foam roller workout
Photo from Amazon
The foam roller is one piece of workout gear missing from my house.

But judging from a recent post on awesome ab exercises over at Shape, I'm missing out big time.

So what are they and how do you use them?

The name pretty much says it all -- a long tube of foam, they're inexpensive (around $25 for a typical purchase on Amazon) additions to the home gym.

And you can use them for everything from building your core to massaging your sore muscles.

These babies even help break down scar tissue!

To get a great massage, position the roller right near an area that's causing you pain (after checking in with your physician first!) and get rolling. Gentleness is key here, but if you have a trigger point, you can keep working that spot for awhile, using your own body weight against the roller to help release the pain.

Want to build your core? Check out this series of abs exercises -- all with the foam roller -- over at Shape.

And tell us what other ways you'll be using it to work your body.