise room before the school session starts next month. I’ll show the management this info so they can select the right equipment later on.