On the Mount Rushmore of compound, multijoint exercises, the military press has earned its position, chiseled prominently in granite alongside the bench press, squat, and deadlift. It’s the king of all shoulder exercises, and unless you’re a completely uninitiated gym newbie, chances are you’ve tried to work this basic move into multiple programs throughout your life. Whether you’ve done so successfully or not, however, is primarily a function of your technique—and for most guys, faulty military pressing starts with the wrong grip. Check out the following 4 grip tips to get the biggest bang for your military pressing buck.

1. DON’T GO TOO WIDE: Military pressing with your bench-press grip may place your hands too far out, reducing strength and straining your wrists.

2. OR TOO NARROW: Using an inside-shoulder- width grip will incorporate your triceps, but this is an anatomically unnatural position that will strain your shoulder joints.

3. USE YOUR THUMBS: Hold the bar at the bottom position of a military press. Touch the ends of your shoulders with your thumbs. If you can’t, adjust your grip till you can.

4. CAREER SUICIDE: Some guys prefer using a thumbless “suicide” grip for overhead pressing because it helps alleviate shoulder joint pain. Proceed with caution.