Comparing two different types of mats: Rubber Weightlifting Mats vs MMA Mats

There is a significant difference between mats for martial arts training and weightlifting mats. Knowing the difference can help you buy the specific mat that you need, whilst also ensuring the safety of the athletes at your gym and promoting longevity of the mats that you use. Let’s look into the difference between weightlifting and MMA mats so you can find the mat that will best fit your needs.

MMA Mats Vs Weight Lifting Mats: An Overview

The core difference between MMA mats and weightlifting mats is what you are going to use them for. MMA mats need to be soft and springy, conforming to the shape of an athlete’s body and protecting them from a fall. MMA mats are made from a soft foam material, like XPE and EVA. Foam materials are great to use because they have great “spring back” ability. These mats can compress to almost the point of the floor and then spring back to its original shape.

However, foam mats would be less than ideal to use for weightlifting because they tend to scuff, dent, and tear under the heavy forces of heavy weights, like barbells and weight training equipment.

Alternatively, the best mats to use for weight lifting are rubber mats which offer the best impact absorption properties of any mats available on the market. Rubber mats are great because, although they have a bit of give to them, they are fairly rigid and able to handle the force of heavy weights being dropped on them. They are also ideal to put underneath fitness machines, like treadmills, ellipticals, and rowing machines.

Although rubber is great for absorbing impacts, it’s not a great material to use for MMA training. Rubber mats don’t have the same cushioning ability that foam mats do, and rubber mats may even cause injuries for athletes who land on them.


MMA Mats

MMA is a hybrid sport, combining all the best fighting techniques from major martial arts disciplines found throughout the world. The mats used in MMA are required to create the optimal fighting surface for many styles and disciplines.


What Is the Best Mat to Use for MMA Training?

There are several types of mats that you can use for your MMA training. If you specialise in a form of martial arts that involves a lot of throws from critical heights of over 1.5 m, I would consider getting a mat that is at least 40 mm thick. Below you’ll find the most common mats to use for MMA training:


  1. 30 mm BJJ With Tatami Surface Texture

These mats offer great cushioning ability at an inexpensive price. Considered a premium line of mats, the 30 mm BJJ jigsaw Mat is perfect to use for both grappling sports like Brazilian jujitsu, as it has a low-burn tatami surface, allowing you to train your ground game without having to worry about mat burn. Durable and resistant to wear, these mats will provide you with years of use, continuing to provide the same cushioning ability for many years.


  1. 40 mm Rollout Mats

These mats are great to use in large spaces because they’re easy to deploy, and also easy to tear down. Made from high quality XPE foam, these rollout mats offer great cushioning ability and provide impact resistance from heights over 1.5 m. They connect with Velcro strips, so you don’t have to worry about the mats breaking apart and creating gaps.

  1. 40 mm Judo Mats

These are made from PU chip foam, which is a lightweight, easily compressible foam that stops the force of a falling athlete. Wrapped in a nonslip vinyl surface, these judo mats have a nonslip, high traction fighting surface. Available in several colours, like red, black, yellow, green, and blue, and available in two different sizes, 1 m x 1 m and 2 m x 1 m, you are sure to find a mat that suits your needs.


Weight Lifting Mats

There are several types of rubber mats that you can use for athletic flooring in a weightlifting gym. The best rubber mats to use fall in between the 17mm and 20mm range. 17 mm mats are perfect to place on a weightlifting platform, or underneath squat racks and bench presses, whilst 20 mm mats and up our best to put underneath treadmills and ellipticals. 12 to 15 mm mats are also great to use as anti-fatigue flooring in changerooms or walkways, and can even be used in a shop or garage.


Best Practices for Choosing MMA Mats

Try to find a mat that suits your needs. In this article we’ve gone through different mats and reasons to buy mats, but ultimately the most important thing is what mat you need. Below you’ll find a list of a few things to think about before purchasing athletic flooring:


  • Create a Floor Plan: One of the best things that you can do when outfitting your gym is to create a floor plan, outlining where you’ll need different mats, like rubber mats for a weightlifting section of your gym and XPE foam mats for martial arts training. Having this outline in your hands, you’ll be able to see how much of each type of mat you’ll need by understanding how many square metres of area you need to cover.
  • Decide the Thickness: The thickness of mats you purchase is determined by the type of martial arts disciplines that you practise. Does the martial arts discipline you practise primarily involve standing up and striking but also involve training your ground game? Then 30mm mats should work just fine for you. Do you train a lot of throws and trips? Then consider 40mm mats.
  • Questions? Ask away: After a quick conversation with our team, you’ll be given all the information that you need to make an informed decision on what mats to purchase.



Every mat on British Martial Arts Mats has a purpose, whether it’s impact absorption or cushioning falls. As you consider which mats the purchase, create an outline and a plan for what you want in your gym. A bit of planning goes a long way, and when you finally got your gym assembled, you can be proud of how you laid it out.

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