10 Diamond Push-Up Alternatives To Target Your Triceps


Diamond Pushup Alternatives

Diamond Pushups are one of the most effective exercises for building upper body strength, specifically for the chest and triceps.

However, sometimes you may find yourself needing an alternative for Diamond Pushups.

Maybe you don’t have a bench (or barbell) or maybe you’re just looking to add some variety to your workouts.

Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for an exercise to substitute for Diamond Pushups then you’re in the right place. I’m about to share with you 10 of my favorite Diamond Pushup alternatives including different variations and lifts using different equipment.

Alternatives to Diamond Pushups

The first few alternatives I have listed are compound movements that emphasize the chest and triceps very similarly to Diamond Pushups. These exercises would all make almost perfect swaps if you needed to replace Diamond Pushups in your workout plan.

The last few alternatives are some of my favorite triceps isolation exercises. They don’t necessarily mimic Diamond Pushups, but they’re all great exercises if you’re looking to add some variety to your arm routine at the end of your workout.


Floor Press


Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Squat Rack

Muscles Worked

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set your barbell up in the rack at the proper height to be able to rack and unrack the bar safely*.
  • Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your lats and set yourself up basically the same as you would for Bench Press.
  • Grab the bar using a close grip**, hands right about on the edge of the knurling.
  • Unrack the bar, lower it down until the triceps lightly tap the floor and then press it back to extension.
  • Repeat for the designated amount of reps.

Coaching Points

*Always test your barbell height with an empty bar. I’ve been doing Floor Presses for twenty years now and can still struggle with nailing the best height on my first try.

**Floor Press is generally done using a close grip (about shoulder-width) to emphasize the demand on the triceps. However, you can go with a wider grip if you choose to.


Dips


Man Doing Dips on Dip Rack Attachment

Dips are my all-time favorite exercise for developing upper body strength and growing the chest and triceps. This is why (spoiler alert) you’re going to see three different Dip variations as alternatives for Diamond Pushups.

Equipment Needed

  • Squat Rack
  • Dip Attachment
  • A Dip Station can be used as well if you have access to one.

Muscles Worked

  • Chest
  • Shoulders (Anterior Delt)
  • Triceps

Step By Step Instructions

  • Attach your dip rack to your rack. This process will vary based on your rack and dip attachment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
  • Set your dip rack just above waist height. This will allow enough room for your feet not to hit the ground while doing reps, but not so high you feel you have to jump up into your first rep.
  • Starting position is hands on bars, arms extended, knees slightly bent and feet crossed (crossing feet is optional but does help with unwanted swinging in my experience.
  • Descend down by bending the elbows and slightly leaning forward.
  • Lower yourself under control until the triceps become parallel with the ground and then drive yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake I see with dips is poor range of motion. If someone is struggling to be able to do reps, the easiest solution is to simply not lower yourself into a full rep, but this is incorrect. If a lifter cannot perform a full rep they should switch to one of the variations listed below.

The other issue I see my athletes run into is unwanted swinging front to back while doing reps. Stay under control, keep a consistent rep path, bend the knees and cross the feet. These are all solutions that I have seen help eliminate swinging while doing Dips.


Ring Dips


Ring Dips (1)

The second Dip variation that makes an excellent Close Grip Bench Press alternative is Ring Dips.

Ring Dips are a slightly more advanced version of Dips. Incorporating rings adds a ton of stabilization to the movement which can help athletes with keeping their shoulders healthy. If you’re working out at home, Rings can be much more cost-effective than a dip attachment.

Equipment Needed

  • Gym Rings
  • Squat Rack or something else to safely hang your rings from*.

Muscles Worked

  • Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

Step By Step Instructions

  • Set your rings up on your rack. This process will vary based on your rings. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
  • Set your rings just above waist height. This will allow enough room for your feet not to hit the ground while doing reps, but not so high you feel you have to jump up into your first rep.
  • Starting position is hands on rings, arms extended, knees slightly bent and feet crossed (crossing feet is optional but does help with unwanted swinging in my experience).
  • Descend down by bending the elbows and slightly leaning forward.
  • Lower yourself under control until the triceps become parallel with the ground and then drive yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

*Need some creative options for hanging your gym rings? Here are 5 ways to hang gym rings at home.

The biggest mistake I see with dips is poor range of motion. If someone is struggling to be able to do reps, the easiest solution is to simply not lower yourself into a full rep, but this is incorrect. If a lifter cannot perform a full rep they should switch to one of the variations listed below.

The other issue I see my athletes run into is unwanted swinging front to back while doing reps. Stay under control, keep a consistent rep path, bend the knees and cross the feet. These are all solutions that I have seen help eliminate swinging while doing Dips.


Weighted Dips


Weighted Dips (1)

Once you’ve become efficient at regular Dips and sets of 15 to 20 are no longer challenging, it’s time to add some weight to your dips. There are multiple ways to add resistance for Weighted Dips and I’ve given a few examples below under Coaching Points.

Equipment Needed

  • Squat Rack
  • Dip Attachment
  • A standalone Dip Station can be used as well if you have access to one.

