Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What Size of Gymnastic Mat Do I Need?

Guide to Choosing the Right Sized Gymnastics Mats

Greatmats gymnastics mats pink and purpleBy Paige Cerulli

If you're shopping for gymnastic mat options, then you'll quickly discover that gym mats are available in many different designs and sizes. When you're shopping for gym mats, you'll need to consider many different factors, including the mat's thickness, design and durability. But none of those factors will really matter if you choose a mat that's the incorrect size for your use.

So what size gymnastic mat do you really need? Here are some things to consider.

Your Intended Use for the Mat 

Greatmats cheer mats for tumbling
We offer many different gymnastics mats that are intended for different uses. The right size mat for you will partially depend on what you plan to use it for.

For instance, if you're looking for mats to support tumbling passes and floor exercises, then you will want to look for a mat that is narrower, but that's also longer. Our folding gym mats can be connected together thanks to hook and loop closures on their ends and sizes, so you can create these long lanes.

Roll out mats which are useful for both cheerleading and gymnastics can also provide the generous floor coverage that you need for floor exercises. These mats offer the added benefit of being easy to roll up and store away. They're available in a variety of sizes, so you can choose the dimensions that accommodate the type of activities that are most commonly done in your program.

Greatmats cheese incline wedge mats for gymnastics
For skills development, our incline wedge mats are ideal because of their versatility. These wedge mats can be used to train gymnasts in many different skills, but it's important that you have the mat that's the right size for the gymnast. If you're running a professional program, then you'll probably need wedge mats in a variety of different sizes to best accommodate the many different gymnasts that you will work with.

Octagon mats are type of mat that is used for skills development. The octagon mat works perfectly for training that involves forward rolls, walkovers, and back handsprings. When choosing an octagon mat size, a good rule of thumb is that each of the octagon tumbling mat sizes is designed for use by a specific age group and size of athlete. This starts at age 3, with the 15 by 24 inch or 20 by 28 inch size being the best option. This extends up to the 35 by 40 inch and 40 by 40 inch sizes to be used by athletes over 50 inches tall. The 25 by 30 inch mats work well for athletes between 5 and 8 years of age, while the 30 by 36 inch size is best for students less than 50 inches in height. 
Greatmats fluffy denim landing mat for gymnastics
Gymnastics crash mats and competition landing mats are available in a variety of sizes from Our competition landing mats have a range of sizes from 6x12 to 8x15.5 feet. Skill cushion mats are available from 4x6 to 7x14 feet. These mats are generously sized to provide a soft and safe landing, while still being of a manageable size so that you can move them around your facility if needed. Some landing mats have a single-fold, bi-fold, or quad-fold design to make storage and transportation easier.

When it comes to wall protection mats, larger is generally better. Larger mats provide more coverage, meaning you need fewer mats in order to minimize the potential injury athletes may sustain if they collide with your gym walls. 


Greatmats gymnastics octagon mats
It's so important to purchase gym mats that are thick enough for their intended purpose. Thinner mats don't offer the same shock absorption and cushion that thicker mats do. Most gymnastics mats are 1.5 to 2 inches thick. Roll out carpet topped mats are usually 1-3/8 to 2 inches. These mats are great for tumbling and floor exercises. They are a common option for home gymnastics practice.

For higher-impact activities, a mat absolutely needs to be thicker than normal. For instance, gymnastics skill cushion mats or crash pads are specifically designed to offer superior shock absorption, and are typically are between 4 to 18 inches thick depending upon your needs. 4-inch crash mats are typically used for preschool and toddlers learning gymnastics. The 8-inch gymnastics skill cushion mats are the most common option for gymnastics and tumbling programs. They provide great versatility for different events and skills training. For additional protection, we have 12-inch and 18-inch cushion mats where a soft landing is a must during the initial learning phase to reduce the possibility of injury.

The Size of the Gymnast 

If you're purchasing gymnastics crash mats or folding gymnastics mats for a young child, then you won't need products that are as large as the mats you would need for teenage gymnasts. A folding mat can be smaller for a child while still leaving them with plenty of space. Teenaged and adult gymnasts will need larger mats in order to provide them with an adequate area to train on.

Greatmats gymnastics octagon matsThere are some advantages to being able to purchase smaller mats for children. You may save money on your initial purchase, and smaller mats take up less storage space. These qualities mean that these smaller mats may be particularly appealing to parents buying the mats for their kids to use in their homes.

Keep in mind, though, that folding gymnastics mats are an investment. If your child will be involved in gymnastics for years, then it may be worth it to purchase a larger mat now, rather than to purchase a smaller mat only to have to upgrade in size in a few years' time. At Greatmats, we offer top-quality gym mat options, so these mats are capable of lasting for years and years, especially when purchased for home use.

If you have a training facility where you see multiple gymnasts or gymnasts of varying age, then it's best to invest in larger mats which offer more versatility.

Options in How You Use the Mat 

Some mats can be used in a variety of ways, which gives you more options and a bit more flexibility, so their size isn't quite as important.

For instance, many of our folding gymnastics mat products can be connected together to create a larger, unified surface. These mats feature hook and loop connectors on either two or four of their sides. These connectors allow you to fit the mats together in different ways. By connecting the mats short end to short end, you can create long lanes that are suitable for tumbling practice. For a larger group practice, you can connect the mats' longer sides together to create a larger floor.

Incline wedge mats can also be used in a number of different ways. These multipurpose mats can be used to teach a variety of skills including the back walkover, cartwheel, dive roll, floor tumbling, forward roll, front walkover, handstand roll, transition training on bars, and uphill vaulting. Smaller mats can be stacked on top of larger mats to teach walkovers and other skills.

If you purchase a folding wedge mat, then you'll enjoy even more versatility. The smaller edge of the mat can be folded over the larger part of the mat, creating a rectangular or boxed-shaped mat that can be used for additional skills training and development.

Your Storage Space 

If you're purchasing items like folding mats or a gymnastics crash pad for a small facility, then storage can definitely be a concern. This is particularly true with mats intended for home use, too.

Obviously you'll need a place to store your mats when they're not in use. The amount of space that you have available may dictate the size of the mats that you can purchase. To overcome this obstacle, you may want to choose folding gymnastics mat options that can be folded up to save storage space. Large mats, like gymnastics crash mats, aren't as easy or compact to store.

Additional Considerations 

While you absolutely need to purchase a gymnastic mat that is the right size for your intended use, there are some other factors that you should also be sure to consider when deciding on the right mat for your needs.


Gymnastics mats are a major investment, and you want to purchase mats that are built to last. Look for mats made of quality materials, and that are designed to withstand the significant use they'll see in professional gyms and programs. From your gymnastics crash mats to your folding gym mats, you want to invest in products that are backed by manufacturers' warranties.


Greatmats Gymnastics Mats infographic
You'll always want to stay within your budget, and at Greatmats we offer a wide selection of gymnastics mats at affordable prices. We don't sacrifice quality for cost savings, though - our mats are made by top manufacturers and incorporate only quality materials. We've carefully selected a variety of mats that give everyone choices, from the parent looking for mats for their kids to use at home to the trainer with an elite, professional program who needs new mats.

Finding the Right Gymnastics Mat
Ready to purchase your gym mats? Please give our Customer Service Team a call. We would be happy to help you find the right mats for your needs, and can even help you to place custom orders for folding gymnastics mats.
For more on this topic please review our Gym Mats and Gymnastics Mats product page.

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