- The /shop/lulu-mat-prox-pole-dance-mat/”>Lulu Mat ProX is also 1600 mm wide – a perfect fit for the X-Stage, and it’s also ideal for smaller rooms. The mat is 200 mm (8") thick, giving some pretty serious impact protection should the worst happen.
- The /shop/lulu-mat-xtreme-pole-dance-mat/”>Lulu Mat Xtreme is, well, pretty extreme – it’s a huge mat (2750 mm or 9' wide) that offers the ultimate protection for advanced pole artists and aerial performers. At 360 mm (14") thick, it has a maximum fall height of 10 m, making it suitable for even the tallest poles.
Why pole dance mats?
Pole dance mats are a great concept. They help protect against the most obvious (and probably greatest) danger in pole dancing: falling off the pole. As pole dancing matures as a sport, more and more schools and individual dancers are thinking about keeping themselves and their students safe from falls.
Mats can also be a great motivator. Teaching with a mat has also given many of my students the courage to try moves that I know they can do, but which they don’t yet believe they can do themselves.
Over the past few years of teaching and performing, I’ve had the chance to use quite a few different pole mats. Many of these mats contained good ideas and nice features, but none of them seemed like ideal pole dance mat.
And this set me thinking: How could the pole dance mats I’ve seen and used be improved? What makes a perfect pole dance mat?
For me, the perfect pole dance mat will do two things
- Protect you if you fall
- Get out of the way when you’re practising or performing
We’ve spent the last three months developing the Lulu Mat with the suppliers of crash mats to all the British Athletics and Olympic events. And I think the mat we created – designed for pole dancers by pole dancers, and backed up with the technical expertise from one of the UK’s leading crash mat manufacturers – does pretty well at both of those things.
Protecting against falls – a thick pole dance mat
The Lulu Mat comes in three different thicknesses, all with different critical fall heights. The Home mat is 25 mm (1") thick and has a critical fall height of 2 m; the Pro and ProX mats are 200 mm (8") thick and have a fall height of 4 m; and the Xtreme mat is 360 mm (14") thick, with a fall height of 10 m.
Critical fall heights are not really much fun to talk about. We have another post on mats coming up that goes into this in more detail, but basically it means you are unlikely to die or suffer serious injury if you fall from below that height. It doesn’t mean that it won’t hurt, even if you fall less far than that.
I know this isn’t particularly pleasant to discuss, but it’s important to know when you can use Lulu Mats safely. Unlike more established sports, there are no standards that apply to pole dance mats. I haven’t come across any other pole mats suppliers that talk about critical fall heights either, and I think that’s a problem. We want to be very upfront about what the mats can (and can’t) do.
To be safe, the best approach is to calculate the maximum fall height for your pole and then add a generous safety margin. If your pole is long enough for you to find your waist close to 2 m above the ground, get a Pro or ProX mat. If you can climb all the way up to 4 m on your pole, get an Xtreme mat.
Kate and Annie, the gorgeous girls in the photos, practised drops during the shoot from about 2 m onto the Pro mat and from the top of our pole (just over 3 m) onto the Xtreme mat without incident. Though if you want to do the same, please start low and work your way up…
Protecting against falls – a big pole dance mat
Because it doesn’t matter how good the mat is if you miss it when you fall. The Home and ProX Lulu Mats are 1600 mm in diameter, wide enough for most poles and pole moves. (A 1600 mm mat is actually getting on for twice the size of the 1200 mm mats I’ve seen elsewhere.) Both these mats also fit the X-Stage perfectly, making them aesthetically-pleasing dance mats for podium poles – no missing bits or floppy overhangs!
If you’re lucky enough to have a high pole or the skills to perform hyperextended advanced moves like the Extended Butterfly, the Pro mat is 2130 mm (7') in diameter, and the Xtreme mat comes in at a massive 2750 mm (9').
Getting out of the way – walking on the mat
When they’re not stopping falls, we wanted to make the mats as unobtrusive and, well, floor-like as possible. All Lulu Mats have a firm top surface so you can walk on the mat without sinking in or tripping up. This also lets you get close to the pole if you’re teaching or spotting someone.
One annoying limitation I’ve found with many pole mats is that it’s not possible to use them her pole studio.)