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Best Mats for PIlates Reviewed

last updated Jul 08, 2019

If you think that your yoga mat will work for pilates, you are in for an uncomfortable surprise. The main difference between yoga mats and Pilates mats is a matter of thickness. When engaging in pilates, you are rolling around and digging into the floor a lot more than yoga. This means that you will need a Pilates mat that is much thicker than your standard yoga mats.

When selecting Pilates mats, comfort and grip are key. Pilates involves a lot of rolling around on the floor, so you want to select something that is a little thicker than your standard yoga mat. You also want to make sure that it is long enough so that it can accommodate your entire body.

In this guide, we have selected some of our top picks for Pilates mats to keep you comfortable and sturdy as you work to strengthen your core.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research

icon
Gaiam Premium
95.2/100 our score
Materials
98
Size
94
Features
95
Ease of Use
93
Comfort
96
Gaiam Premium
Why is it better?

Trusted brand

Easy to tote

Beveled edges

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Gaiam Premium
Test Winner: Gaiam Premium
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Researched Sources
2
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
830
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
6
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Materials Size Features Ease of Use Comfort By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Materials
98 %
Size
94 %
Features
95 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Comfort
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$25.48
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Materials
95 %
Size
96 %
Features
91 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Comfort
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$39.00
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Materials
96 %
Size
90 %
Features
91 %
Ease of Use
89 %
Comfort
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$12.97
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Materials
91 %
Size
88 %
Features
89 %
Ease of Use
86 %
Comfort
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$76.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Materials
85 %
Size
87 %
Features
84 %
Ease of Use
86 %
Comfort
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$120.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.4
Materials
80 %
Size
84 %
Features
81 %
Ease of Use
79 %
Comfort
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$23.58
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.2
Materials
84 %
Size
77 %
Features
79 %
Ease of Use
80 %
Comfort
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$20.49
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Materials
80 %
Size
77 %
Features
76 %
Ease of Use
78 %
Comfort
79 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$37.32
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.6
Materials
77 %
Size
81 %
Features
75 %
Ease of Use
74 %
Comfort
76 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$14.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73.8
Materials
75 %
Size
73 %
Features
74 %
Ease of Use
71 %
Comfort
76 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.09.19)
Amazon Link
$14.99

Top 10 Picks

1. Gaiam Premium

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Gaiam Premium best pilates mat
Amazon Link
Materials
98
Size
94
Features
95
Ease of Use
93
Comfort
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$25.48
Pros:

Trusted brand

Easy to tote

Beveled edges

Cons:

Thin

Anyone that has shopped for yoga or Pilates gear is very familiar with the Gaiam brand! Gaiam is one of the leading brands in this style of gear because they use quality materials designed to help you train at your best. What we liked about this mat for pilates is that it has a few unique features that will keep it in place and keep you comfortable.

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It measures to be ¼ of an inch thick. This is just slightly thicker than your standard yoga mat, and thinner than some of the bulky Pilates mats on the market. A thinner design means that it will be easier to pack into a bag and it is easy to roll up and take on the go or on your next vacation.

The dimensions measure in at 24 inches wide and 68 inches long, which is pretty standard. What makes this style special is that it has beveled edges on the base and the top. Beveled edges help keep it firmly in place as you roll around on the floor, and also provides a very secure grip for your hands and feet.

For those that are in the market for a Pilates mat that comes from a trusted brand, we feel this style from Gaiam is one of your best choices! Its thick enough to cushion your joints and stay in place, but it isn’t so bulky that it will be difficult to cart around from class to class!

2. Mantra Style

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Mantra Style best mat for pilates
Amazon Link
Materials
95
Size
96
Features
91
Ease of Use
93
Comfort
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.00
Pros:

Very thick

Wide dimensions

Comfortable

Cons:

Difficult to tote

What we liked most about this Pilates mat from Mantra Style is that it is extra thick, extra wide, and extra long. Plus, it is made from high-quality materials that are designed to stay firmly in place while in use. If you want something that has a lot of extra cushioning for your joints, this is one of your best options.

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It measures to be about ½ of an inch thick, which is pretty standard when considering other mats for Pilates. This thickness makes it a little more difficult to roll up and take with you on the go, but it offers superior comfort. If you do a lot of floor Pilates and need to stay comfortable, the thickness of this Pilate mat makes it a very comfortable choice.

