What is a Tumbling Mat?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Tumbling mats are padded floor mats used in areas set aside for children to play as well as with a number of sports activities. The mats are available in a number of sizes and shapes, making it easy to locate the right type of floor mat for the home, a gym or for a professional competition. A tumbling mat is also helpful when performing various types of exercises.

In design, the tumbling mat is usually composed of a shell made from material that is non-porous and durable. Vinyl, rubber, and similar materials are common options. The shell covers foam padding the serves as a protective layer between the individual on the mat and the surrounding flooring. While the shell of sturdy rubber mats utilized in sports competitions tend to be a neutral color, it is also possible to purchase a mat with bright coloring.

One of the more common examples of the tumbling mat is the larger and thicker mat used during gymnastics workouts and competitions. Considered an essential piece of gymnastic equipment, the foam included in the mats is thicker than many other types of mat pads. A gymnastics mat is usually configured into large square sections that can be folded for easy transport and storage. Other designs for these types of mats are similar to a large rug and are stored in large rolls when not in use.


A tumbling mat appropriate for use during gymnastics also works well for wrestling competitions. The thicker padding helps to cushion the contestants as they attempt to employ different holds and ultimately pin their opponent to the mat. Because of the non-porous nature of the mats, they can easily be cleaned after a match is completed. With proper care, the mats will last for several years even with consistent use.

Foam mats designed for use by children are also common. With this version of the tumbling mat, the focus is providing a comfortable place for children to play with their toys. Play mats of this type often feature bright colors, or are patterned to match with different designs of children’s furniture. A tumbling mat may be designed as a fun interlocking play mat, somewhat like the pieces of a puzzle. Each piece may be a different color, making it possible for the child to also enjoy changing the pieces around from time to time.

Any tumbling mat can also serve as an exercise mat. Whether at home or at a health spa, personal mats are normally large enough to provide padding between the individual and the bare floor. A mat often makes performing exercises like sit-ups or push-ups much more comfortable.

The tumbling mat is also used while participating in the sport of tumbling. Found in many schools, the mats are part of the equipment maintained by physical education departments. The padding helps to shield tumblers from injuring elbows, knees, or other parts of the body when learning how to perform various tumbling maneuvers.

Purchasing a tumbling mat for home use is easy to accomplish. Many sporting goods retailers carry mats appropriate for various physical activities. Stores carrying children’s toys often have play mats or the interlocking pads that can be used to create a unique tumbling mat. Thicker mats that are intended for use in school physical fitness programs or sports competitions tend to be more expensive, while mats for home use are relatively inexpensive.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?