There are many benefits of diamond push-ups. In essence, they’re pretty much the most extreme form of the close-grip push-up. They target your triceps more than any other close-grip push-up. However, there’s more to know about them than just that. Read on and get the complete guide to diamond push-ups.
What are diamond push-ups?
Diamond push-ups are a compound, multi-joint, bodyweight exercise. They are so-called because of the shape the hands make while performing them. Hands are placed close together with forefingers and thumbs touching to form an open diamond shape, hence the name ‘diamond’ push up.
Don’t worry though if you can hold a perfect diamond shape while doing them. Everyone can’t achieve the perfect diamond shape. The shape between my fingers more resembles some kind of weirdly distorted triangle. The important thing is that the relevant fingers are touching each other.
Diamond push up Vs Close grip push up
At this point you’re probably thinking – isn’t the diamond push up not just a close grip push up? Most people use the terms interchangeably when doing any kind of narrow grip push-up.
Technically speaking a diamond push-up is a close grip push-up. However, not all close grip push-ups are diamond push-ups. A close grip push-up becomes a diamond push-up only if the forefingers and thumbs of opposite hands are touching to form an open diamond shape. A close grip push-up is any push-up where the hands are placed narrower than shoulder width.
Progressing from standard to diamond push-ups
Of all the different push-up variations, diamond push-ups place the most emphasis and load on your triceps. Because of this, you will need to build up the strength in this muscle first.
To start you will want to have a good base of push-up specific fitness, and strength in your triceps, chest, and shoulders. This is achieved by building up the number of reps of standard grip push-ups you can do in a single set. I would put the minimum number of reps at 20, with good form, and technique.
At this point going straight from standard grip to full-on diamond grip can still be too much. It’s a pretty drastic change in terms of the load on the triceps, and you’ll be unable to perform more than a few with any kind of form.
From here, you can begin to work your grip a little closer inwards in each session. Ensure you can do 20 reps, with good technique, for each new progression inwards, before you progress further inwards. This will slowly build the strength your triceps require for diamond push-ups.
The benefits of diamond push-ups
There are more benefits from doing diamond push-ups than just increasing strength in your triceps.
Because they’re a compound exercise for your upper body your overall strength there will increase. Triceps make up 60% of your upper arm. That means any increase in the size, and strength of your triceps will have a big impact overall on your upper arm size, and strength. Your shoulder size and strength will increase too, particularly in the front of the shoulder.
To perform the diamond push-up correctly you need to hold your body as stiff, and straight as possible. This requires considerable strength, and stamina to keep your core stabilized. More than you might think.
Lastly, as with many bodyweight exercises, no equipment is required to perform them. All you need to reap the benefits of diamond push-ups is a flat and level space just big enough to lay out flat on.
- Increases strength in the triceps
- Improves overall upper body strength
- Builds upper arm size
- Increases shoulder strength and size, particularly in the front.
- Improves core stability, and strength in the abs.
- Requires no equipment to perform
Diamond push-ups muscles worked
The primary muscles primarily being targeted for most, when doing diamond push-ups, are the triceps. However, that isn’t the only muscle worked when doing this exercise. The shoulder muscles are also heavily engaged. The abs will also be utilized, to quite an extent, to hold the correct form when doing this bodyweight exercise.
The chest muscles are used in this exercise. However, it’s important to note that the triceps will burn out long before the chest muscles get a chance to do any meaningful work. If you want to target the chest more specifically then wide grip push-ups are the way to go.
There are two very common mistakes many people make when doing diamond push-ups –
- Not warming up before doing them
- Doing them with incorrect technique
Mistake #1 Not warming up
Diamond push-ups place a fairly heavy load on the joints, and muscles in and around the arms and shoulders. As with any high load exercise, the target muscles must be sufficiently warmed up. Placing a sudden, heavy load on cold muscles is always asking for trouble. Ensure you get the blood flowing into the arms, and shoulders before performing these push-ups.
Mistake #2 Doing them with incorrect technique
Another common mistake, and one of the most important to address is poor form. To get the maximum load on your triceps, diamond push-ups must be done while holding the correct form. Your body needs to be straight and rigid from head to toe throughout the movement. If you can’t hold your core rigid during the exercise that means other parts of your body are compensating for the arm’s inability to fully push you up on their own. This totally defeats the purpose as we want the maximum load on the triceps. Doing diamond push-ups with poor form will not benefit your strength any more than doing standard push-ups with good form. The only difference is that you’re putting yourself at a vastly increased risk of injury.
How to do diamond push-ups
The most important thing to remember while doing these is to keep your hands together and to hold your body straight throughout the movement.
How to do a diamond push up correctly.
- Find a flat level surface.
- Get on your hands and knees, facing downwards.
- Hands should be below you and in line with shoulders.
- Fingers pointing forward, place forefingers, and thumb of opposing hands together.
- Extend the legs straight out behind, feet almost together, balancing on the toes.
- Extend the arms and hold the body in a straight line, plank-style position.
- You are now in the start position.
- Begin the push-up by lowering the body down using ONLY the arms.
- Stop just before the chest hits your hands, or as low as comfortably possible.
- Raise yourself back up again to the start position using ONLY the arms.
- You have now completed 1 rep.
*Note – Keep the hips pulled forward to maintain body straightness, and rigidity, throughout the exercise. Doing this will naturally pull the body into a straighter line.
Before doing diamond push-ups
Before doing diamond push-ups you should do a short, but effective warm-up. This will get the blood flowing to the relevant muscles which will warm and loosen them. Cold and tight muscles are much more likely to become injured when a heavy load is placed on them suddenly. A good warm will reduce the risk of such a thing happening.
Example warm-up for diamond push-ups
- Light jogging on the spot for 5 mins
- 1 easy set of shoulder circles
- 1 easy set of incline push-ups (standard to wide grip)
Doing the above should get your heart rate elevated, and increase blood flow to the target muscles. For the shoulder circles, you don’t want to go too far into a burn with them or anything. The same applies to the incline push-ups. You just want to do enough to get the blood pumping into the shoulders, and triceps.
Alternative to the diamond push up
Push-ups are a fantastic and well-known compound bodyweight exercise. Diamond push-ups are a great, and effective way to add more load on your triceps when doing push-ups. They also add variety into a bodyweight workout routine to stop it from becoming stale, or boring.
There’s no doubting it. If you can do 20 of these with good form then you can consider yourself in good shape in terms of tricep strength.
As always feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts, opinions, or advice related to this article.
Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness, or exercise.