Few exercises compare with the deadlift when it comes to building size and strength, specifically in the traps, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Strengthening those muscles helps promote better posture and a lowered risk of exercise-related injury. However, you’ll reap those rewards only if you’re deadlifting correctly.

And if you catch yourself doing any of the five common mistakes listed below while executing deads, you aren’t.

1. You’re not flexing your triceps: Deadlifts place a lot of pressure on your biceps, which can put you at risk of a tear. Flexing your triceps is a great cue to guarantee that your arms are fully extended, which will aid in sparing your biceps from potential injury.

2. Your shoulders aren’t over the bar: Having your shoulders over the bar will help ensure that you’re moving the bar through the most efficient path of motion, as opposed to wasting energy compensating when it drifts too far forward.

3. You wear running shoes: The soft sole of a running shoe absorbs weight and compresses, which reduces your ability to produce power through your heels. If your gym allows, try deadlifting in your socks. If not, try a shoe with a flat sole, like Chuck Taylors.

4. You over­extend: Leaning too far back at the top of a deadlift is inefficient, as it forces your knees to flex, which takes tension off your glutes and hamstrings. It can also put your spine at risk of hyperextension, potentially leading to injury.

5. You slam the weight: It may feel primal to slam the weight on the ground after hitting a huge PR, but studies show that slowly lowering the weight increases muscle protein synthesis compared with quickly lowering it. Lift and lower the weight with control.