Now saving money on rubber mat flooring isn't going to change your life, but it may let you get an extra tank of gas or a few dozen extra eggs. Maybe, just maybe, if you are lucky you can get both.
There are two ways to save money here.
First, we will look at the benefits of rubber mat flooring that ultimately save you money long term. Second, we will focus on how to save money and get the best value when making your flooring purchase.
Let's jump in.
What Are Rubber Mats?
This is probably pretty obvious. For the purpose of this article, we are talking about mats that are used for gym flooring. Typically, they come in large rectangular sections with the most common size being 4' x 6'. More often than not, they are black or black with speckles and look like a big floor tile. These gym mats come in different thicknesses, with the most common thicknesses being 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4". These mats can be used individually or can be connected with other mats to form a more cohesive floor.
Almost all gyms - commercial or home - are going to have specialized flooring. More often than not this is going to be some sort of rubber flooring, likely recycled rubber flooring. There are other types of flooring like carpet and turf, but for lifting weights rubber is the best general floor. For certain situations wood flooring (i.e. wooden platform for Olympic weightlifting) can be helpful, but for most people that isn't necessary.
There are quite a few different types of rubber flooring products - from rubber rolls to rubber floor tiles. Here's the full rundown on all things rubber flooring - How to Find Rubber Flooring for Your Gym.
Now that we covered that, let's look at some of the ways having rubber floor mats can save you money.
#1 Protect Floors
This is super important when it comes to why we even need rubber flooring in our gyms. There are heavy weights - yeah I'm looking at you big boy - and equipment being used and moved constantly.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to home gyms is the protection of the floor and foundation.
Could you get away with not protecting your floors? Potentially. This really comes down to what type of training you plan on doing in your gym. If you are doing bodyweight movements, using light weights, and have no plans of ever dropping or failing any reps - then maybe. Even then I think there are some strong arguments for rubber flooring that we will cover.
However, if your training style involves CrossFit, powerlifting, or Olympic lifting rubber flooring is very important. Especially with the overhead movements such as jerks and snatches, lifting without some sort of protection for your floors is not only not recommended, it's dangerous.
If certain precautions aren't taken you can end up with a cracked garage floor and let's just say that certainly won't save you any money.
So do your future self a favor and invest in your gym flooring.
#2 Personal Safety
Another cost-saving benefit you may not have considered is the added safety of rubber flooring. We all know a trip to the ER is not cheap or fun, so let's help prevent it. Okay, obviously that is a worst-case scenario and injuries can happen while doing anything, but rubber flooring is still certainly a safer option.
One of the biggest safety advantages of rubber is its slip-resistant nature. This can be especially important when performing dynamic lifts like jerks, snatches, and jumps. When performing these types of movements, you are using a lot of force and moving very quickly, so a small slip here could be a big deal. Obviously, with exercises like bicep curls and planks, this is not as big of a deal.
Rubber flooring is also going to be easier on your body. Because rubber mats are more giving than concrete, they are great for absorbing some of the impact of movements, especially dynamic movements. Rubber flooring mats are also great for a little extra comfort when performing floor-based exercises. Exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and floor press are more enjoyable on a rubber mat. Also, if you live in a region that gets pretty cold in the winter, you know that your concrete garage flooring is freezing come January. A nice plus is that rubber flooring is much better at maintaining a neutral temperature.
#3 The Ability To Move Your Floor
While rubber mats are in no way light, they can be moved around. This is a great value benefit if you are looking at rubber flooring but want to save some money.
One way to practically take full advantage of this is to purchase 1-3 rubber mats and set them up according to the training for the day. For instance, if you are doing clean and jerks, you probably want to set them up in an open area of your home gym, making sure the mats cover any part of the floor you may drop the barbell on.
This also gives you the option to lift outside on a beautiful day, if you have the space, without worrying about damaging your weight plates. This brings a whole new meaning to, "Suns out, guns out."
Obviously, this isn't the most convenient option long-term as you probably will get tired of moving the mats around, but if you don't mind a little extra work it can save you some money - just think of it as the first part of your warm-up.
Also, these mats are heavy enough that you shouldn't have to worry about them moving or sliding around.
Okay, let's now look at how to save some money when you are in the buying process.
#1 You Don't Have To Cover The Entire Floor
Rubber mats aren't super expensive, but they aren't cheap either. You are looking at somewhere between $50 and $150 per mat depending on size, width, and quality of rubber.
One really simple way to save money is to simply not cover your entire space.
If you are looking at flooring for a commercial gym, this may not be as good of an idea as it probably won't look right. However, for a garage or home gym floor, this is a great idea.
One of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest reason, to invest in rubber flooring is for the ability to lift heavy weights, drop barbells and dumbbells, and ultimately protect the flooring underneath the mats. So, for instance, if you are only using half of your garage as a gym there's no need to cover the other half - unless you just like the look.
Simply, choose the most effective spots to put your rubber mats. For example, if you are into powerlifting, I would be sure to have enough room on your mats to perform deadlifts. I'd also make sure there is a mat or two, depending on the size, underneath your power rack.
Another benefit of not covering your whole garage comes if you plan on parking your car in the garage. The benefit here is that when cars leak oil it can mess up your rubber flooring. Let's just say the oils and mats aren't gym buddies - you know, the kind who hit PRs and then go to Chipotle afterward.
#2 Consider Used Rubber Mat Flooring
Rubber flooring is very durable. A good floor mat can last many years and outlast all the many different phases of lifting you may go through.
One idea is to consider buying used rubber mat flooring.
Because of their long-lasting qualities, you won't be sacrificing very much and could get quite the value. Some options here for where to find used rubber flooring include:
A commercial gym that is closing or moving
A high school or college weight room undergoing flooring renovations
Your friend or neighbor who no longer uses their home gym and/or rubber flooring
All of these can be great options and can save you some serious money if you find the right opportunity.
#3 Horse Stall Mats
You may not have even known this was an option. Now, I know you have some pretty big quads, but I imagine a horse is just a little heavier than you.
These mats are essentially the same as rubber flooring mats used in gyms.
The biggest difference is probably just the "crude" nature of horse stall mats for flooring material. Sometimes, they aren't necessarily as precisely cut. However, they are normally cheaper and can be a great value option that can protect your floor, barbell, weight plates, and dumbells.
You can certainly find these online or at a local agri-supply store. These are often used as flooring for entire CrossFit gyms as well if that is something you are considering.
#4 Where To Buy?
Where should you go to get the best value? Of course, you can do a simple Google search and price compare that way. But, I have two options that I think you'll like.
Marketplace is an excellent place to find deals on all types of gym equipment. While you may not find rubber flooring mats on your first search, if you are consistent you will probably be surprised by what you find. You can even set up search alert notifications so you can be one of the first to know about a new listing. Whether someone sadly decided their home gym flooring wasn't working out or a local gym is getting rid of mats or even rubber rolls, this can be a great way to potentially find new or used rubber mats.
Freedom Fitness Equipment
We offer a wide selection of flooring options. From rubber rolls and rubber floor tiles to turf. We can supply you with your ideal flooring for your home gym, school weight room, or even multiple commercial gyms. Our products are high-quality and don't break the bank - after all, we know you need your eggs.
There you go. Hopefully, you are now ready to save a little money and protect your floors. Keep chasing your home gym and fitness goals!