Extra Thick Yoga and Pilates Mats
Finding a Good Product
While most gyms and yoga studios have mats available on site, it is often times better to have your own so you don't have to worry about getting stuck with a used one that is either dirty, loaded with germs from other users, torn, or worn out.
A good mat should stick to the floor without sliding around and provide enough separation between you and the floor to allow you to comfortably complete your workout. My rule of thumb is that if you spend any more time thinking about your mat during your routine than just setting it up and putting it away when your workout is over, you should think about investing in a new one.
High quality mats are usually available for under $45 and they will quickly pay off in the form of hassle free workouts. Yoga is as much about your mind as it is your body so you want to eliminate anything that could get in the way of enjoying your class. If you are new to the discipline, you may want to take a few classes before you buy your own mat just to make sure that it is something you plan to continue doing.
If Pilates is your thing, you might be able to use your Yoga mat for both at first but eventually you may want to get one for each. Pilates mats come in a wider variety of styles and sizes and can sometimes be a bit larger than a yoga mat.
Extra Thick Yoga Mats
You will find that there are several different thicknesses ranging from 1/16 of an inch to 1/4 inch. A standard yoga mat typically will be 1/8 of an inch in thickness. One of the biggest complaints I hear from people is that their mat is too thin and they are uncomfortable during their workouts. The answer to this problem is to move to a thicker product.
The added thickness provides additional cushioning and support for your joints allow you to get more enjoyment out of your workout. These are especially desirable for those of you who want to do yoga outside or on a very hard surface like a concrete floor. An extra thick option will give you the freedom to not have to worry about small rocks and uneven spots that would otherwise be difficult to work around. You will find that the added thickness does not take away from the stickiness but does offer added comfort during extended poses.
Extra Thick Pilates Mats
Buying a thicker and more comfortable mat is just as important if you are into Pilates. If you plan to get one that is 1/4 inch thick or less, you can probably get away with purchasing just a Pilates mat and using it for both. They are available up to as much as an inch thick but because yoga requires that you are able to feel the floor at times, I recommend that you go with something not that full if you plan to do both.
If your workouts consist of Pilates exclusively, an ultra thick mat is an option you could consider depending on just how much padding you are looking for. One thing to keep in mind is that the very large ones will take up more space when you attempt to roll them up and they aren't as suitable for travel or stuffing back into the bag as something with a little less volume. In my experience, I am able to maintain a high level of comfort and still get around with my mat being a quarter of an inch thick.
Getting Started With Your New Equipment
Once you have the right supplies, it's time to have some fun and break it in a little. When you first buy a new roll, you will find that it takes several uses to break it in and get sticky. Don't panic if it slides around more than you would like the first few times you use it. This is normal and it doesn't mean you bought a bad product. Within a few days, you should find that it isn't giving you any problems.
Having the right mat is the first step in starting a yoga or Pilates workout routine you can stick with and enjoy. Here are a few exercises you can do to break in your new equipment and put it to use! The video below will give you some basic instruction and help you get started with poses you can do either at home or at the gym.