BJJ Mats 101: Buying, Setting Up And Cleaning


Do you know what is the thing that keeps a BJJ academy running? Most likely, you’ll get several different answers to this question. Most of them will be correct, however, you won’t find the answer we’re looking for today among them. That answer is BJJ mats. Imagine having to train without mats. That is not going to be a pleasant experience, to put it mildly. Well, the role of the mats doesn’t just stop there. Apart from making BJJ training possible, they’re also important in hygiene, safety, and even appearances. Tо that extent, today we’ll cover everything you need to know about buying, setting up, and cleaning BJJ mats, whether it is a tan academy or at home.

We do take BJJ mats for granted, until such time as they start giving way. This s inevitable and even the best of the best will require a change after a certain while. The whole thing is to extend that “while” to last as long as possible. Have you ever stuck a toe in between old mats when rolling? Iф you have, you know the pain and subsequent reserve that comes with every other roll. Moreover, if you’ve been on the receiving end of a staph or ringworm infection you’ll value the importance of clean mats even more. That said, if you’re rеally a BJJ nut you might end up with BJJ mats at home, meaning you’ll be exposed to them on a daily basis. IN that sense, let’s see how you can do everything correctly.

BJJ Mats 101: What You Need To Know

BJJ mats are different from mats for other martial arts. While you may think Judo, Wrestling, or even Karate mats might do, you’re mistaken. Yes, you might train if thereќс nothing else available, but you’ll have to sacrifice a lot of comforts and even risk injury if you do. A big part of what makes BJJ mats so different is the material.

IN general, there are two parts to any type of Jiu-Jitsu mats. Here’s a core, and there’s an outer layer. Both of them have to up to standards, pretty high ones, in order to make grappling training possible. In the best-case scenario, the core is made out of foam that’s highly resistant and has the capability of impact resorption. Polyethylene or EVA foam is the most common since they offer closed-cell foams that also repel water. The outer material can vary largely, but it has to fulfill certain criteria. It is crucial that the material is non-slip, durable, and easy to clean. Plus, if they’re puzzle mats, they have to fit tightly and perfectly.

Speaking of type, in BJJ, the most common types are tatami or smooth, in terms of texture. The tatami ones have extra grip as a result of a specially textured surface. Smooth ones are similar to wrestling mats and are better used with shoes. Furthermore, you can have puzzle mats, which are pretty self-explanatory, folding mats, or rollout mats. This last type seems to become more and more popular as of late.

Setting Up Your Mat Space

When it comes to setting up BJJ mats, you‘ll actually need a bit of patience. Whether it is a little or extreme amounts of it, depends on thе type of mats you choose. Puzzle mats, for example, will test the patience even of people that have achieved Zen mastery. Rollout mats are much easier to set up, on the other hand. However, both these types of mats come with drawbacks and advantages, so you’ll need to choosе according to your needs. One example is whether you “ll be using them at home or in a gym. For home use, nothing beats puzzle pats.

Easy to Clean Martial MMA Judo Tatami Mat Bjj Gi MMA Taekwondo Mat Tatami Judo Mats - BJJ Mats 101: Buying, Setting Up And CleaningThe basic rule oф thumb is mat size. The bigger the mat surface is of individual mats, the fewer mats you’ll require. The benefit here is that you’ll have fewer seems, which are potential cracks that are causes of finger and toe injuries. There are different sized mats out there and you’ll need to choose according to the space you have available. IN terms of academies, rollout mats are by far the best option, although folding mats will do also. They have the capability of covering huge areas without any seems whatsoever (in the case of rollout mats). Puzzle mats can be used too but will take a lot of tinkering to setup.

Moreover, with puzzle mats, once you set them up, you can’t ever remove them and then attempt to reassemble them. With time, these mats tend to widen and will never ever be able to fit together smoothly again. Finally, you can consider combinations. If you have old mats, or too many cracks and seams, you can use a rollout cover canvas, like those used in wrestling. Keep in mind though, that this means you lose all texture, increasing the risk of slip-related injuries.

