If you’re looking for a good bodyweight movement to train and work your chest and triceps, then diamond push-ups are it.
The diamond push-up is a bodyweight exercise that provides all the benefits of a normal push-up, with a special focus on the triceps and inner chest.
There are a lot of good reasons to add the diamond push-up to your workout routine. This includes an increase in triceps and chest activity, improvement in core strength and stability, and enhancement of shoulder strength.
It is beneficial not only for tricep activation, but for almost the entire upper and lower body as well.
In this blog, we will explore the following:
- What is a Diamond Push-up?
- Muscles Worked During It
- How To Do It
- Proper Form and Tips
- Sets and Reps
- Benefits of it
- What is a Diamond Push-up?
- Muscles Worked During Diamond Push Ups
- How To Do Diamond Push Ups
- Diamond Push Up Proper Form and Tips
- Sets and Reps
- Diamond Push-up Variations
- 1. Diamond push-up on knees
- 2. Incline Diamond Push Up
- 3. Decline Diamond Push-Ups
- 4. Dumbbell Diamond Push-ups
- Diamond Push Up Vs Standard Push Up
- Benefits of the Diamond Push-up
- 1. Increased Triceps Activation
- 2. Improves Core Strength and Stability
- 3. Enhanced Shoulder Strength
- 4. Burn Calories
- 5. Improve overall health
- Diamond Push Up Alternatives
What is a Diamond Push-up?
Diamond push-ups, often referred to as triangular or tricep push-ups. From the name itself, diamond push-ups are performed by positioning the hands in the shape of a diamond.
The diamond push-up is one of the more challenging variations of the push-up because of the narrower base of support.
The set-up is similar to a traditional push-up, where you stand on a high plank with your feet parallel to your hips and your hands on the floor under your chest.
The hands and forefingers are brought together almost directly under the chest to make a diamond or triangular configuration.
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Muscles Worked During Diamond Push Ups
Several muscles work together to execute the diamond push-up.
- During Diamond Push-Ups, the primary muscle worked is the tricep.
- The secondary muscles include the pectoralis (chest) muscles, deltoids (shoulders), and serratus anterior.
- Aside from the upper extremity muscles, Diamond push-ups in general, engage the core, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps femoris and calf muscles as well.
How To Do Diamond Push Ups
The Diamond push-up is a more advanced variation of the classic push-up. You can practice diamond push-ups by bringing your hands too close together in order to form a diamond or triangle shape below your chest.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do diamond push-ups:
- Start with a high plank position on the floor, with your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Move your hands closer together so that the tips of your thumbs and index fingers touch. This will make a diamond shape with your hand.
- Now extend your arms so that your body is elevated and forms a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Pull your belly button towards the spine to engage your core muscles.
- Bend your elbows and lower your body towards the ground.
- As you lower your body, make sure that your hands almost touch the diamond shape.
- Make sure your back stays straight and your hips line up with your shoulders.
- Take a brief moment when your chest is near the diamond shape.
- Then, push through your palms to extend your arms and return to the starting position. Fully extend your elbows, but avoid locking them.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
Diamond Push Up Proper Form and Tips
Proper form and technique must be observed when doing any type of exercise to avoid the risk of injury. The following mistakes should be avoided to maximize the benefits of doing diamond push-ups.
- It is important not to allow the hands to go too far forward. When the hands are positioned superiorly than the shoulders, it may cause excessive stress on other muscles and joints.
- Avoid letting the elbows flare out, or point out to the side. The angle between the torso and the arm must be at around 45 degrees.
- It is important to keep the body in a straight line throughout the activity. The hips should be level with the shoulders from start to finish.
- Performing diamond push-ups too quickly can compromise your form and reduce the time under tension, which can limit the muscle-building benefits. Focus on controlled, deliberate movements, and aim for a smooth and controlled pace throughout each repetition.
- Diamond push-ups place more load on the elbows than a conventional push-up does. To avoid injury, it is vital to master a regular push-up, and over the course of a few weeks, slowly progress by bringing the hands closer together.
- Don’t lock your arms on the way up.
- Squeeze your glutes and engage your core before moving into the push-up
Sets and Reps
For overall fitness and strength improvement, starting with 2-3 sets of 8-15 reps is a good baseline. This range allows you to focus on getting right and building strength as you go.
To make your muscles bigger and stronger, you can do harder versions of diamond push-ups. Try to do 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps with these harder variations.
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Diamond Push-up Variations
You can try one of these variations once you master the diamond push-up.
1. Diamond push-up on knees
The knee diamond push-up, also known as a modified Diamond push-up. It is a brilliant beginner exercise for the development of the triceps brachii.
Practice diamond push-ups on the knee by bringing your hands too close together to form a diamond or triangle shape below your chest, and by putting the knee on the floor.
Once the diamond push-up on knees becomes easy, graduate to performing the exercise on your hands and forefeet.
How to do Diamond Push-Ups on Knee
- Get into a push-up position, supporting your body on your hands and knees instead of on your hands and forefeet.
- Your hands should be positioned in such a way as to form a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers.
- Keeping your body straight and rigid and your elbows close to your body, inhale as you lower your chest to the floor.
- Exhale as you extend your elbows and push your body back up to the starting position.
