Are your training mats too slippery? Not stable enough? Do they have odors, stains, and any other issues that throw off your training routine? There are many issues that athletes and competitors run into with their training mats. Sometimes it’s something they are (or aren’t) doing to maintain them, and sometimes it’s because they are using the wrong products. If you are running into any of these issues with your training mats, these are the best solutions.
My Training Mats Are Too Slippery!
Slippery mats can be a big issue in your training routine, especially for martial artists. Whether you’re training grappling and groundwork or stand-up and striking, your mats need some level of grip to help you remain stable while you train. Slippery martial arts mats can lead to injuries. In the best-case scenario, they simply make your training more complex, especially if you practice BJJ and are rolling no-gi.
There are a few causes of slippery martial arts training mats. First, they could simply be dirty. Human skin is greasy and sweaty, and this can rub off on your mats. You may be cleaning them, but not well enough. If your mats appear greasy and grimy, they likely need a deep clean using a professional gym scrubber.
The second common cause is that your training space is outfitted with the wrong type of mats. Inexpensive puzzle mats are known to be very slippery. If puzzle mats are your choice in training surfaces, invest in higher quality ones; it will make all the difference. Wrestling mats are also known to become extremely slippery, especially when covered in sweat. This is because shoes are supposed to be worn on them while training. If you are using wresting mats as a surface for grappling and groundwork training, there will be no way to escape the inevitable slips and falls. If grappling and groundwork are heavily involved in your training, invest in non-slip smooth surface training mats or mats with a tatami surface.
My Training Mats Smell!
While odors are common in any gym, your training mats shouldn’t have a lingering odor that lasts even after they are cleaned. If they do, they may be either too old or low quality, or you may not be using the right types of products to clean them. Low quality foam training mats have a porous surface that allows dirt and bacteria to penetrate the surface. This causes lingering odors that will not be washed away with normal cleaning, as the bacteria that causes them have penetrated the surface of the mats.
High quality training mats (like Zebra Mats) are surfaced and edged with a reinforced closed-cell vinyl that is durable, water resistant, and easy to clean. This vinyl is not only durable, it’s also non-porous, which prevents bacteria from getting under the surface.
When cleaning your mats, make sure to use a neutral disinfectant cleaner that cleans and disinfects, killing odor-causing bacteria. There are also protective coatings you can apply to your training mats and equipment (known as SportSense®). These products eliminate and prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungus, blocking the causes of odors at the source.
My Mats Keep Getting Damaged!
Damage to mats is no joke. They are a big investment for your gym, so you don’t want them wearing down quicker than they should. If you have rips and tears in your mats, it’s likely due to one of these reasons:
- You’re using weights or heavy equipment on them: avoid this as they can rip the outer vinyl layer of the mats.
- You’re allowing shoes on the mats: shoes can excessively wear down mats. They also can carry sharp debris on them that punctures the surface.
- They are improperly installed: make sure the subfloor beneath your mats is clean and clear of debris before installing your mats. Small objects can puncture the mats if they are left underneath the surface during installation.