Essentials Of Mat Hygiene

If you’ve never had to deal with a skin infection, particularly one from dirty mats, consider yourself lucky. Moreover, never seek that particular experience out – you don’t need it. That said, BJJ mats, particularly those in academies, require constant care and attention. As such, you’ll have to clean them up on a daily basis, if you want them to last. And even the cleanup has to be specific so that you do not destroy the outer layer of the mats.

Apart from the obvious dangers of skin diseases (which we’ll get into soon), you also have to factor in wear and tear. The less you take care of your mats, the sooner they’ll tear and break up. In fact, the surface area can easily crack and give way, making each contact with them a painful experience. In other cases, parts of the mats can get torn off leaving huge gaps in the mat area. Apart from becoming sources of injuries, these torn and cracked mats also become the perfect breeding ground for germs. Ringworm, staph, even MRSA can lay hidden in these cracks, particularly if a large number of people frequent each day. Combine that with the high moisture from sweat and the temperature of gyms and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.

Even at home, the same rules apply – you have to be diligent with mat hygiene. Otherwise, if it is not ringworm or staph it may be mold or fungi that decide to all your BJJ mats home. And that’s not an easy thing to get rid of.

If you’re looking to safeguard yourself from common gym germs, then make sure you use one of the best BJJ soaps available.

Cleaning The Mats

The best way to maintain pristine BJJ mats is a two-fold process: First, you vacuum them thoroughly, and then, you proceed to wipe them with some disinfectant. In terms of frequency, after all, classes end are over is a must.

In terms of the first part, there’s nothing to it. Grab a vacuum machine that’s strong enough to pull particles from the seams and corners and be thorough. The goal here is to remove every solid piece of debate that’s on the mats. That includes skin cells, hair, pieces of finger tape, and other stuff that’s commonly found in grappling gyms after practice. Conversely, dry mopping or sweeping can also do the trick.

How To Clean Jiu Jitsu Mats - BJJ Mats 101: Buying, Setting Up And CleaningThe second part is where you can actually go wrong. The most important thing here is choosing the right cleaning agent. Get something too strong, and you’ll damage the mats, actually achieving the opposite effect. Choose something too weak, and germs will survive and even thrive. Finally, whatever you choose mustn’t be harmful to the skin of people, as there will always be residue left, albeit in trace amounts. The top picks are bleach (diluted in between 1:100 and 1:10), or other commercial synthetic cleaners like Lysol, Odoban, Pine-sol, etc.

Out of them all, bleach is the cheapest and safest bet, unless you get the concentration wrong. Then, it’ll damage your mats beyond recognition. You could also go all-natural with stuff like baking soda and vinegar but its’ too much of a hassle. Conversely, the simplest solution is a soap and water solution, which’s always reliable.

Finally, make sure you spread the solution everywhere. The best choice is a sprinkler of some kind that can spray it, but you might also use professional machines. Finally, make sure you mop it all up carefully and diligently.

Best BJJ Mats For Your Academy

When it comes to academics, you need to think about which BJJ mats you use before you even open the school. Still, in some cases, this is not possible. If that is the case, look to use a rollout canvas type mat, like those find in wrestling to reduce the cost of having to redo the entire gym. If you can, however, then try and invest ina rollout mats, as you can do so much more with them than puzzle mats.

Otherwise, puzzle mats need to be your second choice, before folding mats, Folding mats are easier to set up and remove, and even clean, but they tend to leave large cracks since they’re quite thick. That means that you’ll have to also find a canvas to cover them if you want to forget about the mats and roll freely. Keep in mind that every time you use a cover canvas you make cleaning alto easier, as you can even take it out to wash if you need to.

IncStores – Jumbo Soft Interlocking BJJ Mats

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IncStores makes some of the best possible mats for Brazilian JIu-JItsu out there. IN terms of choosing atop product for your academy, you definitely can’t go wrong with their Jumbo Interlocking Puzzle Mats. IN fact, they call them Foam Tiles, which is a perfect name for these huge mats. They’re also not named Jumbo for no reason – they’re much bigger than usual ones, meaning you’ll need only a few to cover an entire gym floor.

