It’s important to have the right surface under your feet when you start to jump rope, the jump rope mat provides a dependable cushioning layer that separates you from the ground. It has many benefits for both yourself and for your equipment. However, jump rope mats come in various sizes, thicknesses and densities and each type has its own qualities.
We’ll talk about these various types of jump rope mat in-depth in another post, but for now, let’s go over the reasons for using a jump rope mat. We’ll discuss the positive effects they can have on you and your workout.
A good jump rope mat will allow you to workout wherever you choose. Whether it be a jump rope mat for concrete outdoors or inside on the carpet, the mat provides a predictable and dependable layer that you will quickly adapt to. Having a familiar surface under your feet helps build confidence in your ability. The result is that it’ll allow you to rapidly improve your technique.
It’s worth thinking about where you plan to use your jump rope mat the most. If you think you might prefer to jump rope outside, then a heavier mat might be the right choice. The cheaper, thinner jump rope mats are lighter in weight and more likely to be picked up by wind if it’s breezy outside.
A good mat provides a low friction surface for your rope to skim across, whilst also providing a high friction surface for the soles of your shoes. The combination of these characteristics means that you can jump with the confidence that you won’t slip, and your rope won’t lose momentum or drag.
Whatever jump rope mat you choose, you will get used to its response to your movements and that of the rope. It’s good to know that every jump will feel the same, no matter your environment.
Whether you’re in a confined space or in the great outdoors, part of the jump rope discipline is about staying centered in your area. Using a jump rope mat will allow you to control your movements and stay within the confines of your space. If you begin to stray off course, the jump rope mat will allow you to re-center yourself as you jump.
You’ll naturally learn this discipline as you practice, and pretty soon it won’t be necessary to consciously think about your position. The mat is always visible in your peripheral vision and very soon you’ll adapt to remaining in the center of the mat without even thinking about it.
Jump rope mats come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. Everyone’s circumstance is different, so when choosing a jump rope mat you should bear in mind the area in which it will be used. If you’re jumping rope indoors, be sure that you have a suitable space to place it. You’ll also need to make sure that there is enough room around you for the rope to turn without hitting anything.
You can think of the mat as a way to define your boundary. A well-sized and placed jump rope mat will prevent you from damaging any surrounding objects. But it would be best to move that priceless ming vase before you start, just in case!
Protect your flooring
Gyms are great, but life is hectic and we don’t always have time to pack a bag and head out. One of the great things about jumping rope is that you can have a fulfilling and substantial workout from home. There is no need to make the time to travel to and from a gym every time you want to exercise.
Whether your floors are carpet, wood or vinyl they will eventually show signs of wear, especially when using a weighted rope. The jump rope mat will protect your floor from both rope marks and marks from the soles of your shoes.
Protect your jump rope
Just as your rope can damage the surface of your floor, some surfaces will damage your rope over time. The friction caused when your rope skims the ground can soon begin to show on your rope, especially if you’re jumping outside. Tarmac or concrete are the worst for this, and depending on the rope material you may damage it pretty quickly. Even the wear-resistant Nylon and PTFE coating found on some ropes can’t hold up to grit and gravel forever. If you’ve noticed small nicks or tears in the middle of your rope, it’s a good sign that the surface you’re jumping on is causing damage to the rope. You should definitely consider a mat to prevent any more damage.
Once you’ve become accustomed to the nuances in the way your rope feels, it becomes a dependable part of your routine. Getting used to a new rope can take a little time, so you don’t want to have to replace it often. A good jump rope mat provides a low friction surface for your rope, meaning that it can skim across the surface without suffering any nicks or tears. Another way to think about it is that using a mat will probably save you money in replacement ropes in the long term!
If you’re jumping inside your home or apartment, it’s a good idea to try to be considerate of others. This is especially true if you live in an apartment above another family. We’ve all had one of those annoying neighbours in the past!
Whilst a mat won’t completely prevent noise, it will significantly reduce it. This is especially true if your floor is made of wood or hard vinyl. It might make the difference between a successful workout and an angry knock at the door!
In general the thicker the mat, the more it will deaden the sound of your movements. Gymnastics mats tend to be thicker than the standard exercise or yoga ones, and provide a slightly better sound deadening effect as a result.
Be kinder to your joints
Jumping rope on a hard surface is a common way to get shin splints. If you’ve ever noticed that your lower leg or inner side of your shin bones are sore or slightly swollen then it’s possible you’ve suffered from shin splints. Running and jumping are both common causes. Whilst they usually heal themselves after a few weeks the discomfort they cause will prevent you from working out until you’re better.
By reducing the impact of repeatedly landing on a hard floor, the likelihood of getting shin splints can also be reduced. Having a shock absorbent layer under your feet provides a cushioning effect that reduces stress on your joints. It’s highly recommended for jumping rope.
Thinner exercise mats tend to provide less impact resistance, so if you’re new to this type of exercise it might be sensible to go for a thicker mat.
Types of jump rope mat
We will go into some depth on the best types of jump rope mat in another article, but for now, let’s take a look at some of the different types of mats available.
Some mats have edges which taper down to the floor on each edge. This is useful for jumping rope as it means you’re less likely to catch the edge of the mat. If buying a mat without tapered edges, you just need to make sure it is long enough front to back so that the rope cannot catch the edges. Look for a mat between 4 and 5 feet long depending on your height and the length of the rope you’re using.
Exercise mats / Yoga mats
These tend to be the cheapest option, and are readily available in most fitness stores and online. They’re usually made of TPE (a rubber like material) or NBR (nitrile rubber) and come in varying thicknesses up to around ¾ of an inch.
They’re relatively low cost and offer very basic impact protection for jumping rope. They can be quite light, so may not be a great choice for use outdoors if it’s windy. Priced at around $25, this FBSPORT Yoga Mat is a good example of what’s available in this category.
Made of thicker material with more padding, these are bulkier and slightly less portable though many of them do fold up into a briefcase size. Usually made of dense EPE foam with a polyurethane (PU) leather outer they are up to around 2” thick and can be used on a variety of surfaces including grass.
The low friction outer helps prevent your rope from catching and these are generally heavy enough to use outside in windy conditions. These tend to be a little more expensive, but this ProsourceFit mat can be found for around $40.
Interlocking foam mats
These come in a variety of different materials and thicknesses, but the thing they all have in common is their ability to be sized to your needs. They are usually made of high density foam and their size and shape can be adjusted depending on your environment. Portability and storage is good as they can be disassembled and stored in a box when not in use. But, you need to factor in the extra setup time when beginning your routine.
These are less suitable for surfaces which aren’t completely flat, as the connecting edges can become detached unless used on a level floor. A hard wood, concrete or vinyl floor is the best surface for these. These mats from BEAUTYOVO Exercise Mats are around $60 and come in a pack of 12.