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The 10 Best Tumbling Mats  Nov 2018

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Your Guide To Buying a Tumbling Mat

By Yehudah Posnick

    Tumbling exercises are a discipline of their own, as well as an integral part of other gymnastics events, acrobatics, and even cheerleading. If you enjoy yoga, Pilates, or just stretching, you also may be interested in a tumbling mat. It’s not quite the same as an exercise mat, which would be exercises localized to just one small area or padding around a piece of gymnastics equipment. A tumbling mat is made to laid out lengthwise--some events in power tumbling can require a mat that is 25 meters long! But even for an amateur, a tumbling mat is more conducive for forward rolls, handstands, cartwheels, and roundoffs. Then there are more complicated flips, jumps, rolls, somersaults, and handsprings--all performed on an open floor. (This is as opposed to gymnastics, which will usually involve a piece of equipment, such as parallel bars, a pommel horse, or a vault.) You’ll find polyethylene tumbling mats, which are best to protect against sprains. Then there are polyurethane tumbling mats, which provide superior cushioning. And combination mats seek to combine the advantages of both materials.

    To help you make the right choice, we have put together this buying guide including everything you need to know about tumbling mats to make a good investment. It'll help you:

    • Choose the right type of tumbling mat,

    • See useful tips about that type of tumbling mat,    

    • Read reviews of different brands of tumbling mat, and what customers are saying,

    • Select the right brand of tumbling mat, and

    • Compare prices and find the best deals.

    We can classify tumbling mats by the type of foam from which they are made:

    • Polyethylene foam is made from a polymer where the molecules are "cross-linked"--this makes the mat more firm, and it bounces back into its original shape quickly. It is best for exercises where you land on your feet or hands. Since it gives you a firm footing, there is less chance of twisting your ankle or wrist. The "We Sell Mats" Gymnastics Tumbling Exercise Folding Martial Arts Mats are made from polyethylene foam.

    • Polyurethane foam is called "open-cell" foam (as opposed to "cross-linked"). Air can flow through the foam, making it softer and more able to absorb impact, like a "shock absorber". This is better for protecting against a fall. This is also called “polyfoam”, which is known for its rubbery consistency.

    • Combination: You can also find mats where the top layer is polyethylene, to prevent a sprained ankle or wrist, while the bottom layer is polyurethane, giving the mat springiness to cushion a fall. The Soozier PU Leather Gymnastics Tumbling/Martial Arts Folding Mat has a polyethylene core and a polyurethane cover.

    Based on all the consumers' reviews we've scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

    • Day-care center activities: A tumbling mat is not just for someone training for the Olympics. Many day-care centers can benefit from having tumbling mats, to give even young children the opportunity to expand their range of physical activities. They can also be employed in special education or physical therapy. Some tumbling mats are made noticeably thicker, for young children starting with tumbling. The SoftPlay Elementary Tumbling Mats are made with 1-1/8" soft polyurethane foam over a 1-3/8" thick layer of crosslink polyethylene foam. That 2.5” thickness makes the mat significantly safer and more comfortable.

    • Portability: Parents enjoy the portability of tumbling mats that fold up and are stored away easily. The Rising Loong Polar Aurora 4' x 10' folding gymnastics mat is 10 feet long, yet can be folded up and stacked away with ease. It also has handles on the outermost panels, so it can be carried away with ease.

    Based on all the consumers' reviews we've scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

    • Dimensions: You’ll find tumbling mats in a number of dimensions. For example, the Tumbl Trak Folding Gymnastics Mat is available in three main sizes: You can buy a mat that measures 4' x 6', where each mat is made of 3 2-foot-wide folding panels and each mat has Velcro on two ends. (Note: A  mat that measures 4’ by 6’ will be large enough to put underneath a balance bar.) They also make tumbling mats in 4' x 8', and 5' x 10'.

    • Thickness: Tumbl Trak Folding Gymnastics Mat is available in two thicknesses:

      • The 2" mat is recommended for hard surfaces such as cement or wood.

      • The 1-3/8" thickness is for carpeted or padded floors.  

