Diamond Push-Up 101 Guide - Benefits, Proper Form & More

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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If regular push-ups have become unchallenging for you, then maybe it’s time for you to upgrade to diamond push-ups — the more difficult variation of this popular bodyweight exercise.

Just by tweaking the classic version a bit, you can get a workout that targets your triceps and, to some degree, your chest and abdominals.

In my 15 years of being a trainer, I’ve probably done this exercise thousands of times, and I’ve seen numerous clients benefit from it, too.

Here’s everything you need to know about the diamond push-up.

Quick Summary

  • Diamond push-ups, popularly known as tricep push-ups, focus on two main areas if done properly namely the center chest, and the triceps.
  • The different diamond push-up variations are performing this workout with your knees instead of toes, and performing them with your feet elevated on a bench.
  • Like other compound movements, diamond push-ups can take a toll on your muscles, so ensure you rest and recover after a workout session.
  • Regularly performing diamond push-ups can improve the overall size and strength of your triceps.

What Is a Diamond Push-up?

man in a push up position at home

A diamond push-up is a variation of the standard push-up where the hands are placed close together under the chest, forming a diamond shape, to intensify the focus on the triceps and inner chest.

“Diamond push-ups provide all of the benefits of a normal push-up, with a special focus on triceps and center chest if done properly.”

- Christopher Vo, Fitness Instructor

Despite the name, forming a diamond shape with your index fingers and thumbs isn’t the most important component of this push-up variation.

The effectiveness of the diamond push-up will largely depend on your hand position.

The key to maximizing this movement is to keep your hands closer to each other than a classic push-up so that you can target the outside head of the three-headed tricep muscle of your arms more efficiently.

How To Do Diamond Push-ups

Diamond Push-up

Going back to the first time I did diamond push-ups, I remember that the setup was easier than the execution.

Here’s how to do them correctly:

  • Step 1: Begin by getting into a plank position with your legs extended behind you and your hands together under your chest.
  • Step 2: Move your index fingers and thumbs and try to form a diamond or triangle shape on the floor.
  • Step 3: Extend your arms and bring your body up, forming a straight line from your head to your feet.
  • Step 4: Slowly lower your chest and ensure you don’t flare your elbows out to the sides. Keep your back flat as you go down, and stop just before your chest touches the ground.
  • Step 5: Finally, press your body back up to return to the starting position.

Diamond Push-up Variations

men in the gym doing push ups

I've found that the diamond push-up is a challenging exercise, and struggling to crank out even just a few is normal.

If you find the standard diamond push-up too hard at first, you can try some of the easier variations:

  • Perform this move on your knees instead of your toes. For additional support, you can pad the area under your knees.
  • You can also revert to the classic push-up in order to build up your strength before trying diamond push-ups again.
  • If you feel wrist strain with this exercise, you can decrease your range of movement to reduce the intensity and relieve pressure from your wrists.

On the other hand, if diamond push-ups are too easy for you, here’s a progression you can try:

  • Do them with your feet elevated on a bench or, for an even bigger challenge, a gym ball. Trying to stabilize yourself while using the ball will test your core strength as you complete your push-ups.
  • Try alternating knee bends as you lower your body to the floor.

Versatility of Diamond Push-ups

Like many other exercises, I’ve found even diamond push-ups can be a dynamic addition to various workout routines.

Here's how to incorporate them:

  • Strength training: Use diamond push-ups as part of your upper body strength routine. They can be a great complement to weightlifting exercises, targeting muscle groups differently.
  • HIIT workouts: Include diamond push-ups in your high-intensity interval training for a burst of cardio and strength. They add an intense upper-body challenge to your circuit.
  • For yoga practitioners: Incorporate diamond push-ups into your yoga flow for added strength training. They can be a powerful way to enhance arm and core strength, benefiting poses like Chaturanga.

Mastering Diamond Push-ups Safely

While diamond push-ups are highly effective, I’ve found that they can also be challenging, especially for the wrists and shoulders.

To prevent injuries, it's crucial to adopt the correct form and technique.

Here are some safety tips:

  • Wrist protection: Keep your wrists straight and strong; avoid bending them excessively. If you experience discomfort, consider using push-up bars or doing the exercise on your fists.
  • Shoulder alignment: Ensure your shoulders are not hunched up towards your ears. Keep them down and back to engage the correct muscles and reduce strain.
  • Core engagement: A strong core helps maintain proper form and protects your lower back. Engage your abs throughout the exercise.
  • Pacing: Start slowly and focus on form rather than speed or reps. Gradually increase intensity as you build strength and confidence.

3 Things To Remember

woman stretching their arms

Drawing from my extensive experience in coaching clients on diamond push-ups, here are key points to keep in mind for your next session.

1. Warm-up

The arm angle of the diamond push-up makes it a somewhat awkward motion that can cause strain on your elbows and wrists, which just makes warming up even more important.

To prevent any injuries or pain in these areas, rotate your elbows and wrists for several minutes to ensure they’re warmed up and ready for the exercise.

According to a study from Sports Medicine, a proper warm-up may prevent muscle and joint-related injuries [1]

2. Practice

Diamond push-ups take time to master, so don’t worry if you find them challenging to do the first couple of times. With persistence and practice, you will be able to pull off several of these push-ups in no time.

3. Use Them Effectively

The only way you can fully reap the benefits of diamond push-ups is by doing them right.

Here are some common mistakes you should avoid:

  • Remember not to flare your elbows up too much. Keep them close to your body.
  • Aim for a 45-degree angle between your torso and your arms.
  • Don’t allow your hands to go in front of your shoulders.
  • If you’re a beginner, try to move slowly to avoid injury.

Benefits Of Diamond Push-ups

shirtless man showing off his arm muscles

Like the standard push-up, diamond push-ups are suitable for training several muscle groups at once — the triceps, pecs (chest), deltoids (shoulders), abdomen (core), hips, and legs [2].

They’re also an excellent exercise for improving the overall size and strength of your triceps.

Unlike other tricep exercises, the diamond push-up is a simple bodyweight exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment, which means you can do it anywhere, anytime.

FAQs

What Are Diamond Push-ups Good For?

Diamond push-ups are good for building chest, tricep, and anterior delt size and strength.

Is 20 Diamond Push-ups Good?

Yes, doing 20 diamond push-ups is good. However, if you’re a beginner, aim for 4–6 diamond push-ups as your goal.

Do Diamond Push-ups Build a Lot of Muscle?

Yes, diamond push-ups may build a lot of muscle, provided you do them as part of a regular workout routine and fuel your muscles with a healthy diet.


References:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200737120-00006
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/rise-push-ups-classic-exercise-can-motivate-get-stronger-2019021810165
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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