It also measures to be 28 inches wide and about 78 inches long. These measurements provide an excellent space to work with, and it means you can get a little wide with your movements and still have a comfortable place to land. It has a beveled edge on the bottom of the unit to create a secure grip to the floor. The top is nice and smooth and your hands sink right into the mat.

It is important to note that while the dimensions offer excellent comfort and ease of movement, it may prove to be a little difficult to roll up and fit into a tote. However, if you need something that provides superior comfort and stability, this mat from Mantra Style is an excellent choice.

3. MERRITHEW Airex Coronella

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
MERRITHEW Airex Coronella
Amazon Link
Materials
96
Size
90
Features
91
Ease of Use
89
Comfort
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.97
Pros:

Trusted brand

Easy to pack

Comfortable

Cons:

Very narrow

Catches dust easily

The reason we placed this Pilates mat from MERRITHEW near the top of our list is that it is incredibly comfortable and built to stand up to even some of your toughest workouts. It has a thick design to add comfort to your joints when engaging in floor routines, and it is incredibly long so it will cover your head to toe- even for taller users!

Read more

It measures to be about .6 inches thick, which is just a tad thinner than ½ inch designs. This means that it provides great comfort and support to your joints, but it isn’t so thick that it is difficult to tote around from class to class. It is about 70 inches long (which is much longer than the standard size), but it is only 20 inches wide (which is a little narrow).

The two sides of this Pilates mat are varied to allow you to change up how you use it. The underside has a grooved texture that is perfect for high impact workouts that demand a lot of stability. The other side is smooth and soft which is perfect for slower paced workouts.

This Pilates mat from MERRITHEW is a perfect choice for those that need something that is easy to take with them on the go but still offers premium comfort and stability. Plus, it comes from a trusted fitness brand that users have come to depend upon.

4. STOTT PILATES Deluxe

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
STOTT PILATES Deluxe  best pilates mat
Amazon Link
Materials
91
Size
88
Features
89
Ease of Use
86
Comfort
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$76.99
Pros:

Very thick

High-quality materials

Easy to clean

Cons:

Difficult to pack

Looking for something that is a little thicker than most? This Pilates mat from STOTT PILATES measures to be just a little over ½ of an inch thick, which will provide excellent support to your joints. It is made from high-quality material that is easy to care for and will hold up to whatever you can throw at it.

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Measuring in at .59 inches thick, this mat is perfect for all of those floor exercises. The material is incredibly dense and offers proprioceptive feedback that springs back when you remove weight. It also measures to be about 72 inches long, which is a lot longer than your standard Pilates mat, and it is 24 inches wide which is slightly narrower than the norm.

The materials used are what makes this an ideal choice. It uses high-quality TPE that wicks away moisture and is very easy to clean. It also provides a small amount of tackiness that makes it a lot easier to create a secure grip when changing poses. It has a textured underside that really grips the floor and a smooth top.

For those that are in the market for something that is made from high-quality materials that will hold up over time, this is a great choice. It is a little thicker than most, which means it may prove to be difficult to roll up and pack into a standard tote.

5. Manduka PRO

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Manduka PRO pilates mat
Amazon Link
Materials
85
Size
87
Features
84
Ease of Use
86
Comfort
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$120.00
Pros:

Close-cell construction

Easy to pack

Easy to clean

Cons:

Thinner than most

Slippery

If you don’t like the tacky feeling of many of the other designs that use TPE construction, you may want to check out this mat for pilates from Manduka PRO. It uses a material that feels more like a soft fabric, but it still provides a superior grip to the floor that helps stabilize you between movements.

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It measures to be about .23 inches thick, which is a lot thinner than some of the other designs that we have seen so far. You can select between 71 inches long, and 85 inches long for your length, and it measures to be 26 inches wide which is slightly wider than most.

The thing that we love about this option is that it is made from high-quality, eco-friendly materials. This option will not flake or peel no matter how much you use it. Plus, the closed-cell construction does not absorb any moisture, which means it is incredibly easy to clean and will not hold on to odors.

If you want something that is made from high-quality materials that are incredibly comfortable, this is a great choice. Plus, due to the fact that it isn’t as thick as some of the other models that we have seen, it means that is is a cinch to pack up into a standard tote to take with you on the go.

