Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to choose cheerleading mats for injury prevention

Considered a sport in itself to many, including some California lawmakers as of August 2015, Cheerleading is undoubtably an athletic activity. As with any athletic activity comes risk for injury. Cheerleading injuries while infrequent, can be some of the most severe. According to American Academy of Pediatrics, cheerleading accounted for 65 percent of all direct catastrophic injuries to high school girl athletes and nearly 71 percent of all college girl athletes between 1982 and 2009. The National Cheer Safety Foundation added that 93 percent of cheerleading injuries occur on hard surfaces.

With that being said, proper cheerleading flooring has come under more scrutiny in recent years. Fall height has become a primary factor in determining the type of flooring or mats that are most appropriate to be used for various cheerleading activities and performances.
Hard surfaces such as concrete or vinyl tile should be avoided at all costs as they offer little to no shock absorption, therefore increasing the risk for major injury. These types of surfaces are especially dangerous when performing stunts such as a pyramid or basket toss, which according to The American Journal of Sports Medicine (AMJSM) are the two most common cheerleading activities to result in catastrophic injuries.

A study of injuries sustained by 5- to 18-year-old cheerleaders, who were treated in U.S. emergency rooms between 1990 and 2002, revealed concussions and closed head injuries to be the most severe injuries.

Carpet bonded foam cheer mats
are often 6x42 feet in size.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine suggests mandating floor mats for complex stunts, and information in a 2009 report by the Journal of Athletic Training may just support that suggestion. Fourteen different surfaces were tested for critical heights in order to avoid serious head impact injury, and according to the report, the six worst surfaces for cheerleading (with a critical fall height of 2 feet or less) were concrete, vinyl tile, carpet, asphalt, rubberized track and dry dirt. Foam floors, grass, artificial turf and wood gym floors occupied the mid range with 3-4.5 foot critical heights. Landing mats and spring floors significantly reduced the risk of serious head injuries from falls of six feet or greater. The top performing surface was the spring floor, which had a critical height of 11 feet. Landing mats over top of a foam floor was close behind with a 10.5 foot critical height.

Tatami textured martial arts mats
have begun to enter the world of
cheerleading as an affordable and
portable training surface.
In an effort to train safely on affordable and portable training cheer flooring, many cheerleaders and cheer coaches have begun using tatami textured foam puzzle mats, originally designed for martial arts training. Some of these puzzle mats, such as the 1 5/8-inch thick Grappling MMA Mats from Greatmats have a fall-height rating of 4 feet by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Carpet bonded foam mats typically come in 1 3/8 inch or 2 inch thicknesses and are 6x42 feet in dimension. This size lends to quick and easy setups as seven mats of this size, connected side to side will create a competition sized cheer floor. Home cheer floors are also available in more convenient and portable sizes of 4x6 or 5x10 feet mats.

Vinyl covered folding gym mats, ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 inches thick ,are commonly used for training exercises. When unfolded, these mats commonly range from 4x6 to 6x10 feet in size.

Competition landing mats are
12-20 cm thick and  6x12 to 8x18 feet
in dimension.
Cheerleading related falls have been reported from up to 20 feet. Stunts resulting in these kinds of heights should only be performed over a landing mat over a foam floor or a spring floor. Competition landing mats are 12-20 cm thick and are most often 6x12 feet to 8x18 feet in size and covered with a matte-textured vinyl. Spring floors are typically made of plywood, springs or foam blocks, and carpet-bonded foam strips.

