Those Rubber Mats that You've Been Wondering About

I've been getting  a lot of questions about those rubber mats in the outdoor lifting area at the new Dinosaur Dungeon. So let's answer them.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

If you're a regular reader, I assume you've
been looking at my Instagram photos from
time to time.

If not, you should check them out - they're
right here:

For example, here's a recent video from a
workout where I was doing some power

Power snatches in the outdoor lifting area at Dino Headquarters. The hard rubber mats provide better footing and support for snatches, cleans and jerks.

And here's a photo from another snatch

The starting position for the power snatch. I'm using a double layer of mats in this photo. When I do split style snatches or split style jerks I use one layer of mats and move a mat behind me so my back foot will land on it in the split. (See next photo.)

Using an additional mat, positioned so I can do split snatches or split jerks.

I post lots of photos and videos from my
workouts. Mainly Olympic lifting workouts,
because that's what I enjoy the most.

Now, don't be confused. I've posted other
pictures from a different home gym. That
was at our old house. A great gym, but
we don't live there anymore.

The old gym in the garage at our old house.

We sold our house, downsized in a major
way, and moved into a two-bedroom top
floor unit in a little duplex not far from
where we used to live.

That was a year ago.

After we moved, I tried training in an old,
hole in the wall gym not far away - but I
just don't like training in gyms.

Too loud, too noisy, too many distractions.

So I set up shop at home.

I do squats in the basement.

I also can do pulls in the basement.

Can't do overhead work because the
ceiling is too low.

The basement of the new place doubles as laundry room and gym. Yes, I sometimes do laundry and squats at the same time.

The new gym works great for squats and pulls, but it's too low for overhead work.

So whenever the weather permits, I go
outside and do snatches or clean and
jerks in the drive-way.

That's what you see on the Instagram
acct, and that's prompted a lot of

Because I lift on some rubber mats.
and people wonder what they are and
where I got them.

For example:

Hey Brooks,

Looking over your Instagram photos.

Can you talk a bit about those mats
you are using when you lift outside?

What are they? How thick are they?

Where do you get them? Will they
hold up to dropping a loaded


So here's the answer.

The mats are pretty basic.

They're stall mats.

This is Kentucky.

Thoroughbred country.

We have lots and lots of stall mats

And lots of farm supply places in the
rural counties where you can get them.

How thick are they?

1/2 inch thick.

3/4 thick is better, but I got these
for free, so I make do with them.

The gym I mentioned had a ton of
old mats on the floor - some new
owners bought it, and didn't want
all the mats - they were giving
them away - and the manager
let me grab some.

Sometimes I double the mats up
by laying one on top of the other.
That works pretty well.

The mats are small, which is fine.
I use the larger pieces to stand on,
and the smaller pieces to set the
bar (or rather, the plates) on.

I use the mats so I have no-slip
footing, and so I can wear my
Olympic lifting shoes and not
cut them up on concrete, asphalt
or gravel.

Also, the mats provide a bit of
much-needed cushioning for my
feet, ankles, knees and hips when
I do my OL work.

They are NOT thick enough and
strong enough to drop the barbell
on them.

But that's okay.

I don't drop the bar when I train.

I lower it - just like everyone used
to do back in the day when all we
had were iron plates. If you
dropped them, you were likely
to break them - or bend the bar -
or smash the floor or the lifting
platform - so we didn't drop

You really can train without
dropping the weights.

But that's another story and
another issue for another day.

Of course, I store the mats in the
garage, and set them up on the
driveway before every workout.
That way, they're always dry and
clean when it's time to train.

Anyhow, that's the answer.

1/2 inch stall mats.

Basic black. That's the only color
that come in.

The lifting platform in the garage at our old house was perfect. I made it from 3/4 inch plywood sheets (three sheets thick) on top of 3/4 inch rubber mats. I put a strip of 3/4 inch mat along the sides to help protect the wood. It lasted for almost 15 years of hard use.

A lifting platform (such as I had
at my old gym in our old house)
would be better - but I don't have
one, so the mats will have to do
for now.

It's not perfect, but not bad.

And not bad is okay - because
it doesn't have to be perfect.

One of the basic rules of training
(and of life) is this:

Do what you must with what
you have.

That's what I do - and it works.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. We have two great new
e-books on Kindle - and readers
have been loving them:

The Dinosaur Strength Training
Notebook, Vol. 1

Brooks Kubik's Old School
Strength Q and A

If you enjoyed this Blog post, you'll love my Dinosaur Training books and courses. You can get them in PDF and hard-copy editions at my website or in Kindle editions at Amazon. 

For a complete list of my Kindle books, go here: