What is the Right Landing Mat Thickness for Your Martial Arts Training or Sports Practice?

What is the right thickness for my landing mats? It’s a common question we get when gym owners are looking to add these training aids to their routine. Also known as throw mats or crash pads, landing mats are ideal for everything from martial arts and MMA training to gymnastics and cheerleading practice. They are a great addition to a training surface, even if you already have a padded flooring surface like martial arts mats. With different thicknesses available—from 4” to 6”, 8”, and 12”—it’s only natural to ask which landing mat thickness is right for the type of training you do. 

There is no absolute answer, but we can give you some guidelines that will help you choose the right landing mat thickness for your gym. 

4” Landing Mats: For Light Landings and Training

4” landing mats add a small amount of protection to your training surface. They are ideal for standup martial arts and add extra protection while practicing jumping, spinning, and flying kicks. They can also be used for light gymnastics training and tumbling, particularly for children and young teenagers. Since they aren’t as thick as other throw mat options, they provide a stable and protective surface that does not feel encumbering. 

Use 4” throw mats with karate, taekwondo, muay thai, kickboxing, gymnastics, cheerleading, or for general play activities. 

6” Landing Mats: For Takedowns

6” landing mats are best used for training that involves tackles and takedowns. They are ideal for grappling-heavy disciplines like jiu jitsu, but can also be used for gymnastics, cheerleading, obstacle courses or ninja warrior training, depending on the height of the expected falls. These mats have a moderate thickness that provides ample protection for people being taken to the ground. 

Use 6” throw mats with BJJ, judo, wresting, law enforcement training, and other fitness and sports activities. 

8” Landing Mats: For Throws and Slams

8” landing mats are ideal for throws and grappling-heavy martial arts and MMA training. They provide a heavy level of protection for athletes who are being thrown or slammed (rather than tackled) to the ground. If you are consistently working on slams at your gym, these are the ideal mats for your practice. They are thick enough to withstand most types of martial arts training, as well as gymnastics and cheerleading training that could result in falls from several feet off the ground (i.e. balance beams or pyramids). 

Use 8” throw mats for MMA, judo, wresting, obstacle courses or ninja warrior training, cheerleading, gymnastics, or extreme sports. 

12” Landing Mats: The Highest Level of Protection

12” landing mats provide a full extra foot of padded protection for the most dangerous training activities. Most martial arts and MMA facilities won’t require this level of protection, but anyone involved in extreme sports or other fitness activities that involve falling from higher places (high bars, rings, ninja training obstacles, gymnastics pyramids, etc.) will be happy to have these landing mats below them for added protection. 

Use 12” landing mats for gymnastics, cheerleading, ninja training, and other extreme sports and activities.