These mats come in two different color designs. Moreover, they feature reversible colors, meaning each side has a different one. This doubles the mats’ longevity, provided you can place them back in place. The colors in question are black and grey, and red and blue. The solution for the fitting issue is definitely an original one – with two detachable edge pieces on each. That can easily turn any mat into a corner, middle, or border one. The outside is special textured material that guarantees no slippage and easy cleaning, the cor is made from lightweight, non-toxic EVA foam that is highly durable. They come with a 1-year warranty.Amazon preorder - BJJ Mats 101: Buying, Setting Up And Cleaning

Get Rung Martial Art Puzzle Mats

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Get Rung mats are also a great choice for any grappling or martial art gym. They are a simpler and cheaper option compared to the INcStores Puzzle mats. However, they are no less comfortable, effective, and easy to set up and maintain. Speaking of which, they offer a sturdy design available in three different color designs. These are the mats you commonly see in BJ Jacademies across the world.

The Get Rung Puzzle Mats are available in 40″ x 40″ x 1″ dimensions. That provides lots of thickness while also allowing them to be lightweight. The three colors available are fully black, full red, and full blue. Conversely, you can do combinations of them all if you want to and order different colors. In terms of material, what you get is a shock-absorbing and durable EVA foam core, with a waterproof, non-toxic latex-free surface. The mats have an outer texture that helps them achieve the highest safety rankings. Very easy to clean and extremely durable.Amazon preorder - BJJ Mats 101: Buying, Setting Up And Cleaning

AK Athletics 12′ x 12′ Roll-Out Wrestling Mat

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Let’s move on to some different options than puzzle mats. If you have the option of choosing rollout mats then you absolutely have to go for it. Out of all the rollout mats available, for large area academies, AK Athletics offers one of the best options. It comes in the form of their 12’ x 12’ rollout mats that are primarily intended for wrestling.

These mats are not just perfect on their own, but also as a cover for already worn-out puzzle mats. Coming in at only 1 //8 inches thick, they’re just the right size for grappling and throwing training. Moreover, they come in three blocks of 4’ x 12’ that makes them extremely easy to set up. The design features two red circles on a black background that marks a traditional wrestling area. The material is shock absorbent polyethylene foam that’s pretty much indestructible. Unlike most wrestling mats, the outside vinyl layer has a texture guaranteeing high safety standards. Lead, latex and BPA free, and available at exceptionally great prices.Amazon preorder - BJJ Mats 101: Buying, Setting Up And Cleaning

IncStores Roll Out Wrestling And BJJ Mats

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Speaking of roll-out mats, let’s circle back to INcStore. These guys are not messing around, and they have different types of mats for any occasion. Similar to their puzzle mats, the Inc Roll Out mats are of pure quality. On top of it, they also have a perfect design and are tailor-made to fit the needs of BJJ academies. Moreover, they’re the most versatile of the bunch, coming in at 9 different colors and in three different sizes.

Speaking of versatility, the colors include black, yellow, green, gray, maroon, navy, blue, purple, and red. Sizes available range between 4’ x 6’ x 1 5/8”, 5’ x 9’ x 1 5/8” and 5’ x 10’ x 1 1/4 “. That means you can use them in a commercial gym of any size. These BJJ mats are extremely easy for transport, setup, and storage. Moreover, they come with special amt tape that covers all the cracks, helping you achieve a perfect surface. Still, they have texture to the outside ensuring no slippage even when wet. The mats are also waterproof, odor-resistant, and extremely shock-absorbent.

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Z-Athletic Folding Panel Mats

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The final contender when it comes to the perfect BJJ mats for academies and large areas are the Z-Atheltic folding mats. These are not always a common choice for BJJ, but if you set them upright, you can actually get a surface unlike any other. Using a bit of mat tape to cover cracks here is a great hack. However, these particular mats are actually designed to remove the dangers of cracks and seams that usual folding mats bring.

