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What's The Best Flooring For Doing Side Planks?

By Kyle Schurman Created: June, 2021 - Modified: January, 2024

When trying to add a side plank session to an exercise routine, having the right type of flooring can make the workout safer and more enjoyable.

With this type of workout, the athlete will be on the ground the majority of the time, lying on the hip and side of the leg and knee. Flooring with padding will deliver the comfort needed for this type of exercise.

Additionally, because the hand and side of the foot will be supporting the athlete's full weight during the workout, athletes need traction from the flooring to reduce the chances of the hand, foot or elbow sliding out of place. Some of the best options include:

  • Sterling Athletic Rubber Tile
  • Rubber Flooring Roll
  • Premium Martial Arts Karate Mat
  • Premium Foam Kids and Gym Mat
  • Home Gym Pebble Flooring Tile

These rubber flooring options and EVA foam tiles are highly durable, allowing them to stand up to all kinds of workouts, including yoga pose workouts, side plank exercises, and the use of exercise machines.

They will work for installation in a commercial fitness center, in a home gym in a garage, or anything in between.

What Is a Side Plank Exercise?

For side planks, athletes start by lying on their side with the legs stacked. Leave the elbow underneath the shoulder.

Then raise the body off the ground by extending the arm that’s on the ground. At the same time, pull the abdominal muscle back toward the spine, creating a tight and aligned torso. Hold the side plank position for several seconds before lowering the body back to the cushioned flooring.

The goal is to maintain the tight muscles in the abdomen. If they dip or sag, lower the body to the ground. The athlete should have no rotation of the body and twisting of the spine forward either.

This type of exercise has some of the same benefits as a crunch, improving the ab muscles, as well as the obliques. Athletes need to be fit to perform this exercise, as it is an intermediate level of workout.

Are Rubber Floors Good for Side Plank Exercises?

Rubber flooring provides a high level of traction and grip, which is ideal for all kinds of exercise sessions. Athletes don’t have to worry about slipping when using rubber floors.

With a side plank exercise, which places a lot of stress on the hand that’s supporting the weight of the body, the athlete can perform the exercise properly because of the traction the hand receives from the rubber floor.

Sterling Athletic Rubber TileFor a fitness center where durability and cushioning are key considerations, the 2.75-inch thick Sterling Athletic Rubber Tile is an excellent choice. It uses interlocking slots to connect adjacent tiles for a secure layout.

With such a thick design, it can support free weights dropped onto the floor of the fitness center while protecting the subfloor. It also has maximum cushioning for ground-based exercises.

Rubber Flooring RollAs an alternative, the 4-by-10-foot Rubber Flooring Roll is a smart choice for those who want to lay out a rubber floor for the plank exercise session and then roll it back up afterward to place it in storage.

As the roll has only 1/4 inches of thickness, it weighs 49 pounds, making it easier to move in and out of place than thicker rubber rolls.

This roll of rubber flooring has blue or gray flecks of color against the base black color to deliver a nicer look.

Does EVA Foam Provide Cushion for Ground Based Exercises?

Foam is a common type of flooring for use in martial arts studios, kids’ playrooms, and home gyms. Its mixture of cushioning, traction, and durability makes it an ideal selection for workout spaces in both residential and commercial settings.

Premium Martial Arts Karate MatThe Premium Martial Arts Karate Mat has 1 inch of thickness, so it has a high level of cushioning for planking exercises. The EVA foam has excellent traction (once broken in) as well, ensuring athletes will not slip during the controlled movement required for this exercise.

Because of the puzzle style interlocking edge on these mats, one person can handle the installation process alone. A 1-by-1-meter mat (3.28 feet on all four sides) weighs only 8 pounds.

Premium Foam Kids and Gym MatFor a foam tile with bright colors that may inspire you for your workout session, consider the Premium Foam Kids and Gym Mat. This mat has more than a dozen color options, including pink, purple, orange, red, yellow, and light green.

Each tile measures 2 by 2 feet and weighs only 1 pound, so it’s easy to carry several tiles at once. The interlocking edges on the 5/8-inch tiles simplify installation and negate the need for glue.

Home Gym Pebble Flooring TileThe Home Gym Pebble Flooring Tile uses more traditional and neutral colors of gray and black in the EVA foam tile, which may serve the needs of a home gym better when the homeowner wants to leave the flooring in place after the workout session.

These 3/8-inch thick tiles measure 2 by 2 feet and weigh 1.8 pounds apiece. They have a top layer texture that resembles pebbles for excellent traction.