these are the best you can buy RN, from £24.99

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  • Better doesn’t always mean more expensive.

    So, you’re on the hunt for gym mats but want to invest in an option that won’t slip all over the shop and fall apart within the year, too?

    Lucky for you, I’m a health editor who gets to test fit kit and gym equipment for a living and I’ve been putting gym mats through their paces for you. That’s right – every mat in this round-up has been tested, and I personally recommend them as the four best gym mats you can buy.

    Why gym mats, you ask? Because while many of you may have rushed back to the gym, there’s a whole army of others who now prefer the ease of a home workout.

    The pandemic saw all of our attitudes towards fitness shift and, while many were excited to get back to gym classes ASAP (I’ve never been more excited to head to a Barry’s), others stuck to the roll-out-of-bed comfort that sweating in your living room brings. Each to their own – all movement is movement, after all – but we can totally understand why you’d opt for a home session if you’re time or money poor (because FYI, home workouts are also largely free).

    Don’t miss my round-up of the best yoga mats, while you’re here, and keep scrolling for gym mats for high intensity interval training, weight training, stretching, and more.

    These are the only 4 gym mats worth your money

    Do note here: the below aren’t the interlocking gym mats you see in actual gyms or Crossfit boxes, rather the sort of gym mats perfect for Joe Wicks workouts or weight training at home.

    So how are they different to yoga mats? Short answer: some of them aren’t but the ones that do differ are slightly thicker and more cushioned to support your joints during any high-intensity jumps and so on.

    Best thick gym mat:

    Floor Mat – £24.99 | Decathlon
    Dimensions: 180 cm x 60 cm
    Thickness: 15 mm 
    If you want my honest opinion, this is one of the best gym mats out there. Sure, it’s not 100% slip-proof, but it’s so cushioned, it makes up for it. At 15 mm thick, I found it the perfect companion for both low and high intensity workouts. I’ve even used it as a camping mat… that’s how thick it is. Do note, though: I wouldn’t recommend it as a mat to carry to and from classes, for this same reason. Opt for a thinner, lighter option, instead.

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    Best cheap gym mat: 

    adidas Training Mat – £28.99 | Amazon
    Dimensions: 183 cm x 61 cm
    Thickness: 10 mm
    This adidas training mat is nowhere near as cushioned as the Decathlon option at just 10 mm thick, but has better grip and non-slip qualities for exercises like lunges, Bulgarian split squats, and so on. Thanks to its waterproof outer, it’s wipe clean, too, meaning I found that it stays cleaner for longer than other alternatives.

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    Best gym mat for weights: 

    Super Grip Yoga Mat – £65 | Sweaty Betty
    Dimensions: 183 cm x 62 cm
    Thickness: 4 mm 
    This is my go-to mat for home workouts – I’ve had it for a few years now and it’s just as grippy and cushioned as when I first got it. Sure, it’s designed for yoga, and sure, it’s just 4 mm thick – around a quarter of the thickness of the Decathlon mat – but I’ve always found it to be great for any workout, not just yoga, and super cushioned, too. Plus, there were no marks post-workout on this mat, unlike many of the other mats I tried.

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    Best Amazon gym mat: 

    Yogi Bare Paws Yoga Mat 4mm – £74.95 | Amazon
    Dimensions: 180 cm x 66 cm
    Thickness: 4 mm
    Last but by no means least, I’ve had a Yogi Bare mat since I met the founder Kat around five years ago while working at Women’s Health magazine. When they say the mat is “extreme non-slip,” they mean it – I’ve never slipped while using it – plus, they’re planet-friendly, too, and made from sustainable rubber. I love that the closed cell rubber used to make the mats is naturally  bacteria resistant, so it never  -and I mean never – gets smelly.

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    What to look for in a gym mat?

    1. Thickness

    This is what differentiates a gym mat from a yoga mat – with a gym mat, you’ll likely be after something that’ll cushion your landing and protect your joints for moves like star jumps, high knees and so on, whereas with a yoga mat, you’ll likely want something thinner but with better grip, like the Yogi Bear option above.

    That said, if your kind of workout is a yoga flow or Pilates routine, a yoga mat could work. Just workout what you prioritise, pre-buying.

    2. Grip

    While grip is most important for workouts like yoga where you’re flowing between yoga poses, there’s nothing more annoying than losing your footing mid plank and having to start all over again. We tested the above for their grip, too, as I believe all good gym and yoga mats should have a certain level of grip before you invest in them.

    3. Non-staining

    Lastly, no-one wants to buy a gym mat that’ll mark the second you put your dumbbell down on it, or that’ll stain if you sweat on it. The four above are easy to clean and have never marked, despite 2+ years of me dumping kettlebells, dumbbells, and other workout gear on them.

    Oversized gym t shirts, at the ready…

    Gym mats: A woman working out

    So, how are the products tested?

    Good question. As a health editor who runs marathons for fun, I personally test all of the sports bras, workout leggings, running shorts, and general fit kit that ends up in these round-ups.

    How can you trust that they actually work? Because I run marathons for run, have been in the industry for over six years, and have tried the lot in my time.

    With gym mats, the ones that made the edit had adequate cushioning, didn’t move mid-workout, and didn’t cost the earth, either. Spoiler alert: I don’t think something you stand on to workout should cost a bomb, and so do recommend the lower price point options (Decathlon and Adidas) if you’re on a tight budget.

    The above didn’t stain, get too sweaty or slip, all essentials when spending your hard-earned £££ on workout kit.

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