Diamond Push-Up Muscles Worked – Introduction
Diamond Push-Ups Muscles Worked: Top Benefits + How-To Master
Push-ups are, without doubt, the most widely performed exercise in the world.
Everyone from high-school kids to elite athletes do push-ups, and they’re the cornerstone of almost every calisthenics or bodyweight workout ever written.
Why are push-ups so popular?
The simple answer is that they work!
The humble push-up is one of the best, most convenient ways to train your chest, arms, and shoulders.
After all, you can do them anywhere and anytime, and the basic push-up can be progressed or regressed to suit any fitness level, from baby beginner or ultra-advanced.
All of that said, doing the same old push-up over and over can become boring, and your progress may eventually stall.
It’s usually then that most exercisers move from bodyweight push-ups to weighted exercises like bench presses.
But what if you don’t want to make the change to barbell training?
How can you take your push-up game to a higher level?
The answer is diamond push-ups!
In this article, we reveal why and how to do this challenging push-up variation.
Table of Contents
- Diamond Push-ups – Introduction
- What Muscles do Diamond Push-ups Work?
- How to Do Diamond Push-ups
- Diamond Pushup Benefits and Advantages
- Drawbacks of Diamond Push-ups
- Diamond Push-up Alternative Exercises + Variations
- Diamond Push-Ups Muscles Worked – Closing Thoughts
What Muscles Do Diamond Push-Ups Work
Diamond push-ups train all the same muscles as regular push-ups but emphasize those muscles a little differently.
These are the muscles that diamond push-ups strengthen and develop in order of importance:
Known as the triceps for short, these muscles are located on the backs of your upper arms.
The triceps are your primary elbows extensors and also extend your shoulders.
Diamond push-ups are very triceps-centric and are one of the best exercises for building and strengthening the backs of your arms.
The pectoralis major is your main chest muscle.
Usually just called the pecs, this muscle is responsible for horizontal flexion, adduction, and medial rotation of your shoulder joint.
Diamond push-ups place a useful emphasis on your inner chest.
The deltoids are your largest shoulder muscles.
There are three sets of deltoid fibers, which are called heads: anterior (front), medial (side), and posterior (rear).
All three heads are involved in diamond push-ups, but the anterior deltoid is the most active.
The other two act mostly as stabilizers, preventing unwanted movement.
The core is the collective term for the muscles of your midsection.
Those muscles include the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae.
The core muscles act like a weightlifting belt to stabilize your spine.
Diamond push-ups provide your core with a great workout, albeit indirectly.
Core muscles – Image Credit antranik.org
Erector Spinae muscles
Surprisingly, your legs are also involved in diamond push-ups.
You’ll need to use your:
The quadriceps are a group of four muscles located in the front of your thigh.
They are responsible for the extension of the knee joint, as well as providing support to other related muscles.
Your quadriceps consists of four distinct muscles:
- rectus femoris
- vastus intermedius
- vastus medialis
- vastus lateralis
The hamstrings are a powerful group of muscles located in the backs of your thighs, running down from the hips to just above your knees.
They are comprised of the following muscles:
- Biceps femoris
The hamstrings help with knee flexion, hip extension, and rotational movements.
The glute muscles, or glutes, are the three muscles that make up the buttocks.
These muscles are the:
- gluteus maximus
- gluteus medius
- gluteus minimus
The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body and your primary hip extension muscle.
These lower body muscles are all necessary to keep your body straight and eliminate unwanted, energy-wasting movements.
If you can’t feel your legs working during diamond push-ups, you probably aren’t doing them right!
How to Do Diamond Push-Ups
There are two ways to do any exercise – the right way and the wrong way.
The right way is effective and safe and makes the best use of your training time and energy.
However, the wrong way is usually less effective and could even lead to injuries.
This is the right way to do diamond push-ups!
- Kneel on the floor and place your hands down flat.
- Your thumbs and first fingers should touch to form a diamond or triangle shape.
- Walk your feet out and back into a plank position.
- Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, and your arms should be straight and vertical.
- Brace your core, pull your shoulders down and back, and rotate your elbows backward, so your upper arms are close to your sides.
- Tense your legs for added stability.
- Next, bend your arms and lower your chest to the backs of your hands.
- Make sure your body stays straight by maintaining core and leg muscle tension.
- Your upper arms should remain close to your sides.
- Extend your arms and push the floor away to return to the starting position.
- Stop just short of fully locking your elbows.
- Continue for the required number of repetitions.
Diamond Push-Up Benefits and Advantages
Not sure if diamond push-ups deserve a place in your workouts?
Check out these advantages and benefits and then decide!
Make push-ups more challenging
Diamond push-ups put your arms in a less mechanically-advantageous position, making each rep more demanding.
