If you are thinking about buying a gymnastics mat for home use you may be wondering if it is worth the investment. Depending on the type of gymnastics mat you need, it could cost several hundred dollars.
There’s also the danger of buying a gymnastics mat which just isn’t suitable for home use.
In this article, I dive into the things to look out for, so you can decide if gymnastics mats for home are really worth it.
I think gymnastics mats are definetly worth it for anyone wanting to do extra practice at home – but it will depend on your individual circumstances so lets get started!
Table of Contents
- What types of gymnastics mats can I use at home?
- What can I do on a gymnastics mat at home?
- Are gymnastics mats safe for home use?
- Things to consider when buying a gymnastics mat for home
- How much are gymnastics mats?
- Where can I buy a gymnastics mat for home?
- What to use instead of a gymnastics mat?
- Can you get lice from gymnastics mats?
- Can gymnastics mats get wet?
- Can I use a yoga mat for gymnastics?
What types of gymnastics mats can I use at home?
There are 6 main types of mats used in gymnastics. They all have a different purpose – most are suitable for home use but bigger types of mat will need a lot of storage space and are more suited for professional gym facilities.
|Can it be used in an |
|Folding or Panel Mat||Yes||Rolling / Cartwheel / Handstand / Bridge / |
|Cartwheel Mat||Yes||Cartwheels / Basic Skills|
|Flexi Roll Foor||Small size only||Basic Tumbling|
|Incline or Wedge Mat||Yes||Rolling / Walkovers / Back Handspring|
|Landing Mat||Small size only||Underneath bars / Beam dismounts / Vault|
| Air Mat |
(also called Air Track)
(check size carefully)
|Basic and Advanced Tumbling|
What can I do on a gymnastics mat at home?
You can do most types of gymnastics on mats at home although they are best suited for basic skills that don’t require as much space as a professional gymnastics sprung floor.
Panel mats (home versions are sometimes called folding mats), are usually smaller and can be used for basic floor skills like forward and backward rolls, cartwheels, handstands and bridges. Panel mats can also help with jumps, leaps and balances. They are ideal for beginners.
Cartwheel mats are very similar to panel mats in size and material but will have the hand and feet placement marked out for cartwheels. On the reverse of the mat you can usually find either hopscotch markings or a beam line marked out. These are also ideal for beginners.
If you want to add slightly more advanced moves like round off, back handspring or aerial you should consider using a Flexi-Roll mat. Sizes vary but they tend to be bigger than a panel mat so you can fit more skills onto it.
Flexi-roll mats have a carpet layer on top which is exactly the same as a professional sprung floor.
Incline (or wedge shaped) mats are great if you need a bit of extra help to do rolls, walkovers or even learning back handsprings. The downwards slope gives the gymnast additional momentum to turn moves over. Because they’re not flat you only really use Inclines to learn new skills.
If your looking for something with more bounce then an Air Mat is for you! You can perform any of the moves already mentioned but the inflatable nature of the mat will give you extra air time – great for those advanced tumbling skills. Check out my top 6 air tracks here.
Are gymnastics mats safe for home use?
Gymnastics mats are safe for home use as long as you have adequate space. You need to avoid using the mat close to furniture, walls and doors. Also, be careful of the flooring that you put the mat on top of. If you are placing a mat on top of hard flooring and you miss the end or side, the impact of the hard floor can cause an injury.
Only practice skills that you can do safely on a gymnastics mat at home. Even the best quality mats will not stop you from hurting yourself during a Back Handspring or Back Tuck if you mess up.
Nothing replaces the safety of a professional gymnastics coach who can spot you and prevent injuries. So whilst gymnastics mats are safe to use at home, only use them just to practice skills you have already learned safely.
Things to consider when buying a gymnastics mat for home
Where is your gymnastics mat going to be used? Measure the space so that you buy a mat which is suitable for the space you have available. Check the ceiling height as well – keep it clear of low hanging lights!
Panel mats and Flexi-Roll flooring should be around 2″ in thickness. This gives enough cushion to prevent injury but any thicker and the mat will become too soft to use for tumbling type skills.
Landing mats will be thicker because they are designed to cushion higher jumps, falls and landings. A good landing mat will be between 8″ to 11″ in thickness.
Most average-sized homes won’t have enough space to leave gymnastics equipment set up all of the time so a gymnastics mat will need to be stored somewhere when not in use. The great news is that there are lots of folding mats available as well as mats that can be rolled up when not in use.
How much are gymnastics mats?
Folding Panel mats range from $25 – $200.
Cartwheel mats are usually around $75.
Flexi-Roll Carpeted mats range from $100 – $1000 because they come in a big range of sizes.
Where can I buy a gymnastics mat for home?
If you are looking foFolr a gymnastics mat to use at home Amazon sells good quality mats of all types including folding mats and inclines.
Read my guide on where in the world different equipment is manufactured, especially if you are keen on equipment made in the USA. From experience, I would recommend any mats made by the following manufacturers:
What to use instead of a gymnastics mat?
There’s not much that can be used instead of a gymnastics mat.
Mats provide a safe cushion and anything less will pose of a risk of injury.
Beds, sofas, lawns and beaches are all used to practice gymnastics but nothing will be as safe or as comfortable as a gymnastics mat!
Can you get lice from gymnastics mats?
Lice tend to spread from head to head so it’s unlikely you will catch lice from a gymnastics mat, but it’s not impossible.
According to Lice Doctor, any shared equipment or furniture carries some risk of spreading lice. If you are using a gymnastics mat at home, the likelihood is that it will only be shared by close friends or family. In which case if a person has Lice they will be more likely to spread it from close contact like cuddling or playing rather than the mat.
Most gymnastics mats have plastic or vinyl covering which is super easy to clean.
Flexi-Roll mats are carpet-covered which makes them harder to clean. You can use a vacuum or carpet cleaner but if the carpet stays wet it will go damp and smell very quickly.
Can gymnastics mats get wet?
Carpet-covered mats like Flexi-Roll cannot get wet. The same goes for denim or cloth type covered mats.
Most folding mats, incline mats and landing mats can get wet without issue as they are covered in plastic or vinyl which can be dried easily. However, if water contacts the foam inside the mat it will cause damage.
The only gymnastics mats that can get wet for long periods of time are inflatable air mats as there is no foam inside.
Gymnastics mats shouldn’t be left outside as the materials will be designed mainly for inside use. Mold will quickly build up in wetter climates and damage the covers and foam inside the mat.
Can I use a yoga mat for gymnastics?
Yoga mats are too thin to perform most types of gymnastics. They will not cushion the impact of landings, meaning you can injure ankles and knees. A folding panel mat will have at least around 2″ of padding making it safer for rolling, cartwheels and similar basic gymnastics skills. A typical yoga mat will have less than 1″ of padding.
So a yoga mat can be used for warming up, stretching and practicing basic shapes but that’s about it.