ROANOKE, Va. -

It's become one of my best friends during training: the foam roller.

Chances are you've seen it at the gym and not given a second thought to what it does or what it's for.  Basically, it's a $20 piece of foam you can use to get really deep stretches.

My hips are a huge problem for me (yes, I'm only 23), so I needed to do something about it.  A friend recommended I try the roller and it's made all the difference.

It takes some time to master, but once you do, it can alleviate a ton of body pains.  Basically, it's a firm piece of foam that allows you to create some more dramatic stretching angles.  But the fact that it's a round piece of foam enables you to move with the stretch a little bit. 

When I say move with the stretch, I mean you can ease into it and make it less dramatic, or you can really dig in and make it burn.

Again, the cost of these things is usually $20.  But if you are a member of a gym, chances are good it has one in its stretching area.  Don't belong to a gym? No problem, try something like a football, round and oblong.

One of the best resources to find out how to use a foam roller is YouTube. If you type in "foam roller stretches" you'll find a ton of videos.  I've included some of the most helpful videos for you to try at home.  If you're not feeling it, you're still getting stretched if you're doing it right.

Five Foam Roller Exercises You Can Try