Many people have stationary fitness equipment at home such as a cross-trainer, a treadmill or an exercise bike. We very well know the problem of exercise equipment rubbing on the floor. Ugly stains can appear on the carpet or on the parquet floor quickly. An ergometer, for example, has a relatively higher weight, just like other sports equipment. If you do not want to damage your expensive flooring or disturb your neighbors while performing your daily fitness routines, consider an equipment floor mat (also known as an underlay mat or floor protection mat or treadmill mat). Usually, these mats are offered along with the fitness equipment.
- 1 Why buy an equipment floor mat?
- 2 What models and variants are available?
- 3 Advantages of floor protection mats for equipment & weight training
- 4 What should you pay attention to when buying?
Why buy an equipment floor mat?
The equipment mat is specially designed for the use with stationary exercise equipment within your own home or gym. This means that the treadmill or ergometer can safely be placed inside your home on a wooden floor or carpet. Usually when the exercise machine is on the carpet, the pressure points will always remain visible. Because of the underlay mat, there are no stains and no pressure points. It is similar with parquet flooring, only here there are no pressure marks, but the equipment may leave scratches on the floor. The best way to protect the floor is therefore to use an underlay mat. These mats are available in different materials so they can protect floors, no matter if parquet, laminate or any other flooring.
Some exercise equipment mats are made of vinyl composites or PVC, and they have an insulating and also a protective effect. These mats are available in different sizes, and they can be transparent or colored. Many buyers prefer the transparent models, because they fit into almost every environment. Apart from the protective effect for a floor, the noise level can also be reduced, which will please the neighbors.
What models and variants are available?
Floor protection mats are available today in many designs for different uses. The thickness/strength is also usually very different and depends on the model. It ranges from about 0.3 cm for very thin models to about 1.5 cm for very thick and highly sound-absorbing models.
For the office, however, the underlay chair mats differ from the mats for fitness equipment in strength. The variant for the exercise machines is slightly thicker. Many manufacturers of sports equipment offer these mats. The mats are made of vinyl, plastic or rubber.
There are also puzzle mats and thicker multipurpose exercise mats that are made of a softer material (rubber or foam) and provide cushioning during various weight training exercises. In large areas this mat can be extended further by interlocking tiles.
The design choice depends on the personal taste of the user. The prices of these protective floor mats vary greatly. Therefore, you can buy underlay mats at low prices and there are also higher quality products that are expensive. The prices depend on the optical variety, the thickness and the requirements.
Advantages of floor protection mats for equipment & weight training
An underlay mat, regardless of the material, has many protective properties. The advantages lie in the floor’s protection, because here various fitness equipment is always causing damage.
Floor mats can also reduce the noise level considerably, because ergometers are always a point of contention with the neighbors.
We place these mats under the exercise equipment and they help immensely to protect the floor from scratches and damage. They also noticeably dampen the vibrations during training and the noises that occur when picking up and putting down weights such as barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells.
Anyone who has ever tried to train on an “unprotected” floor in his or her apartment with a weight bench will have trained attentively and put the barbell weights down carefully so that the floor does not suffer any damage.
This is exactly where modern floor protection mats come into play – their special construction allows for intensive fitness activities on exercise equipment.
Floor protection (protection against scratches, dents, damages)
Most equipment mats used in bodybuilding and weight training comprise rubber granules about 1cm thick. The pliable plastic material helps to protect the floor from scratches and damage during training. Equipment mats are relatively thinner but stiffer.
Another positive property is the slip resistance. Weight benches and cross-trainers move slightly from time to time during intensive training. They slide on unprotected floors (mostly unnoticed) with every training movement. A non-slip mat helps keep the equipment stationary.
Because of their structure and the (soft/yielding) composition of the material, floor mats can help to reduce noise levels during training. In particular, weight plates can be moved and placed on the floor with confidence.
Protection from dirt and sweat
It is also very practical that dirt (e.g. streaks from shoes, remains of protein shakes) and sweat are safely collected and do not reach the floor.
What should you pay attention to when buying?
To ensure that the floor protection mat harmonizes with the home furnishings and training equipment and that we can fully exploit its advantages and protective properties, take the following things into account when purchasing:
Buy a sufficiently large model!
To determine the optimal size, you need to know the exact dimensions of the (assembled) training device (if not yet assembled => look in the assembly instructions). The exerciser should not only fit the mat, but there should always be enough mat surface (approx. 30-50cm) to the left and right, and to the front and back.
Tip: If there is enough space in your home, buy another mat for the barbell rack and for the weights.
Buy a low-odor model!
Unfortunately, rubber mats have the disadvantage that they smell intensely and unpleasantly of “chemicals”. But nowadays there are also models that are very low-odor. Those who are sensitive in this respect and are bothered by unpleasant odors should look out for these special models or PVC models.
Make sure you have good cushioning and slip resistance!
When buying, always make sure that the floor protection mat is non slip and has a certain thickness/strength (at least approx. 1 cm). This thickness is usually the minimum required to cushion heavyweight benches, including dumbbell weights.
Also read our comprehensive guide to help you choose the optimal fitness and exercise mats.