Exercise mats exist because no one likes working out on a cold floor. Not only is it not particularly hygienic to get that close to your floor, it’s hugely uncomfortable - pain in your elbows can persist for days if you’re planking on the ground. When personal trainers tell you to feel the burn, they’re not referring to your carpet rubbing against your skin.
Exercise mats provide an additional benefit though. As well as keeping you safe from the floor, they keep your floor away from weights that you might put down, or even exercise machines that can slide across a surface during use.
These simple pieces of equipment aren’t just a luxury for using during yoga. They’re essential for any kind of home workout.
With so much training these days spent inside gyms and homes, working on your physicality when you’re not on the field, it’s important to pick an exercise mat that’s best for you. Check out our picks below.
What is the best exercise mat?
There are plenty of exercise mats on the market that promise different benefits depending on what you’re searching for specifically in a product.
For someone looking to spend less that £50 without compromising on quality, the Phoenix Fitness Gym Exercise Mat is the best all-round choice. It provides a non-slip texture and is durable enough to stand the test of time.
If you’re looking to spend a little more money, or even to coat an entire floor in foam texture, read on for our picks of the best mats on the market.
Best exercise mats, in order
1. Phoenix Fitness Gym Exercise Mat
A sturdy, no-thrills all-rounder for when you want to go hard (at home)
Size: 205x105x0.6cm | Material: EVA foam | Pack size: One each
The Phoenix Fitness Gym Exercise Mat provides excellent cushioning on a hard floor without breaking the bank. It’s big enough for most gym machines to sit on and big enough for anyone to use - at over two metres long, it would pass the Peter Crouch challenge.
This mat is reliable and lightweight for you to take to the gym if need be. It won’t slide around your floor - owing to the grip on it - and it works as a shock-absorbent surface. No, the heavy-duty foam isn’t the fanciest material - but this mat is perhaps the best all-around choice.
2. Ultrasport multipurpose fitness mat
The budget option for home workouts
Size: 190x60x1.5cm | Material: NBR rubber | Pack size: One each
If you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful, the Ultrasport multipurpose fitness mat is great for working out on. It provides a thick, soft surface on which to plank or press up on, and it’s wash-clean too.
Understandably for the price though, this fitness mat doesn’t feel particularly high-quality. It serves a purpose, but if you want to put as much effort into your floor workouts as you do on the pitch, you’re probably better off spending a little more money.
3. Q324 XL fitness mat
The high end option on the market, made in Germany
Size: 140x180x2.5cm | Material: EVA foam | Pack size: One each
German brand Q324 take fitness mats seriously. Their mats are huge - ever wanted to work out with your teammate? - and made of dense, high-tech foam. At over £100, you really do get what you pay for.
Think of this as the Mesut Ozil of fitness mats. It’s fantastic quality and great to use, if not a bit of a luxury. And German. It’s from Germany.
4. We R Sports Interlocking Floor Mat
Create an entire home gym - or build a box - with these mats
Size: 60x60cm | Material: EVA foam | Pack size: Minimum of four, maximum of 36
If you’re going to work out from home, why not turn the spare room into a gym?
A multitude of reasons, but if you’re actually looking at building a designated home workout space - whether indoors or out, interlocking EVA floor mats can provide a solution, as you can cover a space as large or as small as you wish. If one mat gets damaged, you need only replace that one, too.
5. Manduka PRO Yoga Mat - £115
The professional yoga surface (probably) used by Giggsy
Size: 216x66x0.6cm | Material: PVC | Pack size: One each
If you notice yourself replacing your mat every six months, have you thought about spending a little extra on one that lasts longer?
The Manduka PRO mat is primarily designed for yoga, but virtually indestructible. If you’re just using it for sit-ups and planking, for example, it fits the bill nicely - you might need something a bit bigger for placing equipment on, though.
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