Whether you’re struggling to do sit-ups without hurting your back or yoga poses without hurting your knees, hardwood floors aren’t the most inviting surfaces to work out on. In addition, the flooring itself can become damaged quite easily.
So, what’s the solution? Well, you’re in need of a good exercise mat – one that’s best suited for use on hardwood floors. And, that’s where we come in.
In this article we’ll take you through the top 5 best exercise mats for hardwood floors. These hand-picked options will help cushion your body through all kinds of routines, no matter whether you’re doing the most advanced plyometrics or just some simple stretches.
Top Exercise Mat for Hardwood At a Glance
Best Exercise Mat
for Hardwood Floors Overall
Gorilla Mats are known for being incredibly durable and versatile. They come with special circular-shaped bottom grips to keep it in place, even if you’re working out with your body at an angled position like you might with a suspension trainer (e.g., TRX). The eco-friendly, large mat protects floors and joints so you can jump around and use weights without worrying about damaging anything.
Next Best Option
for Hardwood Floors
Drawing similarities to the Gorilla Mats, the Gxmmat Exercise Mats are large enough for you to do any kind of workout you’d like. Perform cardio, plyometrics, dancing, yoga and more without feeling restrained by the size of the mat. While these mats are not as high quality as the Gorilla Mats, they are a more budget friendly option.
Best Budget Exercise Mat
for Hardwood Floors
If you’re trying to save some cash but still need quality, then the BalanceFrom GoYoga+ Exercise Mat may be the one for you. Coming with a mat and knee pad, the double-sided model is one of the most versatile. It even includes a carrying strap and 2-year warranty to give you portable convenience.
The 5 Best Exercise Mats for Hardwood Floors
|Gorilla Mats Exercise Mat||
|Gxmmat Extra Thick Exercise Mats||
|BalanceFrom GoYoga+ Exercise Mat||
|Incline Fit Extra Thick Exercise Mat||
|IncStores 1” MMA Interlocking Foam Tiles||
|Gorilla Mats Exercise Mat|
|Gxmmat Extra Thick Exercise Mats|
|BalanceFrom GoYoga+ Exercise Mat|
|Incline Fit Extra Thick Exercise Mat|
|IncStores 1” MMA Interlocking Foam Tiles|
If you don’t have a problem spending a little more money up front, we can’t recommend the Gorilla Exercise Mat enough. Known for their unwavering quality and durability, it’s practically guaranteed to last years longer than less expensive options, essentially paying for itself.
Thanks to its large 10’ x 4’ size, there are no limits to the kind of exercise you can perform on it. Gymnastics, aerobics, Zumba, compound weightlifting, p90x and more can be done freely! The large size and sharp aesthetic also help to create an “official-looking” home gym.
Coming in your choice of three solid colors, you can choose from either Black, Midnight Blue, or Silverback Gray.
You’ll notice immediately that this mat is relatively thin in comparison to many other hardwood floor mats, but the high-density material it’s composed of will keep your bones and joints well-protected. Your nice hardwood floors will also stay in pristine condition even as you go all out while exercising.
The non-slip performance top is made to provide you with the traction you need no matter how you move while working out. Injuries due to slipping are not a concern! Gorilla’s unique circle-pattern bottom grips will keep it sturdy during side lunges, jump squats and more!
- Eco-friendly, durable construction
- Includes microfiber towel, two Velcro straps
- Comes in 3 different colors
- Non-slip top and bottom
The Not So Good
- A bit more expensive than most
If Gorilla Mats caught your eye but you aren’t in the position to spend that much, then we have another great option for you: the Gxmmat Extra Thick Exercise Mats. They’re just a bit smaller than the Gorilla Mats but are much more affordable. While the former is more of an investment, the Gxmmat is a quick buy that is perfect if you need something right away or are just getting into exercising.
Made of non-toxic materials, you can use it worry-free in a household with children and pets. Perform yoga, Pilates, stretch, foam roll, do p90x, TRX and just about anything else you desire! Plus, the mat comes in a good size for a variety of different exercises!
Coming in either Black or Pink, you can opt for the traditional dark look or really add a splash of color to your home gym or room with the unique Pink! We recommend this model to be used shoe-free only as the mat isn’t as resistant to tearing as some other mats, which is important to note.