When properly used, these types of cheer floors will help prevent serious head injuries. As is the case with any athletic activity, other type of injuries, such as wrist fractures and arm fractures, however, may still occur.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

50-year dog training veteran gets most out of dog agility mats

Ed Frawley has more than 50 years of experience training dogs and co owns the largest dog training content website on the internet. He's not one to sit back and stay quiet when he sees something he doesn't like as he's made a living out of correcting behavior in dogs and their trainers. Even this outspoken dog training specialist has nothing but good things to say about Greatmats Dog Agility Mats.
“There is nothing I don't like about them,” Ed said after nearly five years of using the foam interlocking tiles in his Menomonie, Wisconsin, training facility.
A progressive entrepreneur, Ed co-owns, Leerburg Enterprises, Inc. with his son, Jeff, and Cindy Rhodes. Leerburg has been creating videos on how to train dogs since 1982 and currently offers more than 550 free streaming videos and more than 930 Dog Training Videos on Demand. Its video subjects include all ranges of obedience training, police and military dog training, breeding, bite work, behavioral problems and dog sports, among others.
Click here to view a Leerbug video produced in its training center equipped with Greatmats Dog Agility mats.  
Leerburg has been using Greatmats Dog Agility Mats in its Menomonie, WI, location for nearly five years and still recommends this flooring to other dog trainers for indoor facilities.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Celebrate Back to School Athletics with a $100 discount on flooring

One of the most anticipated parts of heading back to school in many parts of the United States is the beginning of the fall sports season. Whether its football, volleyball, cross country or anything in between, Greatmats can help you train with the comfort and safety of high quality and stylish athletic flooring.
Two things all athletes share is the need for strength training and aerobics. While some activities may require a more concentrated effort on one than the other, the combination is essential for creating a well balanced, healthy and high performing athlete.
Schools and training facilities that best serve their student-athletes and clients provide a quality training surface for their pupils and take the proper measures to ensure those surfaces will last for years to come.
In honor of the back to school season, Greatmats is holding a Back-to-School Athletic Flooring sale on weight room flooring, gym floor covers, cheer mats, folding gym mats, gym wall pads and dance floors. For any order of these items totaling $2,000 or more before Oct. 15, 2015, Greatmats will take $100 off the purchase price.

While the vast majority of Greatmats' dozens of weight room flooring options are made of durable 100 percent recycled rubber, it also offers foam options that will add greater cushion and comfort. Among the weight room flooring possibilities are straight and interlocking tiles, large mats and rolled flooring options.

Protect your expensive hardwood gym floors with gym floor covers from Greatmats. Available in large roll out vinyl sheets or large carpet tiles, these floor coverings will ensure your gym flooring will not suffer the unintended abuse associated with using the multipurpose facility for non-sporting events such as school dances, banquets and ceremonies.

Ensure your school spirit by protecting its biggest advocates. Greatmats cheer mats are designed for high school, university and professional practices and competitions. Providing a non-slip surface, fatigue relief and shock absorption, these mats help ensure your cheer squad (and their spectators) will get the most out of the cheerleading experience.

Folding gym mats can be some of the most valuable accessories to any training program, portable, easily stored and easily installed, these mats are ideal provide an added level of safety and versatility in nearly all training environments.

Ramp up the safety features for your most precious assets with gym wall padding, made in the USA of top quality materials. In addition to defending against injuries, wall pads are also a great place to showcase your school spirit with the ability to add a graphics of your logo or mascot.

Greatmats offers are large variety of vinyl, foam and plastic dance floor options. Available in large rolls, cut lengths and modular tiles, it's easy to find the right flooring for permanent and temporary uses, all with easy installation. Sprung and rubber dance subflooring is also available.

Call our customer service team 877-822-6622 for more information on the sale or products.
A Wisconsin-based specialty flooring company since 1999, Greatmats operates using the Golden Rule of customer service, leading it to a A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau and a 9.5 Trust Pilot rating. Greatmats offers professional customer service and quality products with the best pricing online, backed by a price match guarantee. Our national flooring experts will ensure you find the perfect athletic flooring for your needs.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Seniors stay in motion at Eau Claire senior center

