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The definitive workout mat ranking

Which mats are worth your buck
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Your at-home workout equipment should include the ever-versatile exercise mat. MATT MCDERMOTT/CC FLICKR
Your at-home workout equipment should include the ever-versatile exercise mat. MATT MCDERMOTT/CC FLICKR

So, there’s still a pandemic, and it’s the middle of winter. Chances are, if you’re working out, you’re doing it indoors in a cramped dorm room or a puny student apartment. One of the most space-efficient and useful pieces of workout equipment for at-home exercise is the all-important mat: easy to put away, helpful for your joints and back, and usually under $100 — the mat is a purchase you won’t regret.

But not all mats are made for the same purpose: depending on what you’re planning on doing on it, you’ll be looking for different qualities. After searching far and wide in the large expanse of the internet, I’ve found the best mats for yoga, general fitness, and for pilates.

  1. Yoga: Lululemon “The Reversible Mat 5mm”

Lululemon’s five-millimetre yoga mat is the perfect all-round mat for any kind of yoga you desire. The reversible design has a gripped side for sweaty yoga sessions and a cushiony, rubber side for less sweaty practices. The thickness is also just cushy enough to support your body, but dense enough to provide a good amount of resistance. In addition, it can be stored easily. 

The mat comes in lots of fun colours, and although it costs more than the other selections here, it feels very well-made. 

  1. Fitness: ProsourceFit Muscle Exercise Mats

Fitness mats are ideal if you are looking for a mat upon which to engage in more general, wide-ranging exercises. Essentially, this can include anything other than pilates and yoga, and usually exercises that are a little more high impact — think squat jumps and burpees — could benefit from cushy flooring.

The ones from ProsourceFit are great because they are interlocking squares: you can customize your mat to fit the size of the workout space available in your home. They are also resistant to water — and thus sweat — as well as noise-reducing, meaning that you won’t infuriate your neighbours if you live in an apartment building or above a basement apartment. 

  1. Pilates: Aeromat Elite Workout Mat

These mats tend to be longer and thicker than yoga mats, making them more suitable for the wider range of aerobic exercises that is included in pilates. They also don’t need to provide the grip that yoga mats do.

Aeromat’s version is particularly good because it is very affordable and has useful holes for hooks, which makes for easy storage. It is made of closed-cell foam to provide lightweight and durable cushioning, and is offered in four colours.