Using The Right Mats for Sports

Many sports involve physical movements that an athlete may practice many times before performing. In particular, sports and activities such as gymnastics, martial arts, and combat training call for tough but soft padded tumbling mats, and gymnastics mats may do a lot of good for any gymnast in training. Even military training grounds and police training academies will make use of martial arts mats for training, and this may prevent bone fractures or other injuries when a person falls over or is grappled to the ground. A similar field is that of interlocking floor mats, and a martial arts school may use interlocking floor mats to mimic the wooden floor underneath during training. What is there to know about the nature of these crash mats and their proper use during gymnastics training or martial arts practice?

Gymnasts and Combat Training

Physical sports such as gymnastics or combat training call for a soft surface where someone can land safely. Even during the most competitive gymnastics events, no one wants to run the risk of falling onto hard floors and suffering a sprain or a bone fracture. These padded mats or interlocking floor mats may be used both during practice and during actual events to minimize the risk of injury to gymnasts during performance or training. A high school’s gymnastics team, for example, will have a number of such mats or interlocking floor mats on hand to deploy for practice in the school’s gymnasium, and place them right over the wooden floor. These mats will also be used during proper performances. After all, gymnasts are performing a variety of rolls and tumbles, leaps, and more, and whether or not they make a mistake, some hard collisions are bound to happen. A good mat will prevent injury.

The same is true for martial arts training. Even for police academy training or the military, no one wants to suffer an injury during practice, so such mats will be put on the floor for everyone to use. A drill sergeant or police trainer would be unhappy if a cadet suffered a fractured bone and had to miss practice, after all. Such combat training may involve knocking one’s opponent down or even grappling with them, and that calls for crash-resistant, thick padding to prevent injury when people fall over or are forced down. This may also be done at any martial art school for karate, Muay Thai kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do, or any other related combat art. A properly supplied martial arts school or police academy will have these mats on hand for every practice session.

The Mats

Such mats and and interlocking floor mats are simple enough to make and use. They don’t have any moving parts; rather, they are a layer of thick foam padding encased in tough fabric. Larger mats may have thin creases in them so that they can be folded up, and this makes them easier to store and move around. Smaller mats may not need these creases, however. An alternative, meanwhile, is to use interlocking floor mats, which are small but thickly padded and may lock together like puzzle pieces. These interlocking floor mats may be convenient for a large area that should be entirely covered with padding, and these interlocking floor mats may have wooden floor-like printed patterns on them. Karate schools may make good use of these, and the foam tiles are easy to store.

Basic care should be taken when using these mats. They are tough, but they are not indestructible, so some items should be kept away from them. Ideally, the only users are people who are barefoot or in socks or soft shoes unless the mat is actually designed to handle shoes and boots. Otherwise, sharp objects or scuffing, hard-soled shoes may even rip the mat’s outer casing and expose the stuffing inside. If this happens, the mat will have to be repaired and sewn closed before further use. Otherwise, continued use might widen the rip and further damage the mat. Food and drinks should be kept away from these mats, so that they don’t get stains on them. Finally, mat owners are discouraged from parking any vehicles on them, whose excessive weight may damage them.

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July 2024
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