2. Incline Diamond Push Up
For the next degree of difficulty, place the box or chair to support your arms while you perform diamond push-ups. When doing incline diamond push-ups, you use more of your lower chest, shoulder muscles, and tricep muscles.
The exercise reduces the amount of bodyweight you are lifting and puts less stress on your elbows. It’s perfect for beginners and pros who want to build upper body strength.
How to do Incline Diamond Push Ups
- Stand approximately 3 to 3.5 feet away from a bench or Box.
- Position your index fingers and thumbs, so they’re touching, forming a diamond shape.
- Slowly lower yourself by flexing your elbows so that your chest comes within a few inches of the edge of the box or bench.
- Using your hands, push yourself back to the starting position while focusing on maintaining a straight body position from head to ankle.
- The movement should be smooth and controlled.
3. Decline Diamond Push-Ups
Decline Diamond Push-ups are similar to normal push-ups, but with your legs on a bench. Furthermore, your lower body is raised from the floor, the resistance your body provides is increased compared to doing the push-up on the floor.
Decline diamond push-ups are harder than standard push-ups because of the angle at which the exercise has to be done. The decline position means that more of the upper chest, shoulder muscles, tricep are used.
This makes the diamond decline push-up harder than the standard diamond push-up.
How to do Decline Diamond Push-Ups
- Elevate your feet by placing them on a bench, chair, or box.
- Get into a push-up position and place your hands in a diamond shape, touching your pointer fingers and thumbs together.
- Keeping your elbows next to your body, bend your arms and lower your body until your head is right above the floor
- Push back up to the starting position
4. Dumbbell Diamond Push-ups
Dumbbell diamond push-ups are a variation of dumbbell push-ups that involve placing the hands close together in a diamond shape on the ends of the dumbbells.
This variation emphasizes the triceps and inner chest muscles more heavily and can help to improve arm definition and upper body strength.
Because the dumbbells are not as stable as the hands, it requires more core stability and balance.
How to do Decline Dumbbell Diamond Push-Ups
- Place the dumbbells on the floor in a way that they form an A shape.
- Elevate your feet by placing them on a bench.
- Engage your core and keep your body straight as you lower your chest down towards the dumbbells.
- Keep your elbows close to your body as you lower down.
- Once your chest touches the dumbbells, press back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
Diamond Push Up Vs Standard Push Up
It’s the question on all of our minds. What is the deal with diamond push-ups vs regular push-ups? Are they actually that different?
In a regular push-up, you have your hands fairly far apart, and they rest just outside your shoulders. During Standard Push up, there is greater activation of the chest muscles than the triceps brachii.
On the other hand, during diamond push-ups, your hand should make a diamond shape on the floor directly under your chest. It leads to an increase in activation of both triceps and pectoralis muscles, in contrast to that seen in a regular push-up. This means that you should consider the diamond push-up to be a triceps-predominant exercise.
Research has shown that the triceps brachii experience greater electrical activity when performing diamond push-ups than when performing regular push-ups. The increase in triceps activity in this workout is due to the narrower position of the hands, which places a heavier load on the triceps.
Benefits of the Diamond Push-up
Although the diamond push-up is a bodyweight exercise and thus does not use any equipment, it still carries with it several benefits.
1. Increased Triceps Activation
The diamond push-up is great for developing the triceps brachii. In one classic study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that compared the effectiveness of triceps exercises, the diamond push-up came first. The dumbbell kickback came second and the bench dip came third.
2. Improves Core Strength and Stability
To maintain balance, the exercise recruits the core muscles, specifically those that function in trunk rotation, such as the external and internal obliques. Recruitment of core muscles for maintaining balance leads to an improvement in both strength and stability.
3. Enhanced Shoulder Strength
The diamond push-up can strengthen the anterior deltoid, it serves as a good preparatory exercise before progressing to workouts that place more work on this muscle. Workouts that require greater anterior deltoid strength include planche push-ups and one arm push-ups.
4. Burn Calories
Doing Diamond push-ups can be a powerful full-body workout and help to burn more calories. They use up a large amount of energy in a short period because the movements require large muscle groups to lift and hold much of the body’s weight.
5. Improve overall health
Regular practice of the diamond push-up, then, can improve overall health, since muscle strength helps to improve bone strength, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and enable everyday mobility.
Diamond Push Up Alternatives
The diamond push-up is a great bodyweight exercise that carries with it the benefit of both greater tricep and chest activation.
The diamond push-up is more advanced and difficult to perform than a classic push-up, but it may be worth the effort because of its added benefits.
- Contreras, Bret & Schoenfeld, Brad & Mike, Jonathan & Tiryaki-Sonmez, Raziye & Cronin, John & Vaino, Elsbeth. (2012). The Biomechanics of the Push-up. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 34. 41-46. 10.1519/SSC.0b013e31826d877b.
- Kim YS, Kim DY, Ha MS. Effect of the push-up exercise at different palmar width on muscle activities. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016;28(2):446-449. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.446
Manish brings over 10 years of hands-on experience in weight lifting and fat loss to fitness coaching. He specializes in gym-based training and has a lot of knowledge about exercise, lifting technique, biomechanics, and more.
Through “Fit Life Regime,” he generously shares the insights he’s gained over a decade in the field. His goal is to equip others with the knowledge to start their own fitness journey.