A pole dance safety mat, or crash pad as they're sometimes called, is definitely a good idea once you're ready to start learning intermediate and advanced tricks. Especially if you're learning on your own at home from a DVD or other DIY method, a crash mat can be a real life saver...no pun intended!
But what exactly is a pole dance safety mat, you may ask?
It's basically a gymnastics mat with a hole in the middle so it wraps around your dance pole.
The idea is that should you take a fall from your pole, your mat provides a cushion directly underneath where you are most likely to land.
Most are round, but occasionally a square or rectangular model pops up. They are generally sectioned so as to fold up for storage, and better ones even have handles to make carrying easier.
Of course it's always a good idea to have a spotter when learning inversions and advanced aerial moves.
But you'll feel even more comfortable if you know there's a soft landing waiting for you in case you (or your spotter) slips up.
And if you're learning at home, or in any situation where a spotter is not available, a crash pad really is a necessity for your safety.
When shopping for a suitable mat, it's important to know that the quality and features can vary widely.
A 2" thickness is the bare minimum you should aim for, but thicker is generally better. And studios will definitely want a 4"-6" thickness as these mats are going to get a lot more use.
If you're a studio owner, be aware that your insurance policy may stipulate the minimum thickness of your crash pads, as well as acceptable materials and construction.
Here's an example of a mat that fits the bill. This particular mat is available in 4' and 5' diameters (4" and 5" thick respectively).
The larger size is nice for providing extra stretching room on the floor without that awkward "half on and half off the mat" feeling.
It also provides a wider landing area, which can be important
when learning moves that take your center of gravity farther away from
Constructed with a high quality EPE foam core and a tough vinyl exterior, it's easy to clean and provides excellent cushioning.
This particular mat works with all brands of dance poles, though if you are wanting to fit your mat to a platform or stage pole, be sure to measure the diameter of your stage or base in order to ensure a size match. You sure don't want a 5' diameter mat on a 4' diameter base!
Another good option is this similar mat from Lupit Pole.
It comes in two thicknesses, 8 cm (just over 3") and 12 cm (approx 4.5") and has a diameter just shy of 5 feet.
Made with the same high quality foam interior and easy-to-clean exterior fabric, it's main advantage is the larger standard diameter.
Just like the mat described above, the Lupit mat fits any pole, folds up quickly for easy storage, and is easy to carry with the attached handles.
But the best thing about the Lupit pole dance safety mat just might be the colour choices!
Available in basic black as well as fucshia, gold and silver, there's a mat for every mood here.
If you're a "pretty shiny thing" kind of person, the gold or silver option might just convince you that safety really IS sexy!
If you're trying to be safety conscious on a tight budget, there are thinner mats available at a significant cost savings. These may be suitable for home use where they will likely see less use, but in general are not recommended for studios and may void your insurance (check with your insurance provider on this though).
This mat is similar to the one above, but it's approximately 2 inches thick, vs the 4 or 5 inch thickness you'll get with a more expensive option.
It's made with the same high quality foam and durable vinyl covering, folds up for easy storage and comes complete with carrying handles.
The only significant difference is the thickness. Your Pole Pal can't recommend what's right for you, but this particular crash pad may be an option for the budget conscious pole dancer.