There are four colors available in black, blue punk, and purple. Moreover, there are three sizes, ranging between 4’ x 12’, 5’ x 10’, and 4’ x 10’ to fit everyone’s needs. All of the mats have the same thickness of 2 inches. The professional design of these BJJ mats guarantees durability and safety. The core is made of breakthrough high-density cross-linked polyethylene foam. The outside is vinyl that has a special texture to ti providing extra softness. The mats are expandable and use a hook and loop system to stay together and reduce seem sizes. These mats come with a two-year warranty.

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Best BJJ Mats For Home Use

Having a mat area at home is actually not that daft of an idea. Personally, I have an entire room outfitted like this. This means you can drill solo whenever you feel like it, or roll around with friends. However, even in a home setting, BJJ mats require attention. The best part about home mats is that you’ll rarely have to go corner to corner with them. That means that you can take them out, even if they’re puzzle mats, and clean them any way you want to. However, do not forget to use disinfectant solutions, just like you would in an academy. Another aspect of cleaning mats at an academy is odor retention. In a commercial area, you might never get rid of certain smells. However, at home, you can easily take the mats outside to make sure you get rid of everything.

WF Atheltic High-Density Puzzle Mats

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While you can freely use any of the mats above at home, it is usually much easier to choose a smaller and cheaper version. However, you should still aim for quality. A great option is the WF Atheltic High-Density Puzzle mats They are versatile, affordable and extremely comfortable for home use that includes anything, from Yoga to Grappling or MMA training.

The colors available are black-red and grey-blue, and they come in a two-sided format. Just like with the INcStore ones, this actually means they’ll last you double the amount of time compared to others. The material is high-density EVA foam with a 3-D diamond texture on the outside. This provides both the prefect cushion as well as a non-slip surface. They’re very easy to clean and offer adjustable coverage. Very lightweight and easy to transport and assemble. The dimensions are 22.3” x 22.3″ x 0.5″.

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Polar Aurora Folding BJJ Mats

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High density,. cool looking, affordable mats that you can easily remove after training. What more could you want for your home gym? The Polar Aurora mats fit this description to a T. They are available in 10 colors, and are designed to be extremely portable. Plus, all the materials used for their design are of the utmost quality.

TH colors in question range from purple, through camo, and even tree color ones. The material is EPE eco-friendly foam and durable PU leather on the outside. The foam guarantees they’re soft, yet have amazing impact absorption qualities. The leather is highly durable, long-lasting and very easy to keep clean. They come in dimensions 4’x8’x2″. They’re very easy to fold and unfold and even have handles for easy transport. Furthermore, Velcro straps help latch different mats to each other, making for a very tight and secure training surface.

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EZ Flex Home Rollout Mats

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Finally, a rollout mats option for your home gym. The EZ Flex BJJ mats are the perfect way of ensuring you have a gym-quality training surface at home, with absolutely no hassle. IN fact, you can use this type of mats as a glorified Yoga mat. The roll-up and can e stored as a Yoga mat, but actually have all the best characteristics of top-grade BJJ mats fir for any academy.

The EZ Rollout mats are available in 4 different colors: black, blue, grey, and red. All of them feature a carpeted type surface, meaning you can leave them on your floor full time. As such, they’re perfect for grappling as they provide grip without any of the burns that regular carpets do, Moreover, special foam ensures they have the necessary thickness (1-3/8″) and shock absorption for training. Easy to roll out and put together, and includes a storage strap. Perfect for home use.

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Final Words

Whatever the case might be, when it comes to BJJ mats you need t know two things. First up, make sure you get some of the best, for which you can use our complete guide. Next, focus on using them correctly and more importantly, keeping them clean and in pristine condition. That way, you’ll get the most out of your mats without any of the possible risks. If you’re using them at home, you have a slightly easier task compared to an academy, However, it all boils down to responsible use, and enforcing the rules of personal hygiene tom ake sure the mats remain clean even when people are on them.