6. Aisoco Premium

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.4
Aisoco Premium best mat for pilates
Amazon Link
Materials
80
Size
84
Features
81
Ease of Use
79
Comfort
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$23.58
Pros:

Easy to tote

Non-toxic materials

Fun colors

Cons:

A little thin

Looking for something that comes in fun colors that is a cinch to pack up and take with you on the go? This Pilates mat from Aisoco Premium fits that bill perfectly! It is constructed from eco-friendly materials that provide a secure grip and comes in a lot of fun and unique color choices.

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This isn’t one of your thicker options. It measures to be about .23 inches thick, which is a little thinner than most. It is 24 inches wide, and about 72 inches long. All in all, this design is smaller than some of the other designs that we have seen, but it means that it is a cinch to take with you on the go.

The textured TPE material offers a slight tacky grip to keep it in place as you move. It is offered in fun colors that include yellow, green, pink, purple, blue, and black. You can feel good about using this Pilates mat over and over again because it doesn’t use any harmful in its composition.

If you are in the market for something that is easy to roll up and take with you on the go, this mat for Pilates is one of your better options. It is made from high-quality and non-toxic materials that you can feel good about, and it is easy to roll up and take with you on the go.

7. Sivan Health and Fitness

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.2
Sivan Health and Fitness mat
Amazon Link
Materials
84
Size
77
Features
79
Ease of Use
80
Comfort
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$20.49
Pros:

Fun colors

Very thick

Grooved underside

Cons:

Slippery when wet

What we liked most about this mat from Sivan Health and Fitness is that it is incredibly thick, which means it will offer superior protection to your joints. If your Pilates routine requires a lot of rolling on the floor, this design is one of your better choices. Plus, it is offered in a wide variety of unique colors.

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This design measures to be about ½ of an inch thick, which is perfect for floor Pilates workouts. It measures to be about 24 inches wide which is just a tad more narrow than your traditional style. It is 71 inches long, which is perfect for even tall Pilates enthusiasts!

One thing that users really like about this model is that it also comes in a wide variety of unique earth tones. Shades include black, blue, teal, gray, red, pink, purple, and green. The material is grooved on the underside to really grip the floor and the top side is smooth for a comfortable feel on your hands and feel.

If protecting your joints is your number one concern, this Pilates mat from Sivan Health and Fitness is one of your better options. It is incredibly thick which provides a very soft cushion to workout, and it stays firmly in place. Plus, it comes in a lot of fun colors to choose from.

8. Incline Fit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Incline Fit best pialtes mat
Amazon Link
Materials
80
Size
77
Features
76
Ease of Use
78
Comfort
79
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$37.32
Pros:

Very thick

Included carrying strap

Fun colors

Cons:

Very bulky

Difficult to balance

Need something that is lightyears thicker than many of the standard options out there on the market? This Pilates mat from Incline Fit is one of the thickest designs that you will find. Just keep in mind that while it provides superior comfort and support, it will be a little difficult to roll up into your classic yoga mat bag.

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The most important aspect of this Pilates mat is its superior thickness. While most mats for Pilates measure to be about ½ of an inch thick (and some even thinner than that) this tank clocks in at 1 inch thick. If you really want to give all of your joints a break on Pilates day, this thin mat provides superior comfort.

It also measures to be 24 inches wide and 72 inches long. While 72 inches is perfect for even taller people, 24 inches is just a tad on the narrow side. It also comes in a wide assortment of colors that include black, gray, blue, green, and purple.

Thicker and bulky Pilates mats are notoriously a pain to roll up and pack away, but this design makes things a bit easier. It comes with an elastic strap with a handle to make it a little bit easier to carry around from place to place. If you need something that is made to be soft and comfortable, this Pilates mat is one of your better options.

9. ProsourceFit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.6
ProsourceFit pilates mat
Amazon Link
Materials
77
Size
81
Features
75
Ease of Use
74
Comfort
76
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.99
Pros:

½ inch thick

Easy to tote

Comfortable

Cons:

Material wears down

Not very durable

The specs on this mat for pilates from ProsourceFit runs about in the middle of the road. It is the average thickness, length, and width. This means that it is a perfect companion not only for floor routines but also Pilates workouts that require a good deal of balancing. It is also offered in a wide variety of color options as well.

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This Pilate mat measures to be a ½ inch thick, which is the ideal thickness to protect joints, keep you comfortable and balanced. It is 71 inches long and 24 inches wide, which means it will fit well in most standard size yoga mat bags. It is composed of very soft foam that your hands will sink into as you lean into difficult poses.

