If you’re into weight lifting, martial arts, or any other exercise routines, you’ll need the proper padding for your workout spot to reduce any potential injuries. Picking the right mat can be a daunting task given the wide variety of materials, finishes, and designs available to choose from.
Some mats are better than others when it comes to specific use cases, and we’re here to break down all such differences for you to help you land on the most suitable picks for your space.
What Is an Interlocking Jigsaw Mat?
Interlocking Jigsaw mats are designed to interlock with one another just like pieces of a puzzle, making the DIY installation process a breeze. All you need to do is carefully measure the dimensions of your workout area to get the right number of jigsaw mats accordingly.
You can always add 10 to 20% on top of your estimate, just to be on the safe side. Getting extra jigsaw mats won’t go to waste, as it’s always good to have some spare parts to replace any damaged jigsaws down the line.
Also, make sure that the surface on which the jigsaw mats are meant to be installed is smooth. Any bumps or irregularities will get in the way of getting the mats to interlock with one another correctly.
What Is a Tatami Jigsaw Mat?
If you grew up on Samurai movies, you probably remember the Tatami mats found inside the traditional Japanese homes. These mats do a great job regulating interior temperature and humidity, making them perfect for different climates.
The Tatami jigsaw mats are made of top and bottom layers of Japanese rush grass that is interwoven in a fashion that boosts the mat’s sturdiness and durability. Inside the Tatami jigsaw mat is a layer of dried rice straw that gives the mat its defined form and thickness.
Finally, the mat comes with a fabric border that brings all such layers together and helps different Tatami jigsaw blocks to come together and create a moisture-resistant seal.
Tatami jigsaw mats fit nicely in different parts of the house thanks to their decorative aesthetics and temperature regulatory features. They’re also ideal for people who practice yoga, as they’re comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time.
What Is a Wacoku Mat?
Next up are Wacoku mats. These mats are made of rubber and different polymers that strike just the right balance between surface toughness and the overall mat flexibility. The distinctive feature of Wacoku mats, though, is their unique textured finish.
Such mats come with special surface patterns like star-circle or square finishes, which enhances the mat’s grip significantly. This makes them perfect for different stand-up activities, ranging from weight lifting to martial art sports.
The non-slip texture improves your grip while performing fast-paced moves, in addition to boosting your balance, so you don’t run into any injuries during your workout.
Jigsaw Floor Mat Thickness
The key factor that goes into choosing the right jigsaw floor mat thickness is the nature of the activity you’re getting your gym mats for. The floor mat thickness can impact its durability, toughness, and critical fall height.
You can find different jigsaw mats in 2, 3, and 4 cm variants. For sports that just require a firm, sturdy surface on which you’ll be mostly performing standing activities, a thickness of 2 or 3 cm is the way to go.
On the other hand, standing activities that come with a risk for frequent falls can make better use of 3 or 4 cm MMA jigsaw floor mats. Taekwondo, Karate, and kickboxing are a few examples of sports that require thicker mats.
Finally, some martial art sports like Jiu-Jitsu and Judo involve over the shoulder throws, which require even more padding to break down the falls and minimize the risk of serious injuries. A 4 cm mat thickness is the obvious choice for such sort of activities.
Which Jigsaw Mat Is Right for Me?
By now, you should have a solid idea about what to look for when picking a jigsaw mat. Versatility and flexible installations are the key features that add more value to your purchase.
If you want to transfer your workout spot from one area to another inside your house, you can just take the jigsaw mat apart and re-install the puzzle parts in the new location with no hassles.
Furthermore, jigsaw mats also come in pieces with different shapes, which makes planning your mat set up for irregularly-shaped corners less tricky. No matter the purpose for which you’re getting the jigsaw mats, having such convenient features improve your experience significantly.
Different mat materials can also impact your purchase decision. Tatami mats made of Japanese rush grass are perfect for yoga, thanks to their temperature insulating features and added comfort.
On the other hand, textured jigsaw mats are designed with standing activities in mind. They enhance the grip between your feet and the floor, allowing you to pull off complex moves while maintaining your balance.
The mat thickness is the one final part of the equation that can nudge you to go in one direction or another. Here, you’re basically choosing between toughness and flexibility. Sports that involve throws and frequent falls need the extra padding you get from thicker jigsaw mats, while slimmer mats can be just enough for simple standing activities.
What to Look for in a Gymnastic Crash Mat?
We’ll wrap up our guide with gymnastic crash mats. Such mats are made of a bulky layer of foam that can be as thick as 30 to 45 cm. Gymnastics players are the ones who mostly use crash mats as they train for their complex air flips and jumps.
You need to pick a crash mat with a durable outer cover like leather or polymers so it doesn’t break easily on multiple landings. Furthermore, having a zipper that gives way to the inner foam layer is an added benefit, allowing you to clean the foam or replace it down the line.