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If you plan to perform plyometrics exercises, you will need a quality plyometrics mat in order to protect joints. This kind of workout is considered high-impact, so having something beneath your feet that is shock absorbing is highly recommended. Some of the details to consider before you choose a plyometrics mat include whether it is slip resistant, is cushioned enough for your workout, and is large enough for the moves that you plan to perform.
Not all exercise mats on the market are slip resistant, especially the inexpensive ones. Many people may assume that they will not slip while working out, but you should remember that the mat may become slick with sweat during a hard workout. It could also become wet due to water leaking from your water bottle when you take a drink. There are already enough ways to become injured during an intense plyometrics workout without having to worry about slipping on the plyometrics mat, as well. Therefore, be sure to choose one that features a non-stick grip to avoid injury due to slipping.
You may already have an exercise mat that you have used for other types of workouts, such as exercise videos, gymnastics, or yoga. Mats used for such workouts may be less cushioned than the typical plyometrics mat, which means that you could experience injury to your joints if you decide to use the same one. The best plyometrics mats are usually a bit more cushioned than the typical workout mat. Of course, too much cushioning may hinder your workout. For this reason, you should consider observing your choices of mats in-person when possible, as it will allow you to find out if the cushioning level is just right for your plyometrics moves.
Another consideration to make when purchasing a plyometrics mat is its overall size. If you have a small workout room and mostly stay in one place when exercising, then a small plyometrics mat with just enough space for your feet to move around unhindered could work well. On the other hand, many people with larger workout rooms prefer to have plenty of space to move around so that their joints are well supported during an active workout. Keep in mind that most mats roll up easily for quick storage, so even if you do not have a dedicated workout room in your home, and instead plan to use an office or guest room temporarily, you still have the option of purchasing a large plyometrics mat.
Getting a non-slip plyometrics mat is great advice and should be heeded. I made the mistake of trying to use my regular yoga mat for plyometrics exercises and I seriously hurt my leg doing one of the exercises.
Yoga mats are generally thin and mine was made of an inexpensive plastic material, but it didn't really need much grip because my yoga poses were all done slowly and carefully.
Plyometrics is a completely different animal and need to be treated as such. Your movements in plyometrics are much more sudden and forceful. I learned that if your mat doesn't have a good grip the chance of you sliding hard and landing on the floor are pretty high.
If you are new to plyometrics and looking for a good mat you should choose one that has the most padding. For myself I find plyometrics workouts to be very intense and with the goal of pushing your muscles quickly to the max you really need a safe and cushioned place to be working.
If you can find a plyometrics mat at your local fitness store you should try online. There are plenty of sites dedicated to plyometrics and you stand a good chance of finding some good reviews to help make your decision easier.
I recommend you don't always go with the cheapest mat, but rather the one that looks like it can cushion the most force.
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