Whether you’re using your foam roller at home or in a gym, here’s how to get the most out of the practice.

Warm up

Before she gets a class rolling out, Crunch trainer Karen Nuccio likes to get everyone moving and focusing on what they’re going to be stretching. “If we’re going to be working the side, we’re going to do a butt exercise and then actually roll that out and find trigger points to release,” said Nuccio.

Stay focused

Rolling out can be uncomfortable, awkward and even painful, which can make it easy to lose focus on what the rest of your body is doing. But it’s important to engage your core and not tighten up. “The best way when working the foam roller is to be present,” said Nuccio.

Breathe

The more relaxed you are, the more you’ll get out of it. “You have to relax so the muscles can open up,” said Rika Keck, a holistic health fitness and nutrition consultant with NY Integrated Health. “You need to breathe into it.”

Avoid additional pain

Not every part of your body is supposed to be rolled. “Don’t roll it on your bones or spine,” said Keck. “You can hurt yourself.”

Buy the one that’s right for you

Foam rollers have different densities, so make sure you’re using the one that’s best for you. “If you’ve never used one before, or aren’t that dense in your muscles, you want to go with a softer one,” said Keck.

Seek help

Don’t know how to get started or what to target? Don’t be afraid to ask a professional.