Home Gym Buildout: Mats

Building out a home gym on a budget doesn’t need to be too complicated. If you missed the blogs from last week, here are the first four pieces of equipment I would buy if I were turning my garage into a gym:

  1. Dumbbells
  2. Gymnastic Rings
  3. Rower
  4. Barbell + Bumper Plates

The last item in this “5-Piece Starter Kit” that I would purchase are horse stall mats.

What Size?

There are a lot of different types and sizes of gym flooring. I’ve used almost all of them and can confidently say that the best are horse stall mats. You want the 4’x6′ mats that are 3/4-inch thick.

If you buy a smaller size, they move around during metcons unless they are pressed up against a wall. If you buy thinner mats, they fold over on top of each other (and don’t protect the concrete as much as you’d like). The last thing you want in your garage of basement gym is to break up some of the concrete from dropping the bumper plates.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do buy an EZ Grip Mat Mover. They aren’t a necessary tool to add to your home gym, but gosh they make it incredibly easy to move around mats.

Don’t buy the 25′ or 50′ rolls of mats for the sheer fact that they are back-breaking to move.

If you ever have a water leak in your basement or rain get inside of your garage, you want to be able to move the flooring around quickly and easily.

Do buy at least two horse stall mats.

Don’t outfit the entire basement (or garage) with mats.

Mats range around $75/piece at Tractor Supply and can add up quickly if you’re not careful. If you don’t have a budget, go for it–it looks cooler to have the whole floor the same.

But my parent’s garage is 500-square feet back home in Ohio. I only bought them 2, 4’x6′ mats, and it’s plenty. On reunions when all of my siblings get together, we sometimes have 8 people in the garage working out together. The person doing burpees or weightlifting uses the mats, while everyone else uses the cement floor.

If you want more space, a thicker “yoga”-type mat that works great is this one from Rogue. You can also use it for sit-ups or handstand push-ups.


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