Many of us have turned to the “Wonder Woman” pose during times of stress and anxiety in an effort to exude confidence. This power pose has been touted as a simple strategy to reduce anxiety and improve our ability to deal with stress while building self-confidence in ourselves and the public. However, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania suggest power poses do not make us psychologically and physiologically stronger — they can be detrimental in the long term.

"We did find that if anything — and we're skeptical of these results, because we'd want to replicate them — that, if you're a loser and you take a winner or high power pose, your testosterone decreases," said Coren Apicella, author of the study, and an assistant professor in the psychology department in the School of Arts & Sciences, in a statement.

The UPenn study published in Hormones and Behavior aimed to replicate Amy Cuddy’s original power pose 2010 study. The Harvard Business School social psychologist has given among one of the most popular TED talks of all time talking about body language, and even promoted a book focused on the concept that “a person can, by assuming two simple one-minute poses, embody power and instantly become more powerful.”

Cuddy and her colleagues’ findings suggested that high-power, nonverbal poses can cause neuroendocrine and behavioral changes for both males and females via elevations in testosterone, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk. Meanwhile, low-power posers exhibited the opposite pattern.

Read More: 3 Practical Ways You Can Avoid Low Self-Esteem

However, Cuddy’s co-author Dana Carney retracted her findings, and admitted: "As evidence has come in over these past 2+ years, my views have updated to reflect the evidence. As such, I do not believe that 'power pose' effects are real," read her post on her faculty website.

Using this as a backdrop, UPenn researchers recruited about 250 college-age males to take part in their study. Saliva samples were collected as a baseline measure for testosterone and cortisol levels before the participants took part in rounds of tug-o-war. The researchers declared one person as the strong man, and the other a weak man.

"They would then make a high, low or neutral power pose," said Kristopher Smith, a fourth-year psychology Ph.D. student at UPenn, in a statement.

This was based on a random placement into one of the three groups.

High power poses enable a body to take up more space (think Wonder Woman), while low power poses constrict the area a body occupies (picture someone hunched over).

While posing, the participants viewed faces on a computer screen, the same images that were used at the beginning of the study. The researchers proceeded to take a second saliva sample to measure the same hormones they looked at 15 minutes later.

The findings revealed there is no support for the idea of embodied cognition, or high power poses leading to more confidence. Winners assigned to a high-power pose had a small, insignificant rise in testosterone compared to winners who held neutral or low-power poses. For losers, there’s little evidence that high-power poses lead to increased testosterone relative to those holding neutral, or low-powered poses.

Those who assumed lower-powered poses had a reduction in testosterone after holding high-power poses. The researchers hypothesize the relative reduction in testosterone could be an evolutionary way of preventing a “winner-like” behavior that could lead to defeat and harm.

This challenges the notion of faking it until you make it. In a series of studies in the 1970s, researchers painted low-ranking sparrows' plumage to look like their more dominant peers. The legitimate high-ranking birds weren't fooled by the new, stronger appearance of the weaker sparrows, in fact, they persecuted the “fakers,” Medical Xpress reported.

So, what does work to boost confidence?

Read More: 4 Ways To Boost Self-Confidence In Social Interactions

It’s always fine to have balance: be confident, but not overly-confident. Below are three ways to put your best foot forward.

Dress Well

Grooming is an important part of our biology as mammals and as social beings. Doing little things like trimming your nails, flossing your teeth, and showering can make a big difference in how you feel about yourself. Finding new clothes to wear or going out and buying a new outfit can deliver a small boost of self-confidence to keep you motivated.

Practice Until You’re Competent

Learning a new skill or language can easily help boost confidence. Investing time and hard work to gain a skill or refine a skill can enhance first impressions when you want to make small talk. Plus, you’ll have added something to your resume.

Eliminate Negative Thoughts

Those who lack confidence will often spiral into negative thoughts. Instead, possessing strong resiliency naturally boosts confidence, since you won’t be too hard on yourself. When things don’t go as expected, give yourself some wiggle room, and step out of your comfort zone.

Source: Smith KM and Apicella CL. Winners, losers, and posers: The effect of power poses on testosterone and risk-taking following competition. Hormone and Behavior. 2016.