Exercise mats are great as stand-alone exercise equipment. They can be used for low-intensity activities such as static bodyweight exercises like isometric push-ups and planks to high-intensity workout sessions. They can also be used for commercial or home gym use.
Exercise mats allow you to have a more comfortable workout by cushioning your knees, elbows, spine, and other body parts. In this article, we discuss the things you should consider before purchasing an exercise mat in our buying guide, fact-checked by fitness coach Michelle Estuar. To narrow down your options, we also made a list of our top exercise mat picks.
It is important to first differentiate a yoga mat from an exercise mat. There are misconceptions that an exercise mat is interchangeable with a yoga mat, but it is not. Exercise mats will vary depending on the exercises you will perform on them. Pilates workouts, for example, require a surface that your body can slide on.
Exercise mats have low friction and, therefore, a low to medium gripping surface. Bodyweight exercises, static or dynamic, your strength to maintain or execute the movement; this is what separates an exercise mat from a true yoga mat.
Yoga mats, on the other hand, are supposed to be sticky. The surface should have at least a medium grip to allow you to hold different yoga positions. This allows for a progressive and gradual change in your form.
Here are some key points to consider:
The exercises you plan on doing determine the size. Some might require a small area such as yoga or Pilates even bodyweight exercise like glute bridges and burpees. Smaller ones tend to be 180x61cm on average in size forming a rectangular shape, which is the most common size and shape for exercise mats.
Big ones, those that can have a 243x243cm in total size, are great for plyometrics, mixed martial arts, gymnastics, and crossfit-type movements. Big exercise mats are more often than not interlocking ones and, hence, are sold in packs.
There is a big difference in the usage of dense and soft mats. Dense mats are great for high-impact workouts with explosive movements, grappling movements for MMA, and flips for a gymnastics routine. High-density mats are great at absorbing shocks, reducing noise, and protecting the flooring.
Soft mats are great for people who like having a cushioned surface in performing ground-based movements. It might be a mobility stretching routine, pilates, or a simple plank—some people will want more padding than others. Whichever you prefer, make sure that it is thick enough to absorb shock that may damage your knees, ankles, neck, spine, or head.
The surface is the most important part of an exercise mat. You should consider how sticky you want your mat to be and how much grip it can give you. Most exercise mats will have a rubber base. The base can either be natural or synthetic, which are known for elasticity and flexibility. These provide great foundational padding.
Foam is the most common material for exercise mats. They can range from soft to firm. Polyurethane foam is a great top layer as it gives the best grip. It is moisture-wicking provides more grip as the surface gets more moist or wet.
Cork is a natural, wood material. It is lightweight and springy, plus it is able to resist bacteria and moisture. It gives a good grip, but it can easily wear and degrade over time since it is made from natural materials. Lastly, Thermoplastic elastomer is essentially synthetic rubber. It is tougher and more protective. Plus, it is moisture-resistant, which makes it more durable than other materials.
Exercise mats, generally, can be rolled, folded, or stacked. Bigger mats tend to be stacked. For smaller mats, they can have attached or detached straps, so you can carry them to and from places with ease.
This is why it is important for you to consider how much are you going to be moving around with your exercise mat. If you travel a lot with your mat, opt for a more compact one—a mat that is easily foldable or rollable.
If you plan, however, to keep the mat in your home gym, then you can opt for larger, preferably interlocking mats that do not need constant moving. When choosing the correct size and thickness, always consider when, where, and how often you will use it.
To give you a rundown, here are our top 5 picks you can buy online:
Extra Thick Exercise Mat
Yoga and Exercise Mat
Gym Outdoor Waterproof Rubber Mat
Non-Slip Sports Mat
Low Density Large Puzzle Mats
Extra Thick Gym Flooring
Cork Yoga Mat
Extra Large Shock-Absorbing Exercise Mat
Two-Side Mat for Grip or Slide
Folding Gymnastics Exercise Mat
Great for Newbies and Exercise Program Hoppers
Easy-to-Hang, Locally-Manufactured Exercise Mat
Heavy Duty Mat that Can Take on the Toughest Exercises
Thick Exercise Mat for Optimal Cushioning
Extra Large Mats for All Exercises
Thick, Interlocking Gym Flooring
Cork Yoga Mat for the Eco-Savvy
Extra Large Exercise Mat for the Athletes-in-Training
Environmentally Friendly Dual Surface Mat
A Thick yet Soft Exercise Mat
|Price Starts at||₱379||₱1,393||₱590||₱1,031||₱4,224||₱2,670||₱1,399||₱6,138||₱659||₱3,639|
|Size||180x60cm||180x61cm||50x50cm||185x80cm||1x1m||60x60cm||183x68cm||200x96cm||183x61cm||Folded Size: 60x60cm | Unfolded Size: 180X60cm|
|Thickness||10mm||8mm||2.5cm||113mm/1.3cm||2.5cm||1.2cm||5mm||8mm||6mm||PVC, EPE Foam|
|Material||NBR||TPE||Rubber||Synthetic Rubber - NBR||Rubber||Rubber||Cork and TPE||PVC||TPE||Folded: 15cm | Unfolded: 5cm|
The products we introduce below were carefully curated by the mybest team, from the best-sellers of E-commerce sites like Lazada, and using the points mentioned in our detailed and thoroughly researched buying guide.
Disclaimer: These products are recommendations made by our team at mybest Philippines. Our expert, Michelle Estuar, is not affiliated with, nor is she endorsing any of the brands we mention below.
*Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period*
To give you a rundown, here are our top 5 picks for the best Christmas hams you can buy online:
|Material||Synthetic Rubber - NBR|
|Material||Cork and TPE|
|Size||Folded Size: 60x60cm | Unfolded Size: 180X60cm|
|Thickness||PVC, EPE Foam|
|Material||Folded: 15cm | Unfolded: 5cm|
Check out our other product recommendations that may help you with your fitness journey!
Author: Petre Baliton
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
For expert-reviewed articles, we ask experts to check and review our buying guide to make sure there aren't any false, misleading, or outdated information. Our experts do not participate in choosing the recommendations, and they do not endorse any of the products we mention.
Cosmetics and skincare
PC and Cameras
Home Appliances and Electronics
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones
Investment and asset management
Credit cards and loans