What is the best thickness for an exercise mat?

There are many things to take into account before investing in an exercise mat. With such a variety to choose from, where do you start?

What is the best thickness for an exercise mat?

Which exercise?

The first thing to consider is what you intend to use the exercise mat for. Will you be performing yoga or Pilates, or do you need your mat for higher impact training? If your exercises involve performing jumping type moves such as burpees, skipping or core exercises such as sit-up and press ups, a thicker exercise mat is the best choice. 6mm, 8mm or 10mm thick mats all provide substantial cushioning to help absorb the shock impact of your exercises on the joints and will help avoid the risk of injury. These mats can also withstand weights being dropped or rested on them without damaging the mat.


Yoga mats tend to be thinner than regular exercise mats and are designed to stop your hands and feet from slipping whilst you perform yoga poses. It’s important to choose a non-slip, tacky mat which will help with this. Yoga is a low impact practice, often performed either barefooted or in soft yoga socks so does not require as much padding as a typical exercise mat and can give a feeling of closeness to the ground. Standard yoga mats are 4mm and provide enough cushioning to protect the knees during poses whilst offering comfort and stability. Hot yoga mats are soft and absorbent, often with a towering fabric to wick away moisture and are available even thinner at 2mm or 3mm thick.


Depending on your height and size, it’s important to pick a mat which suits you personally. Always remember to consider the exercises you will be performing to ensure you will fit on the mat properly. Will you be performing mostly standing, sitting or kneeling exercises or will you be lying down on the mat? Exercise mats vary in size, anything from 60cm -120cm wide and 172cm - 248cm long. Standard yoga mats tend to be 61cm wide and 173cm long.