The base of this Pilates mat has a ribbed pattern built right into the foam that really grips the floor to ensure that it stays put. The top layer is soft and smooth so moving between poses is easy. It is also available in a wide assortment of colors that include black, gray, blue, pink, green, purple and red.

For those that are looking for a Pilates mat that runs pretty standard, this option from ProsourceFit is a great choice. It is thick enough to protect joints, comfortable enough for various activities, and comes in a lot of colors. Plus, it will fit into most standard size yoga mat bags.

10. BalanceFrom GoFit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73.8
BalanceFrom GoFit pilates mat
Amazon Link
Materials
75
Size
73
Features
74
Ease of Use
71
Comfort
76
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.99
Pros:

Secure placement

Easy to clean

Very soft

Cons:

A little bulky

Slippery sweaty topside

Tired of your Pilates mats sliding all over the place as you work up a sweat? This innovative design from GoFit is made to stay securely in place. It is made from a blend of high-quality materials that provide an even and comfortable surface for even your most intense workouts. Plus, it is incredibly easy to clean and wicks away moisture.

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This design is two-toned so you know exactly which section sits on the floor. The base of this mat for pilates is a light gray color with a ribbed design to ensure that it stays securely in place. The top of the mat is offered in many colors and has a smooth texture that your hands sink into as you lean into various poses.

It measures to be about a ½ inch thick, which is pretty standard for most designs. It is also 24 inches wide and 72 inches long, which is the perfect size for most movements. The ½ inch thickness may make it a little difficult to fit into most standard size yoga mat bags. The good news is that it comes with a pair of elastic bands with straps for easy portability.

If you are in the market for something that will stay securely in place as you work up a sweat, this is one of your better options. It is incredibly easy to clean, wicks away sweat, and is thick enough to provide a lot of comfort to your joints.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

The materials used to compose a Pilates mat was one of the very first things that we looked at.

We wanted to make sure that we selected materials that were not only effective, but we wanted them to be safe as well.

The most popular materials out there on the market we found were TPE and rubber. While these two types of materials may look and feel like they are identical, there are actually a few differences between the two. We think they are both ideal, but there are some advantages and disadvantage to consider.

TPE: While TPE may have the look and feel of rubber, it is actually composed of different types of plastic. TPE has that classic structure that snaps back into place after the weight is lifted off of it. This means that while you are applying pressure to a certain spot, the material will spring back into place almost immediately.

What makes TPE ideal in these instances is that they are stiff and rigid when cold, and become very soft when exposed to heat. Plus, TPE is considered to be more eco-friendly over rubber because it is recyclable. TPE is a material that can be melted down and repurposed into different shapes and products, so you can feel good about opting for a product made from this material.

The only downside to using TPE is that is isn’t as durable as rubber, and you may find you will have to replace it after prolonged and frequent use.

Rubber: Another great option is rubber. What makes this material ideal is that is perfect for creating a soft and pliable base that is easy on your joints. The reason that we feel the rubber is ideal is that it is incredibly supportive, and it is also very durable.

Unlike TPE, Pilates mats that are made from rubber often last quite a bit longer. In fact, opting for a rubber Pilates mat may be the last mat you will ever need to buy. The downside to rubber options, however, is that they are much heavier than the TPE counterparts.

In fact, they are often two times as heavier, and they are quite difficult to roll back up after class. While they may be incredibly durable and supportive, that support comes at a cost.

Size

When it comes to Pilates mats, size is what makes them stand out from the rest.

When looking for styles that are made specifically for floor Pilates routines, the thickness is key. There are few companies and brands that make mats that are specifically made for Pilates workouts. While special Pilates mats do exist, many are listed to be a hybrid of a yoga and exercise mat.

Things can get a little tricky when finding designs that are built with Pilates in mind. That’s why looking at the size of each option is so important. There are a few variations that you can select from, and each is made specifically for different types of Pilate poses as well for different levels of comfort.

½ inch Pilates mats are the standard size out there on the market. What makes ½ inch models so perfect is that they are thick enough to comfort your joints, but not so thick that they limit stability. Whether you are engaging on a 100 percent floor workout, or you are up on your feet, ½ in designs are the way to go.

Plus, most ½ inch models are just thin enough to fit inside of most standard size yoga mat bags. It will fit a little tight, and there may be a bit of a struggle, but they will be able to fit. You will also be able to use ½ inch Pilates mats for general fitness and yoga as well.