However, it is nice and thick to adequately protect your joints and the flooring below. With a double-sided, no-skid surface you can go through your routine with complete confidence as well. If you’re concerned about getting your money’s worth out of this mat: don’t worry, the mat also comes with a lifetime guarantee!
- Nice and thick material
- Very affordable
- Non-toxic materials
- Cushy and protects joints and flooring
The Not So Good
- Not as durable as other mats
- Only to be used without shoes
If you’re after a slightly smaller mat and a slightly lower price tag, but still want high quality: Take a good look at the BalanceFrom GoYoga+ Exercise Mat. Given how functional this mat is, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular mats on the market.
Coming in an array of different shades, you can choose which color works best with your personality or décor: Gray, Black, Blue, Green, Pink, Red, and Purple. It also makes the mat easier to spot if you’re going to be using it in a public area like the park.
The GoYoga+ doesn’t just come with the exercise mat, but an extra knee pad as well! This works great if you need a bit extra room to place your hands, if you want to double the thickness of the mat, and more. The possibilities really are endless.
The ½” thick, high-density foam is extra cushy, grippy, and provides a great amount of protection for your spine, hips, hands, and more while keeping your floors in their best shape. Finally, when you’re finished, use the free Velcro straps, roll it up, and be on your way!
- Stays in place, even on slippery surfaces
- Very versatile – includes knee pad
- Water-resistant and easy to clean
- Cushy and protective
The Not So Good
- Slightly smaller than others on our guide
While most of the best workout mats for hardwood flooring fold up, not all of them are easy to transport. They unroll or they just don’t lay flat after being stored for a while. The Incline Fit Extra Thick Exercise Mat is quite the opposite, which is just one reason among many why it’s a crowd favorite.
At first glance, you can see that it’s also one of the most visually attractive mats out there, coming in a range of colors like Elephant Gray, Midnight Blue, Onyx, and Seafoam. These mats aren’t just decorative though. They also boast high comfort and durability!
The moisture-resistant, ribbed texture will keep you firmly planted, no matter what kind of floor work you’re doing. Offering the perfect balance between cushy-ness and firmness, it will offer your joints and floor protection while ensuring you don’t sink through to the hardwood.
The non-toxic mat is super lightweight and easy to clean, and even comes with convenient straps and a carry handle so you can take it wherever you feel like!
- Very lightweight and easy to transport
- Durable and soft foam construction
- Lays flat, even after being rolled up
- Beautiful color options
- Easy to clean
The Not So Good
- Not the biggest out there
If you’re on the hunt for something more permanent in your home gym, then you can’t go wrong with the IncStores 1” MMA Interlocking Foam Tiles. They’re perfect if you find yourself changing around the configuration of your gym as you can amplify the size of the mat or make it smaller at your will.
Coming in either a reversible Black/Grey or Blue/Red you can choose to have a more somber, serious look or a bright, fun one. Most do seem to prefer the Black/Grey however, as it shows shoe scuffs less easily and just has a “cleaner” appearance.
When we say that the sizing is versatile, we really mean it! You can choose between just 4 tiles, which would total to 36 square feet, all the way up to 25 tiles or 225 square feet! Made from non-recycled, non-toxic, high-density EVA foam, it can be used with or without shoes. The foam is some of the strongest out there, and also comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
We wouldn’t recommend the IncStores mat if you like the highly cushy, squishy mats. However, these will definitely protect your flooring from heavy weights, jumping, and more.
- Very thick padding provides excellent support
- Size and shape can be customized
- Very tough
- Works indoors and outdoors
- Protects floors better than any other
The Not So Good
- Not as comfortable
Should You Get a Workout Mat for Hardwood Floors?
Absolutely, if you’re serious about protecting your floors and your body while exercising! Without the proper exercise mat, you may end up slipping all over the place due to your mat not having the appropriate grip for these kinds of surfaces.
If you choose not to use a mat, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. Bones and joints can easily rub against the hardwood flooring and cause serious discomfort and even injury. Not only that but as hardwood flooring is typically laid over cement, you have next to zero impact absorption. Instead, your joints are going to take the bulk of it, which isn’t healthy. If you’re doing plyometrics or high-intensity workouts, then you really need a mat that can offer a balance of support and cushion so that you’re comfortable and well-protected.
