Should I Put a Mat Under My Elliptical?

Fit woman working out on the cross trainer
A woman works out on an elliptical machine in a gym (Image: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images)

Elliptical trainers are types of fitness equipment designed for total body workouts. Although individual styles vary, these machines combine the effort and motion of stair climbers and traditional treadmills. Arm bars with hand grips allow you to work the muscles in your arms and shoulders. An elliptical mat, which is a floor mat that fits under the base of an elliptical machine, serves to fulfill a number of purposes.

Noise Reduction

Vibration is a problem when using elliptical machines, especially for individuals who weigh over 200 pounds. The continual movement during use tends to create noise in the machine’s components, as well as vibration against bare floors. An elliptical mat helps absorb the vibrations and muffles the noise.

Floor Protection

Depending on the brand and model, elliptical machines may weigh several hundred pounds. Placing an elliptical mat between the carpet and the machine serves to evenly distribute the weight and minimize fiber crushing. Many elliptical machines have rubber gripper pads on the base. While these pads can help protect hardwood floors from the slight movements of the machine, an elliptical mat provides an additional layer of protection, helping to guard against scratches in tile and wood flooring.

Stability of the Elliptical

The relatively small base on some elliptical machines allows them to rock during use, especially on hard floors. Larger people may notice this rocking motion more than smaller people, especially if the machine is lacking the rubber gripper pads. An elliptical mat helps cushion the base and acts to stabilize the unit during use.

Considerations in Using Mats

Although elliptical mats are not essential components during an elliptical workout, they allow you to focus on your routine. The placement and design of your elliptical are the most important factors in deciding whether you need to purchase a mat for your machine. A small person who works out on a solid concrete floor, such as a garage or basement floor, and uses a large elliptical that contains sturdy gripper pads on the base may have less need for an elliptical mat than a larger person using a machine with a small base that rocks and vibrates. Many elliptical pads cost less than 50 dollars, making them a relatively inexpensive investment compared to the hundreds or thousands of dollars spent on the elliptical machine.

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