Rolling out of bed and walking to the restroom mummy style the morning after a workout is enough to make anyone permanently revert back to couch potato status—that’s if they don’t use a foam roller. Not the ol’ school kind that our mothers used to secure curls at night, but the firm cylindrical workout tool that functions like a portable Swedish massage.

To the untrained eye, a foam roller looks like a product to avoid purchasing after having viewed it on a late night infomercial. Although it’s quite a basic piece of equipment, it’s actually a succinct way to avoid workout woes and enhance physical fitness. The technique involves positioning your body on the roller, using body weight to apply pressure, and carefully maneuvering in a back-and-forth motion that massages muscle groups in a process known as myofascial release.

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