In addition, you probably know how easy hardwood floors can become damaged. Even if you’re just jumping or running around you can seriously scuff your floors, or worse. When you add free weights (especially equipment like a CrossFit barbell and bumper plates), machines, and other equipment into it, that risk goes up greatly. For these reasons and more, you need an exercise mat for hardwood floors.
Choosing the Right Exercise Mat for Your Hardwood Floors
Selecting the perfect exercise mat for hardwood floors can be challenging if you’re not aware of the features you’ll need.
Broadly speaking, they’re thicker than yoga mats, and typically more able to withstand intense physical activity while you’re wearing shoes. A good mat for hardwood floors will also need to protect those lovely floors from scuffs and dents, which can happen easily when you’re doing high-intensity exercise, and particularly if you add weights and other equipment into the mix. Finally, your ideal exercise mat should stay in place the entire time you’re using it. It should prevent any slipping or accidents and allow you to exercise in whatever way you choose, without restraint.
Let’s look at things you’ll want to take into consideration in more detail:
First off, you’ll need to figure out the size of space you’ll be working out in, then determine the size of mat you’ll need. If you’re using it for stretching or light floor work, then smaller mats will be ideal for you. If you’re doing high-intensity exercise routines, then you’ll need a good amount of space so you can work out without any restrictions. For width, go for one at least 8-12 inches wider than the widest part of your body.
Thickness is arguably the main factor in determining how comfortable your exercise mat will be on top of how well you’ll be protected during exercise. Exercise mats that are ideal for your hardwood flooring should generally be dense and thick enough to ensure you have sufficient cushioning for the more vulnerable areas of your body – particularly your spine, knees, hips and ankles. Thinner models are more appropriate for low-intensity exercise while you will need more absorption and cushion for plyometrics or high-intensity cardio workouts.
This will vary based on how you’ll use your mat. Anyone with a dedicated home gym with machines and free weights (dumbbells and/or barbells with weight plates) are better off going with the interlocking foam or rubber tiles as these offer maximum protection for your precious flooring. If you want portability in your exercise mat, or you just prefer something smaller, then most of the others on our guide will be suitable. If you want a mat specifically for sit-ups, then you may want to look into a good abmat, which is specifically designed to engage your core and stabilize your spine during sit-ups and crunches.
Will you be wearing shoes while you use your exercise mat? Then you need a model that won’t rip or tear. The Gorilla Mats are the most durable out there, especially for how thin they are. The IncStores Tatami interlocking tiles are also incredibly tough (they’re among the best interlocking exercise mats you can get), though they’re built for more ground-based exercise (e.g., MMA and other martial arts training).
Frequently Asked Questions About Exercise Mats for Hardwood Floors
Are there any types of exercise mats that will damage hardwood floors?
Yes! There are some rubber mats that have a chemical in them that can actually ruin the finish on hardwood flooring. The good news is that the vast majority of rubber mats are completely fine to use on these floors, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Instead of rubber, you’re much better off going with an EVA foam exercise mat. Not only do these typically last longer, but they offer more support, cushion, and won’t damage your floors at all. As they’re made of completely non-toxic materials, they’re safe to use around children and pets, too! There are essentially zero downsides to opting for an EVA foam model instead of a rubber one. Plus, you’ll probably save a few bucks and never have to deal with weird smells.
Why can’t I just use a yoga mat for my hardwood floors?
Yoga mats are much thinner and don’t provide the support and cushion that you need while working out. Even stretching can be more pleasant when you have extra cushioning in your mat. Yoga mats are also made to be used without shoes. However, lots of other types of workouts necessitate footwear. If you’re lifting weights or doing high-intensity bodyweight circuits, for example, you absolutely want to be wearing shoes and so you want a mat that won’t be damaged by them.
Well, there you have it: The 5 best exercise mats for hardwood floors.
We’ve researched in and out to bring you the top models out there while offering some excellent budget selections. We made sure to give you an array of mats to suit your needs perfectly, no matter what kind of athlete you are or the lifestyle you live.
These mats will not only take your fitness to new levels but will keep your body feeling great and your floors in top condition. The only thing left now is to choose the one that suits you best!