If you feel you have outgrown regular push-ups, this exercise can help take your bodyweight workouts to a higher level.
More triceps and inner-chest activation
All types of push-ups work the same muscles, but each variation hits those muscles in a slightly different way.
Diamond push-ups are known for being an excellent triceps builder and also hit your inner chest more than regular push-ups.
Increased core activation
The narrow hand position in diamond push-ups means you’ll have to work harder to maintain your balance and stability.
Subsequently, your core will need to work a little harder.
Maximize this effect by doing this exercise with your feet together.
Boost your regular push-up performance
Most people find that their triceps fail before their pecs and deltoids during regular push-ups.
A few weeks of dedicated diamond push-up training will help eliminate this weak link so you can do more regular push-ups.
So, if you want to set a new rep record for push-ups, make the diamond variation part of your workouts.
You don’t need any equipment or much space to do diamond push-ups.
As such, they’re the perfect excuse-free way to train your chest, triceps, and shoulders.
Do them at home, in your garage, in your hotel room, at the gym, at the park, or anywhere you can lie on the floor.
The Drawbacks of Diamond Push-ups
Of course, there are a couple of drawbacks to diamond push-ups too…
Diamond push-ups put your hands in a slightly awkward position, so you may feel this exercise in your wrists.
The best way around this problem is to adopt a narrow hand position without letting your fingers touch.
This is just as effective and may be more comfortable.
Quite challenging for beginners
Diamond push-ups involve lifting around 60% of your body weight using just your arms.
This is quite a feat of strength, especially for beginners.
As such, this exercise may be too much for some exercisers.
Don’t worry, though – there are several ways to make diamond push-ups more accessible and train the same muscles…
Diamond Push-Up Alternatives and Variations
Not quite ready for diamond push-ups or looking for a different way to challenge the same muscles?
Try these exercises on for size!
#1. Kneeling diamond push-ups
Are diamond push-ups too much for you right now?
Just bend your legs and rest your knees on the floor to reduce the weight on your arms.
Gradually move your knees back as you get stronger.
#2. Feet elevated diamond push-ups
Raising your feet puts more weight on your arms.
Place your feet on a knee-high bench or chair to make diamond push-ups more challenging.
However, make sure you brace your core even more, as elevating your feet can cause the hips to drop.
#3. Weighted diamond push-ups
If you have well and truly mastered bodyweight diamond push-ups, you can make them more challenging by adding an external load to your workouts.
Do this by wearing a weighted best, a backpack loaded with books or water bottles, or carefully resting a weight plate on your upper back – get your training partner to do this.
You can also use a resistance band to make diamond push-ups more demanding, like this:
Diamond Push Up with Resistance Bands – Craig Capurso
#4. Close-grip push-ups
Do diamond push-ups bother your elbows?
Don’t worry; you can get a similar training effect with close-grip push-ups.
Simply place your hands slightly less than shoulder width apart and make sure your elbows travel backward instead of out to the side.
Some exercisers find this position much more comfortable – including me!
Narrow Grip Tricep Push Up – Marcus Filly, Functional Bodybuilding
Dips work the same muscles as diamond push-ups but put more weight on your arms.
During dips, you lift about 90% of your body weight.
Why not 100%?
Because you’ll be using and not lifting your arms!
Of course, to do dips, you need a dipping station, such as a power tower or dedicated dipping bars.
#6. Close-grip barbell bench press
Close-grip bench presses are a great way to increase triceps size and strength.
They’re popular with bodybuilders and powerlifters and often used as a bench press assistance exercise.
Don’t do close-grip bench presses with your pinkie fingers touching, as this puts too much stress on your wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
Instead, adopt a slightly less than shoulder-width grip.
How to do a close grip barbell bench press – PureGym
#7. Close-grip dumbbell bench press
You can get a similar workout with dumbbells.
For this exercise, hold your dumbbells with a neutral or palms-facing inward grip.
Squeeze the dumbbells together to maximize pec and triceps engagement.
You can do close-grip bench presses on the floor if you don’t have a bench.
Dumbbell Close Grip Floor Press – Lindsay Warren
Diamond Push-Ups Muscles Worked – Closing Thoughts
Regular push-ups are the ultimate bodyweight upper-body pushing exercise.
Regardless of your fitness goal, doing push-ups will help you achieve it.
However, you CAN have too much of a good thing, and even the mighty push-up will become less effective if you do them all the time.
And that’s where diamond push-ups come in.
You can use this exercise to add variety to your push-up workouts and increase triceps strength and size.
Also, when you return to regular push-ups, they’ll feel easier because the diamond variation is considerably more demanding.
So, whether you’ve never done diamond push-ups or never really done them regularly, it’s time to add some to your workouts.
Your triceps will thank you for it!
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