1 inch Pilates mats are the Cadillac of comfort. They are designed to give you the maximum comfort when you really need to protect your joints. Plus, they are very squishy and comfortable, which make them perfect for floor Pilates routines.

The downside to the 1-inch design is that they are really only used for floor exercises. If you ever need to stand up, you will have a little bit of difficult stabilizing yourself because the material is so squishy. Plus, they typically do not fit inside your old trusty yoga mat bags.

Features

A few key features built right into your Pilates mat will help you get the most out of your workout.

While these products may seem pretty simple at face value, there are a few design features that are great at keeping you comfortable and stable. We have listed some of our favorite features that we took into consideration.

Ribbed underside: A ribber underside on your Pilates mat makes for a very stable surface. When you roll out your mat onto the floor, you want to make sure that it really sticks to the surface. Most designs use a tacky material that works well at gripping surfaces, but a ribbed underside adds just a little bit more stability.

There are even some options out there on the market that have a ribber underside as well as a ribber top side. A ribber top side will keep your hands and feet from slipping, even as you start to work up a sweat. Engaging your muscles in difficult Pilates poses is a struggle, and a stable base makes things just a little easier.

Carrying straps: As the thickness increases, you will be limited in the bags that you can carry them in. That why the addition of carrying straps will make your life just a little easier. Many of the straps are made from elastic and slip up over the mat quite easily.

When you are done with your class, simply roll your Pilates mat up and secure it in place with the provided straps. Most cinch closed with the help of velcro, and other use buckles. One thing that is a must when it comes to straps is to make sure that it also has a shoulder strap so that you can throw it over your shoulder to keep your hands free.

Ease of Use

Pilates is hard, so we wanted to make sure we selected something that would be easy to use.

We know what you are thinking- how can a mat be difficult to use? Depending upon the material that you select as well as the size, packing it up can prove to be a little difficult.

If you don’t want to lug around heavy gear, we suggest that you select designs that are made from TPE. This material is incredibly light, and even if you select a very thick and wide design it isn’t going to weigh you down all that much. The heaviest TPE designs that we found weighed in at just 2 pounds.

Rubber is comfortable and durable, but it is very heavy. Some rubber designs that we found out there on the market weigh in at around 5-6 pounds! That’s like carrying a bag of sugar into your Pilates class!

The thickness of your Pilates mat will also pose a bit of an issue. Thicker mats are more difficult to roll up into a tight and compact burrito, and they are also difficult to fit into a yoga mat bag. We suggest investing in design with an elastic strap that makes it easier to carry around.

Comfort

The end goal any Pilates mat is to keep you comfortable as you build strength.

Many athletes love adding Pilates to their off days to still get a great workout without putting any pressure on their joints. Whether you are a long distance runner or a powerlifter, your joints take quite a beating. Don't discount the intensity of your workout, you are likely to end up with some pretty sore muscles!

When you are so close to hitting your goals, it may be difficult to take a recovery day. That’s why Pilates with a Pilates mat is so popular. It is a great way to build strength and work up a sweat, but it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your joints.

We wanted to make sure that we selected Pilates mats that were comfortable. Floor routines often require a lot of rolling around on the floor, so you need to ensure you are working on a soft surface. TPE and rubber provide ultimate comfort because they are pliable yet firm. This means that it has a little bit of give to it, but you won’t sink into the floor.

We also liked designs that give the user the option to select a grooved or a smooth top side. Smooth top sides limit possible pressure points, and they won’t dig into your skin the way some ribbed textures have a tendency of doing.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
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expert tips icon
Proprioceptive Feedback

You may have seen this term thrown around when referring to Pilates. It basically implies the connection that your mind has with the muscles you are using. Pilates helps strengthen this relationship, and in turn, helps you gain improved control over your body.

Origins

Invented by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, it was originally referred to as Controloogy. It was designed as a type of ‘medical gymnastics’ to help alleviate chronic pain and enhance overall performance.

Joint Health

Pilates is a great exercise for those with joint problems such as RA. With low impact movements, users strengthen key muscles that can help take the pressure off of joints.

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

The difference between a yoga mat and Pilates mat boils down to a matter of thickness. You can try and use your old faithful yoga mat for your next Pilates class, but you are in for a rude awakening. While yoga mats will keep you firmly in place, they aren’t thick enough to provide any cushioning from the floor.

In Pilates, you spend a lot of your time on the floor holding difficult poses. If you find that your tailbone is digging into a hard surface, you are less likely to hold the pose for as long as you can. Plus, you spend a lot of time on your back, so a lot of padding ensures that your spine is protected.