    • Ensure that the mat doesn’t slip: If you do exercise on a mat, a sliding mat can be dangerous. It is wise to put a Tumbl Trak Smart-Mat Sheet underneath the mat, to keep it from slipping. It is made from rubberized, non-slip material, that is sewn to both the top and bottom of the Smart Mat Sheet. The added friction is just enough to keep the tumbling mat stationary.

    • Construction: Even though tumbling events can require 25 meters of mats, you won’t get mats that are that long. Tumbling mats are also called "panel mats" because very often they are made of 2' wide panels that can be folded accordion-style. This makes them much easier to carry around.

    • Fastening: But how do they achieve a 25-meter long mat? Tumbling mats can be joined lengthwise, to make up such a length. Mats can be linked together by means of hook and loop fasteners (“Velcro”, where the rough side is the “hook” side and the “loop” side is the velvety, soft Velcro strip). You can add on more tumbling mats, as your repertoire of exercises increases.

    • Stitching and Seams: Tumbling mats may have special stitches and seams, for greater longevity. But the Orbring Bonded Foam Gymnastics Mat has double-reinforced nylon stitching and inverted seams. By inverting the seams, this removes a hiding place for common parasites. That will eliminate the possibility of bed bugs, lice, or other parasites infesting the mat.

    • Outer coating: The outer coating on most tumbling mats will be made from vinyl. You will typically see “18-ounce vinyl” used as the coating material. This means that 1 square yard of the material weighs 18 ounces. This is usually sufficient to be non-absorbent, as well as fire-resistant, puncture-resistant, and mildew resistant. There is also “PU leather” covers--this stands for polyurethane-leather. It is also known as “bi-cast leather”, which is leather covered with a polyurethane layer. It has the glossy appearance of plastic at an economical price.

    • A zipper on the cover: It’s always best that the vinyl cover has a zipper so that you can always change it if necessary. The Giantex 4' x 10' thick folding panel gymnastics mat is composed of 4 panels that are 2.5’ wide, and each panel is enclosed by means of a zipper in its own vinyl cover. If the vinyl cover tears, it is not difficult to replace it.

    • Placement of Velcro strips: Tumbling mats attach to one another to form long strips. But you can also get mats that have Velcro strips on all four edges, such as the "We Sell Mats" Gymnastics Tumbling Exercise Folding Martial Arts Mats so that you can connect mats together into strips, or into a square pattern.

    • Don’t wear shoes!: Even though the vinyl covers on most tumbling mats are durable, it’s best not to try your luck with them too much. Wearing shoes while tumbling runs the risk of tearing the fabric--so always do your exercising while barefoot.

    • Nonbacterial: Many mats are made from expanded polyethylene foam or EPE. It is known for being a good insulator, as well as being waterproof. Another advantage of making tumbling mats from EPE is that EPE are inert materials that do not decompose--there are no bacteria that can break down the material. So even in a humid environment, they will not promote the growth of mold, bacteria, and fungi.

    “We Sell Mats” is based in Mooresville, North Carolina. They deal in multi-purpose interlocking foam floor mats, gymnastics tumbling mats, incline mats, and personal fitness mats. They also sell other gymnastics paraphernalia, such as tumbling barrels, octagons, training pods, handstand bars, and balance beams, and more.

    Soozier is a brand of Ausom, who make home goods, health and beauty products, outdoor and sports goods, tools, toys and more. Soozier is their line of health and fitness equipment, such as exercise bikes, weightlifting benches, gym flooring tiles, basketball hoops, tumbling and gymnastic mats, and more. They are located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and were founded in 2009.

    Orbring--is a dealer in professional-quality gym mats and puzzle mats, which are made of durable foam with a wipe-clean vinyl cover. They are resistant to fungus, bacteria, and mildew. They also make medicine balls, kettlebells, gym rings, and more. They were founded in 2004, and have their headquarters in Houston, Texas.

    Best Choice Products--was founded in 2002 as commerce retailers, with their headquarters in Ontario, California. They sell gardening and farming products, lawn games, barbecue accessories, products for camping and the outdoors, fitness equipment and more. Their fitness equipment includes treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines, and gym mats in a variety of sizes and shapes.


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