Diamond Push-Ups: The Complete Guide

Do you want to sculpt your chest and arms into masterpiece status? If so, you need to start doing diamond push-ups.

You’re on the right page.

This is the ultimate guide to mastering this exercise and getting the most out of it. We will discuss how to do diamond push-ups correctly, the muscles worked, and some variations you can try. 

Are you ready to take your fitness game up a notch? Let’s get started.

How to Do Diamond Push-Ups

Diamond push-ups are also called close-grip push-ups because you have to bring your arms underneath your chest, forming a diamond shape with your hands. 

To do a diamond push-up:

  • Start in a standard plank position.
  • Bring your hands underneath your chest so that your index fingers and thumbs touch each other. 
  • From there, lower yourself down until your chest touches the ground. 
  • Then, push yourself back up to the starting position slowly.

Pro tips to improve your diamond push-up form:

  • As you lower yourself, keep your elbows close to your body and point them straight down towards the ground. This position will ensure that you get a good tricep workout.
  • Keep a straight line from your head to your heels throughout the exercise. This posture will help you engage your core muscles and avoid arching your back.
  • Don’t let your hips sag down towards the ground as you lower yourself – keep them up in line with the rest of your body. 
  • Lower yourself to the ground and lift back up in a controlled way.

Common Mistakes When Doing a Diamond Push-Up

muscles worked by diamond push-ups

If you want to make the most out of your diamond push-ups, you must do them properly.

And that often means going against your instinct or your body’s need to move a certain way.

Remember: Your body wants to get the exercises done with minimum effort. Instead, you want the maximum effort to work out specific body parts.

Without further ado, here are the most common three mistakes you can make during your close-grip push-ups:

1. Not Targeting Your Triceps Enough

The close-grip push-up aims to work out your triceps more than a traditional push-up. When creating that diamond shape with your fingers, bringing your hands underneath your chest, your triceps will have to work harder to support your upper body.

That’s thanks to the 45-degree angle you’re creating.

But since this position is tough on your triceps, they’ll fight against it.

So after a few diamond push-ups, you may notice your elbows flaring to the outsides of your body.

That wider position helps you keep your balance better, but:

  • It puts less stress on your triceps, thus defeating your original purpose of engaging them more.
  • It puts more stress on your shoulders, which can be extremely dangerous when holding that diamond shape with your hands. Therefore, your risk of injury increases exponentially.

2. Keeping an Incorrect Arm Position

Many people – even esthetic gym rats – don’t know how to keep a correct arm position when doing plans or push-ups.

The correct position is to keep your arms directly under your shoulders.

Remember that your hands shouldn’t be too far forward or too far back; you want a straight line from your shoulders to the ground.

That’s also valid when doing a diamond push-up.

Keeping this correct posture helps you:

  • Execute diamond push-ups efficiently.
  • Avoid injury.

3. Keeping an Incorrect Hip Position

Sagging your hips:

  • Puts a lot of tension on your lower back, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Limits your range of motion.
  • Implies working your muscles less efficiently because your lower back has to do much more work than your triceps and core.

Pointing your bum to the ceiling is the reverse of the medal. This position also has drawbacks:

  • You’re placing increased tension on your elbows and shoulders, thus putting your joints at risk.
  • You’re not exercising your triceps as best you could otherwise.

So what’s the correct position? As we said in the beginning, you must keep a straight line from your shoulders to your hips and feet.

Muscles Worked by Diamond Push-Ups

diamond push-ups benefits

Close-grip push-ups work a whole range of muscles.

Your triceps get more activation because that 45-degree angle you’re creating with your arms puts more tension on them.

But your chest, shoulders, and core muscles also work hard to keep you stable throughout the diamond push-up.

Here’s how:

  • Your front pectorals (the front of your chest) work to keep your torso upright. These muscles contract, especially at the top of the movement, when you’re creating more tension.
  • Your serratus anterior (a muscle that runs along the sides of your ribcage) also works to keep your body stable.
  • Your traps and rhomboid (in your upper back) pull your shoulder blades together so you can create that diamond shape with your hands.
  • Your core – especially your rectus abdominis (the “six-pack muscle”) – is responsible for keeping your hips in line with the rest of your body.
  • Even your glutes will fire up, especially during longer sets.

Diamond Push-Up Alternatives

Diamond push-up alternatives can be split into two categories:

  • Variations
  • Gym machines or exercises that target the same muscles

Close-Grip Push-Up Variations

Variations include:

  • Doing close-grip push-ups from your knees instead of your toes to make this exercise easier on your triceps
  • Elevating your feet on a chair, bench, or another elevated surface to ensure your triceps have to work against a higher force
  • Wearing a weight vest to make the diamond push-up more challenging on your triceps and core
  • Doing incline push-ups while keeping a close-grip position to reduce the pressure on your elbows and target your chest more comprehensively

Gym Machines and Exercises 

Some gym machines that target your triceps are:

  • Tricep pushdown machine: This machine looks like a chair with handlebars that you hold with an overhand grip. You then push the weight down, engaging your triceps.
  • Tricep extension machine: This machine has a rope or bar attachment that you hold with an overhand grip. The difference is that you start with your arms above your head and then lower the weight behind your head while keeping your elbows stationary.
  • Dumbbell kickbacks: You can do this exercise with a bench or stability ball for support. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend forward at the hips and then extend your arms behind you.
  • Tricep push-up: This looks like a regular push-up but is executed with your elbows close to your chest.
  • Tricep dips: You can do this exercise with a bench or chair. Place your palms on the edge of the seat and extend your legs out in front of you. Lower your body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, and press back up.
  • Planks: A great exercise for your core, which, as mentioned before, is key to diamond push-ups.

Wrap Up

Now that you know all there is to know about diamond push-ups, it’s time to add them to your workout routine.

Start with two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions (after a thorough warm-up) and see how your body responds.

  • If struggling with the full diamond push-up, don’t be afraid to modify the exercise by elevating your hands or doing them from your knees.
  • If you want to make things harder, elevate your feet or do these push-ups as a burnout after your upper body strength routine.

Whatever variation or alternative you choose, the most important thing is that you keep good form throughout the entire movement.

Good luck and happy pushing!

John Claxton

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