Pilates is a great way to give your tired joints a break while still fitting in a really great workout that can help strengthen your core. It is a wonderful supplemental workout on your off days for long distance runners. A nice and comfortable Pilates mat is a must for anyone serious about their training!

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What makes a Pilates mat different from other mats?

a:

For the most part, a lot of the materials used as well as the dimensions remain the same. There is just one big difference between a Pilates mat and your average yoga mat, and it has to do with the thickness. You want a mat that is a lot thicker than your standard yoga mat for a few reasons.

First of all, yoga mats are typically ¼ of an inch or thinner because you are doing a lot of standing and balancing. If your mat is too thick, you will have issues with holding your balance. However, a lot of Pilates routines take place right on the ground- so stability isn’t a big issue.

Many users engage in pilates to give their tired joints a break, so you want a Pilates mat that is soft and comfortable. This means that you want a mat that is about ½ of an inch or thicker. Most Pilates mats measure to be around ½ of an inch thick, and some models even measure to be about 1 inch thick.

q: Will it fit into my yoga mat bag?

a:

The bad news here is that a lot of these styles out there on the market are a little too thick for many of the standard yoga mats bags. While the dimensions are the same (around 24 inches wide and 70 inches long), the problem lies in the depth of the mat.

Most yoga mat bags are designed to hold mats that measure to be under ¼ of an inch. However, if you have a yoga mat bag that is built more like a tote rather than a completely zippered enclosure, you may have a little more luck.

Many of the thicker options out there on the market provide a pair of straps that wrap around the unit and have a strap to carry it. This means that you can roll up your unit at the end of class, cinch it closed with the included straps, and be on your way. Just be sure to check to see if your Pilates mat offers this feature because not all of them include these straps with purchase.

q: Are they easy to clean?

a:

Pilates is just a series of simple isolated movements, but you can really work up a sweat in very little time! This means that they will get gross and sweaty pretty fast. To reduce the risk of being the smelly person in your next Pilates class, it is important that you clean them frequently.

The good news here is that clean up is fairly quick and easy. We suggest carrying around a small bottle of mat spray and a small towel in your gym bag to use after every class. Simply spray down the surface of your Pilates mat, wipe it down with a dry cloth, and wait for it to dry. These formulas are made to dry pretty quickly, so it should be dry and ready to go by the time you finish lacing up your sneakers.

If you don’t have any mat spray on hand, there are other things you can use as well. After every class, you can simply wipe it down with a damp cloth, and then dry it with a clean terry cloth towel. If there are some set in stains that are driving you crazy, add just a little bit of gentle detergent to your water to scrub away the problem areas.

q: What type of features should I look for?

a:

Yoga and Pilates are very different movements, therefore you should keep an eye out for a few special features. While these two types of mats are very similar, a few key differences will make all the difference in the world.

The first thing you should look for is designs that have ribbed or beveled edges on at least one side. It isn’t necessary for both sides to be ribbed, but you want to make sure that at least one side is textured. This ensures that the mat will stay firmly in place as you roll around on the floor. Dual ribbed sides is also a great tool to get a good grip on the mat as well.

Thickness is also another thing to keep in mind. If your joints are in much need of a break, you want to opt for a very thick model. Some designs measure in at about 1 inch thick, which is great for staying comfortable and really protecting your joints.

Before you run out and buy the thickest model that you can find, it is important to note that there are some disadvantages of thicker Pilates mats. First, if you are doing any standing routines, you will have a harder time holding your balance. Also, they won’t fit in most standard size yoga mat bags and are a little more difficult to travel with.

q: What do I need to wear?

a:

We recommend wearing tight-fitting clothing such as a supportive sports bras, tight tops, and workout leggings to be able to see your body master each pose.

To ensure that you can really dig into each pose, it is important that you can really grip the mat with your hands and feet. Most of these designs are made from a tacky material, so wearing socks will be a little less than ideal.

To ensure that you maintain a good grip, we recommend that you leave your socks next to your sneakers, or you can opt for a great pair of yoga shoes as well. Pilates is all about mastering the form, and you can’t master your form if your feet are constantly slipping out from under you!

Sources

  1. Kris Heeter, What Is the Difference Between Yoga Mats & Pilates Mats?, Blog
  2. Richard Weil, MEd, CDE, Pilates, Medical Journal