Gym mats serve two main purposes: to protect you from your floor and to protect your floor from you. No-one likes to lie down on a cold, hard floor for their training, and any heavy weights you use can easily damage the floor if you don’t put a protective barrier in place. It’s also wise to put a mat down under a treadmill, exercise bike, rowing machine or other home cardio machine because these can move mid-workout and leave scratches.
You can opt for a cheap, lightweight gym mat if you’re just using it for bodyweight exercises, while more substantial options are best if you’re using free weights or putting a cardio machine on it. The latter option will set you back a bit more, but just think about how much you’ve saved on replacement gym flooring the next time your heaviest dumbbells clatter to the floor after a drop set.
Best Budget Mat: Opti Basic Exercise Mat
This non-slip mat is great for stretching and bodyweight workouts, and can be rolled up for easy storage or to carry with you if you’re taking your training on the road. It’s also wipe clean and, at 173x61cm, is large enough for most to use comfortably. That said, at 0.4cm, it’s not the thickest mat, so on really hard floors you might want a more cushioned option.
Buy from Argos | £7.99
Best For Cardio Machines: Body Power Heavy Rubber Gym Mat
Make sure you find the right spot for this heavy-duty mat before you put it down, because it’ll be no fun having to move this beast twice. The mat is 1.5cm thick, so it will protect floors from heavy weights and cardio machines, and at 182x121cm it’ll give you plenty of space for your training and even accommodate treadmills, although you’re likely to need two to cover the footprint of high-end rowing machines.
Buy on Amazon | £73.99
Best For Large Spaces: Domyos Floor Pads
Interlocking floor pads are a great option because you can shape them to fit the space you have and they offer the high levels of protection of a thicker, less mobile mat but you can detach the pads and stack them away easily. This pack of four 54x54cm pads creates a mat that’s large enough for small cardio equipment, but you might want to grab a couple of packs for general training or larger machines.
Buy from Decathlon | £9.99
Best Personal Gym Mat: Adidas Training Mat
This mat comes with a handy strap to carry it with you once it’s rolled up and at 1cm thick, it’s both comfortable and padded enough to use with light weights. However, its relatively slender 61cm width means you have to be careful where you put those weights down.
Buy on Amazon | £23.99