BJJ Mats 101: Buying, Setting Up And Cleaning

Everything About BJJ Mats From Buying To Cleaning
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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 they start giving away. 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? If 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 daily. 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. The material must be 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.

BJJ Mats 101: FittingThe basic rule of 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. Iн 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 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.

BJJ Mats 101: 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 in 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.

Meister Interlocking EVA Foam Mats BJJ Mats

Features: 

  • 100% EVA Foam (non-toxic)
  • Thickest and softest mats available
  • Anti-slip surface
  • Interlocking tiles
  • Fully reversible

Meister makes some of the best possible mats for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu out there. In terms of choosing a top product for your academy, you definitely can’t go wrong with their Interlocking Eva Foam Mats. They are pretty much foam tiles, very easy to put together and use. They also happen to be the thickest and softest mats you can find on the market.

These mats come in six different color designs (black, blue, grey, yellow, red, and green). Moreover, they are fully reversible, essentially doubling the lifespan of the mats. T-pattern surface ensures there is no slipping while training. The mats are completely waterproof and easy to clean. Border pieces are included with every purchase so that you can achieve a smooth uninterrupted training surface. Each mat tile measures 24″ x 24″ and they are 1.5″ (3.8cm) thick.

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Get Rung Martial Art Puzzle Mats

BJJ Mats Home Puzzle MatsFeatures: 

  • Lead and latex-free
  • Solid color
  • Shock absorbing
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight and durable

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 BJJ academies 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.

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Gold Medal Sports Wrestling Mat

Features: 

  • Extra thick quality material
  • Smooth surface
  • Flexi-roll
  • Easy to clean
  • 6-month warranty

Let’s move on to some different options than puzzle mats. If you have the option of choosing a different type of mat then you absolutely have to consider the Gold meal Wrestling mats. It comes in the form of their 10 x 10ft mat that consists of two halves that are easy to roll up and put away, or set up in the first place.

These mats are not just perfect on their own, but also as a cover for already worn-out puzzle mats. Force reduction technology ensures that you can safely train anything on them, from rolling to high-velocity takedowns and throws. Moreover, they come in blocks of 10 x 10 feet that makes them extremely easy to set up. The design features a white circle in the middle, marking a traditional wrestling area, while the background is black.  Unlike most wrestling mats, the outside vinyl layer has a texture guaranteeing high safety standards, all the while being smooth enough so that it doesn’t gather dust. Lead, latex, and BPA free.

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IncStores Roll Out Wrestling And BJJ Mats

Everything BJJ Mats: Rollout mats

Features: 

  • Flexible rolling system
  • Closed-cell EVA foam rubber
  • Durable vinyl surface
  • Shock absorbing
  • Easily portable
  • Velcro strip attachments

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 9 different colors and 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

BJJ Mats - Folding Mats

Features: 

  • Professional design
  • Multifunctional
  • Hook and loop connections
  • High density cross-linked polyethylene foam
  • Non-porous vinyl surface

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 from 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

BJJ Mats Home Puzzle Mats

Features: 

  • High-density EVA Foam
  • 3-D diamond texture
  • Easy to clean and durable
  • Edge pieces included
  • Waterproof
  • 2-color combinations

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 perfect 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

BJJ Mats 101: Folding Mats

Features: 

  • High-Density EPE Foam
  • Easy storage and carrying
  • Durable PU leather
  • Velcro straps
  • Hook and loop closure

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.

The 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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Gxmmat Extra Large Exercise Home Mat

Features: 

  • High Dense Micro-foam
  • Double-sided non-slip surfaces
  • Abrasion and tear-resistant
  • Non-toxic
  • Velcro storage straps and carry bag

Finally, a rollout mat option for your home gym. The Gxmmat 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 mat even as a glorified Yoga mat. They roll up easily and can be stored as a Yoga mat, but actually have all the best characteristics of top-grade BJJ/grappling mats fir for any academy.

The mats are available in 2 different colors: double-sided black, and a purple/gray combination. All of them feature a textured, non-slip surface, that provides excellent grip and comfort. Basically, 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 (7mm.) and shock absorption for training. Easy to roll out and put together, and come with 3 storage straps and a carry bag. Perfect for home use.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How thick should BJJ mats be?

For Jiu-Jitsu training, safety is of paramount importance. While mats do not have to be too thick, given that most of the exchanges take place on the ground they still have to guarantee nobody gets hurt. In that sense, the IBJJF has stated that 1.5-inch mats are the standard for competition. Thinner mats will work for training or home use, but they’ll require a soft surface underneath, like styrofoam.

What size are Jiu-Jitsu mats?

Since you can’t really train BJJ on a restricted surface, in most cases, the dimensions of the space you have to work with will define how many mats you use. ni terms of individual mats, dimensions vary according to type and manufacturer.

How long do BJJ mats last?

The best BJJ mats, like the examples above, will last you for years. Puzzle mats that can be reversed last really long in particular. At the end of the day, both the frequency of use and how you take care of the mats will determine how long they last.

What mats do BJJ gyms use?

For a long time, puzzle mats were the first choice, followed closely by Judo mats in some gyms. Nowadays people opt for rollout mats, or they use wrestling canvas-type mats over puzzle mats or styrofoam to ensure a seamless surface.

What are the best BJJ mats?

Depends on what you’re after. If you’re fitting mats in a small enclosed space at home or in a garage, puzzle mats will give you the most bang for your buck. If you have a larger surface to cover, or a big gym with lots of members, roll out or fold is the way to go. In any case, all of the jiu-jitsu mats reviewed above will not fail you.

What color mats should you get? 

Some gyms have a color that is predetermined by their affiliation. Others go any way they want. Usually, BJJ gyms choose one color mats (blue, or black, or white) to cover the entire gym. Unless specified so by affiliation, you’re free to use whatever you want from a BJJ gym.  Of course, at home, you can do whatever you want with your mats.

What type of BJJ mats is the best? 

IN terms of my personal experience, I’d go with roll-out mats. Judo mats are also great, and puzzle mats do the trick too, but they have the potential of toes getting stuck and twisted where the mats’ edges join together, no matter how snuggly they feel. While wrestling canvases are a solution to this, I find them a bit too slippery for Jiu-Jitsu. Roll-out mats have Velcro tape that ensures there are no edges, plus a textured surface to prevent slipping.

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 to make sure the mats remain clean even when people are on them.

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