What better way is there to maintain or regain your youthful vigor than to keep your body moving? The folks at L.E. Phillips Senior Center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, have fully adopted that philosophy. Among the numerous activities for its more than 2,000 members ages “50 and better,”  are approximately a dozen fitness classes which take place on Walnut patterned Max Tile Raised Floor Tiles. The not-for-profit senior center, now in its 18th year at its current location on Bellinger Street, purchased the vinyl wood laminate flooring tiles from Milltown, Wisconsin-based specialty flooring company Greatmats in December of 2010. Four and a half years later, Executive Director Mary Pica-Anderson is still thrilled with the decision.
“The floor was easy to put together,” Mary said. “My husband and I did it. It cleans exceptionally well and has held up to all kinds of usage (five classes per day plus large group lectures as needed) and still looks great!”
Underneath the modular, interlocking raised tiles is a 3mm rubber floor underlayment, also acquired from Greatmats. The rubber underlayment adds much-needed cushion and sound buffering qualities, that make it a perfect multipurpose fit for the center.
Among the fitness classes offered at L.E. Phillips Senior Center are Chair Yoga, Circuit Training, Jazzercise, Pilates, Reflexology, Walking, Strength Training and Tai Chi. Through quality programs and flooring, this Wisconsin facility is set to meet the needs of its community for years to come.
View a video of the floor in action at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx9fhbN5dP0
L.E. Phillips Senior Center has found Max Tile raised floor tiles over a 3 mm rubber floor underlayment to be a welcome addition to its facility over the last 4.5 years. It uses the flooring for 5 classes per day and it still looks great!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The ultimate man cave for man's best friend

By Brett Hart
What's in a man cave? For Wheeler, Wisconsin, resident Steve Powell, it's an indoor area with a padded floor where he can train his sport dogs. “Everybody's got a yard,” Steve said. “I thought it would be cool to have somewhere we could come out to (train in a consistent environment).”
Pursuing his vision, Powell converted the back half of his pole shed into an approximately 900 square foot insulated training area, complete heat and ceiling fans. And after a lot of online research and discussions with others in the dog training business, Powell came to a Facebook page for Greatmats, a Wisconsin based specialty flooring company, where he found his ultimate man cave accessory – interlocking foam dog agility mats. Aside from getting recommendations from reputable trainers, what attracted Powell to the interlocking dog agility tiles was the comfort value for both him and his dogs – the cushion, the non-slip surface and the fact that the tiles are double sided and reversible.
“We do jumping. We do obedience, bite work - a little bit of everything. I needed something that the dogs could land on, and it wouldn't hurt their legs,” Steve said, noting that his man cave wasn't just for training purposes. “Sometimes we come out here just to play around.”
After nearly two years of using his rural private facility, Steve can't help but rave about his decision to build this place of fun and relaxation with Greatmats dog agility flooring.
“It hold up extremely well,” Steve said, adding that he hasn't even come close to utilizing the double-sided feature yet. “There are very little scratches on the floor. It was easy to put in. … I am totally happy with the product, and I don't know anybody else who wouldn't be.”
View a video of Steve's man cave in use at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9J80OW5g34
Steve Powell turned the back half of this pole shed into a dog training man cave complete with cushioned and thermal resistant dog agility mats from Greatmats. After two years of use, the flooring performs the same now as the day it was installed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Therapy and fitness center protects customers and investment

