The exercise mat is often the most under-appreciated piece of equipment in any home gym repertoire.
However, you just don’t realise how much this unsung hero can turn your routine around until you replace it with something better. The bad news is, the ones from the discount store isn’t going to take your workout to the next level.
A good exercise mat is designed to protect you from the floor, and the floor from you. They all vary slightly depending on the exercise they were made for, but all do the same job of not only preventing injury while lending support, but also preventing damage to the floor if you’re working with weights. Trust us, a massive chip on marble flooring isn’t a pretty sight.
Now that we’re confined to home workouts for a little while longer, quality exercise mats should be one of the most vital aspects of building your home gym, and an investment goes a long way in ensuring you have a safe and productive workout.
Here are some of the best exercise mats to break a sweat on today.
Designed in collaboration with international yoga teacher Kino MacGregor, Liforme’s yoga mat not only scores high in the grip department, but also keeps you properly aligned with markers — especially useful for new yogis looking to practice at home. The PVC-free, biodegradable mats are also a few inches longer and wider than regular yoga mats for more practising space, with an added felt portion between layers to lend extra cushioning for all your bony bits.
Exercise mats made with latex, TPE, or other synthetic materials can exacerbate skin sensitivities. Cork — although an unlikely material — is a stellar natural alternative which is environmentally- and allergy-safe, with antimicrobial properties that keeps away bacteria, mold, mildew, and funky smells in the long run. The extra-thick rubber padding also promises support, while its surface lends more grip the sweatier you get — all the more reason to push harder each time.
Some people treat each session like it’s the last workout of their lives, and that’s perfectly fine — unless you’re working with an exercise mat that doesn’t feel the same. Sportstech’s multi-functional exercise mat is designed to check all the boxes of a vigorous workout, from being highly durable and impact resistant for those who work with weights, to being anti-slip and joint-friendly for yogis. If you’re working with machines and devices, the mat absorbs noises and vibrations for a more peaceful and less intrusive workout.
Sure, people will stare but what better way to show off your asanas or planks than on this space blanket-esque mat. Made of quilted silver microfiber, the mat sees gummed trimming for added grip to prevent slipping, while providing a perfectly cushioned base for your workouts. It’s also surprisingly compact when rolled up; we’re just not sure how it’d fare under the hot afternoon sun.
Your passport might be tucked away for a couple more months but your imagination can still fly free with a little help from this mat. Designed in collaboration with illustrator Rosie Harbottle, this mat joins the Dreams of Marrakech collection to present a water-coloured Jardin Majorelle — Yves Saint Laurent’s very own garden — on its high-density cushioned surface. Sugarmats are also known for being anti-slip, so expect grip even when your hands are drenched with sweat.
Alo is well versed in yoga speak so expect its mat to check all the boxes for your practice, starting from its sleek matte-black facade. Besides being non-slip even when wet, the mat has a dry-wicking, antimicrobial surface that keeps things hygienic even when you’re soaking wet from a tough workout. A cushioned rubber backing keeps the mat in place while you leap, lunge, and everything in between.
We’re all about having options, more so if it’s an exercise mat that was created to be the best of both worlds. Besides having contrasting colours on each side, the mat also provides different textures on both — rough on one and smooth on the other, depending on your preferences. Both sides provide incredible traction, while also doing away with the “grab” to prevents you from sliding into positions comfortably. An antimicrobial additive also keeps mold and bacteria from taking over.