Flooring. Although extremely important, flooring is often the least considered element of a home gym. Most homeowners simply make due with what is already installed, but this can be a huge mistake. Exercising on flooring that does not provide adequate cushioning and traction exposes the body to undue stress and possible injury.
High impact workouts naturally require high impact flooring that offers substantial absorption of energy and stability. The use of machines also requires special flooring. Although the machines will be taking more impact than the floor, a protective covering for the flooring such as a rubber or thick foam mat will be needed under the machines.
When selecting the gym’s overall flooring, four factors should be considered: softness, traction, expense and cleanup.
Carpet is a possibility for a home gym, but standard home carpet with a high pile should be avoided. Thick carpet makes it difficult to get the gym equipment to rest flat, making the equipment unstable. A low-pile, heavy duty carpet meant for high traffic areas makes a better flooring option for a home gym. However, rubber flooring is the option preferred by most experts.
Rubber flooring offers the softness of carpet, but provides better traction and cleanup. There are three basic types of rubber flooring: mats, interlocking tiles and rolled rubber.
Rubber mats are the least expensive option in rubber flooring and range in thickness from ½-inch to ¾-inch in thickness. Rubber mats are highly durable and generally come in a few basic colors such as black, blue and tan. Thicker mats are ideal for exercises that place significant stress on the body. For placement under machines, ½-inch thick mats are sufficient.
Interlocking tiles are easy to install, wear well and can be inexpensively replaced if one becomes damaged. They usually range from 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch in thickness and come in a variety of colors. They are generally stable, absorb impact well and can be reconfigured whenever necessary.
Rolled rubber is the most expensive option in rubber flooring and comes in a variety of thickness. It is good for covering large areas and is available in 70-foot or 80-foot sheets that are four feet wide. Seams are almost invisible.
Up next? Creating the Perfect Home Gym, Part III: Equipment!
Image sources: 1) HGTV, 2) Value Carpet Online, 3) Dynamic Fitness Solutions.