Greatmats rolled rubber flooring helps protect the floor below and adds
sound buffering qualities to this free weight area at
Dunamis Therapy and Fitness.
By Brett Hart
When Dunamis Therapy and Fitness to opened its fourth facility in Augusta, Wisconsin, in December of 2014, the unique 24/7 fitness center with a connected outpatient physical therapy clinic wanted to make sure it had all its bases covered.
“Most physical therapy clinics don't have the option of having a 24/7 fitness center,” said Office Manager Trina Lindner. “We can work on patients and then they can continue their therapy (including aquatic therapy) on their own outside of their therapy visits.”
With concrete flooring throughout the building, sound travel was an area of concern – especially in the free weight area where the noise of clanging steel can aggravate even the most seasoned fitness veterans.
Certified Nursing Assistant and aspiring physical trainer
Sara Goss works out on Greatmats rubber flooring at
Dunamis Therapy and Fitness in Augusta, Wisconsin.
To solve this problem, Dunamis Therapy and Fitness opted to install 3/8 inch thick Greatmats rubber flooring rolls in its 24 x 25 foot free weight area.
“We have a long narrow building, so the noise travels far and fast,” Trina said. “It takes away some of that noise.”
Trina pointed out that Greatmats' rubber matting also protects the concrete floors from dropped weights. An added benefit of the rubber floor covering is its ease of cleaning, especially during the vacuuming process. Mopping can be a little more difficult due to its non-slip surface.
Dunamis Therapy and Fitness, founded in 2003, has three other locations in western Wisconsin, including Chetek, Thorp and Eau Claire, and an Altoona facility is in the works. Greatmats rubber flooring was also installed in the Thorp facility around the same time as the Augusta center and has had the same result.
“It doesn't move, and it's comfortable,” Trina said.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Show me to the weight room floor... And don't forget the rubber!

Rubber has been widely accepted as the go-to material for commercial gym and home weight room flooring for many years. But
who knew there would be so many options for rubber flooring? And how do you know which to choose?

One of the first things to consider when choosing flooring for a weight room is how much traffic/abuse it will need to take. If your weight training facility will be used for competitive athletic teams, such as a college or pro football team, it will need to be thicker and much more durable that those used in most home gyms or senior centers.

Rubber has built a reputation for protecting the subfloor, reducing vibration and cutting noise from machines and free weights. It can handle heavy equipment and foot traffic. Rubber floors extremely durable, easy to clean, often made from recycled tires and is recyclable again at the end of its life.
Rolled Rubber
The thickness of your rubber flooring is where you are going to find the biggest differences in durability, generally speaking. A 1/4 to 3/8 inch rubber floor will suffice for light to moderate use while heavily-used areas will require a thicker rubber surface match that lifespan. In areas where weights will be dropped, 1/2 to 1.5 inch rubber flooring may be required to handle the impact without damaging the subfloor. Although many thicker rubber floors can greatly outlast a 15-year warranty, kettlebells, hex head dumbbells and heavily-loaded barbells are especially punishing to any flooring surface when dropped and will take its toll on even the best rubber floors eventually.

Rolled rubber is the cheapest rubber weight room flooring option for large areas and it leaves the fewest seams. However, due to the nature of its size and weight (often coming in 25-50 foot long rolls), installation can be cumbersome without help, and thickness is limited – generally to ½

Rubber Floor Mats
Rubber floor mats, often sold in 4x6 foot sizes, offer another economical option with the capability of a slightly thicker surface. Rubber floor mats often range for 3/8 to ¾ inch thicknesses. While heavy and generally stable, these straight edge mats can separate from each other over time, especially when covering a large surface area. They are often used as supplemental padding in areas where weights will be dropped.

Interlocking Puzzle Mats
Interlocking, puzzle-style tiles offer convenient installation and a tight, durable fit without shifting. They are often for smaller rooms due to the much higher cost per square foot. The smaller 2 to 4 foot tiles (¼ to 3/4 inch thick) are easier to manage, especially if installed by a single person.

For cardio areas, where shock absorption is less of an issue, thinner rubber flooring will suffice just fine. Some gym-goers prefer the feel and warmth of carpeting in cardio areas, but be careful as cleaning can become an issue as stains and bacteria are hard to remove from most carpeted surfaces.

Foam and plastic materials can also be used for weight room flooring. Like carpeting, however, great care should be taken when or if you decide to use these materials. Foam will indent under heavy objects, so proper weight dispersement is a necessity. Plastic flooring such as StayLock tiles are rugged enough to handle heavy weight equipment and offers cushioning similar to foam, but typically carries shorter-term warranties than rubber weight room flooring.

Whether you are a gym rat, fitness buff or someone just looking drop a few pounds, there is weight room flooring out there to fit your needs. Most likely, it will be some form of rubber.