Muscles Worked

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps

Step By Step Instructions

  • Attach your dip rack to your rack. This process will vary based on your rack and dip attachment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
  • Set your dip rack just above waist height. This will allow enough room for your feet not to hit the ground while doing reps, but not so high you feel you have to jump up into your first rep.
  • Choose and setup the form of resistance you are using to add weight*.
  • Starting position is hands on bars, arms extended, knees slightly bent and feet crossed (crossing feet is optional but does help with unwanted swinging in my experience.
  • Descend down by bending the elbows and slightly leaning forward.
  • Lower yourself under control until the triceps become parallel with the ground and then drive yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

*There are multiple ways to add weight to Dips. A couple of the most popular ways are:

  • Wear a weighted vest.
  • Wrap a lifting chain (used for bench and/or squat) over the shoulders.
  • Hold a dumbbell with the feet.
  • Using a dip belt with a chain designed to hang weight plates (pictured above).

Close Grip Bench Press


Close Grip Bench Press (1)

Close Grip Bench Press is probably the closest you can get to Diamond Pushups with a barbell.

Equipment Needed

  • Multi-purpose lifting rack
  • Bench
  • Barbell
  • Bumper or Iron plates

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set the height of the barbell so that when you unrack the barbell, you are only doing a very short upward concentric movement.
  • Lie flat on your back on the bench.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor. (Some do find it comfortable to pull the feet back toward their butt as they arch).
  • Keep your butt on the bench.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together and keep the back of your head on the bench. You will slightly arch your back. Keep your core tight and keep the shoulder blades pulled back tight.
  • Take a narrow grip, right at the start of the knurling and completely close your grip. Keep your knuckles pointing toward the ceiling and squeeze the barbell.
  • Unrack the weight and take a deep breath.
  • Control the barbell down during the eccentric movement and draw the barbell in, keeping the elbows tight to the body.
  • The barbell will make contact with your torso right at the nipple line on the chest.
  • Once contact is made, drive the barbell back up to the starting position.

Coaching Points

When doing Close Grip Bench, do not let the elbows flare out away from the midline. The shoulders are incredibly vulnerable in these positions and the sheer force placed on the shoulders will lead to injury if the technique is not made a priority.


Med Ball Pushups


Medicine Ball Pushups

Medicine Ball Pushups are another great chest and triceps-focused alternative that can add some variety to your pushups.

Equipment Needed

  • Medicine Ball

Muscles Worked

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a medicine ball and find an open spot on the ground.
  • Start on your knees and secure your hand placement on the ball first.
  • Use a neutral grip hand position with palms facing one another on each outer edge of the ball.
  • Now, lift the knees off the ground and raise up into a push up position.
  • Lower yourself down, keeping the elbows tight to the body as you descend.
  • Lower down until the top of your abdomen (just below the sternum) touches the ball.
  • Drive back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

Perhaps the most important part of the entire lift is getting the proper hand placement on the ball. Don’t be afraid to experiment slightly with what hand position feels best as it may change slightly depending on the type and size of the medicine ball you are using.

Keeping the elbows tight to the body is key here to make sure that the focus stays on the triceps.

Bonus Exercise: Close Grip Pushups are very similar to Med Ball Pushups and don’t require any equipment at all. You’ll lose some of the stabilization benefits of Med Ball Pushups, but if you’re restricted on access to equipment they can be an extremely effective alternative.


Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press


If you don’t have a barbell, but you do have dumbbells, you may want to give Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press a shot.

Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbells
  • Bench

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Grab your dumbbells, sit on the edge of the bench, and sit the dumbbells on your thighs vertically.
  • Take a deep breath, lie flat on your back on the bench, and get your dumbbells in position ready to press.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your butt on the bench.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together and keep the back of your head on the bench. You will slightly arch your back. Keep your core tight and keep the shoulder blades pulled back tight.
  • The dumbbells should be turned in so that your palms are facing one another.
  • Press the dumbbells up.
  • Control the dumbbells down during the eccentric movement and draw the dumbbells in, keeping the elbows tight to the torso.
  • Once contact is made with the body, drive the dumbbells back up.
  • When your set is done, do not freely drop the dumbbells without checking your surroundings. You could drop the dumbbell and it might hit a person nearby. Or your could drop your dumbbell and crush your fingers on a dumbbell that was left next to your bench.
  • The best way to finish a set is to bring the dumbbells back to your thighs and stand up with them. Or have a lifting partner take them from you.

Coaching Points

This is a very shoulder-friendly pressing movement. Because the implement is a dumbbell, the range of motion is increased, the shear force on the shoulder is decreased, and the shoulder stabilizing muscles are engaged.


Triceps Pushdowns


Triceps Pushdown

Triceps Pushdowns are the first of three of my favorite triceps isolation exercises. You’re not going to get the same chest and shoulders involvement as with Diamond Pushups, but if you’re looking for alternative triceps movements, Triceps Pushdowns are a tried and true hall-of-fame exercise.

Equipment Needed

  • Cable Machine
  • Cable Attachment of your choice (V-Bar, Straight Bar, Rope, etc)

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Step up a cable machine by sliding the pin all the way to the top of the beam.
  • Attach the rack attachment of your choice.
  • Grab the attachment and pull the attachment down until your elbows are next to your sides (arms should still be bent).
  • Now, extend the arms down by flexing the triceps and driving the attachment toward the floor.
  • Squeeze the triceps at full extension for one second and then slowly allow the attachment to raise back to the starting position.
  • Keep elbows tucked into the sides throughout the movement.

Coaching Points

Do not swing and use momentum at the top of the movement in an attempt to use more weight. Stay in control of the weight at all times and use proper form.

If using a heavy weight, you can lean slightly forward at the waist to give yourself more stability and to help keep yourself anchored to the floor.


Band Triceps Pushdowns


If you’re working out in your garage like me, chances are you don’t have a thousand-plus dollar cable machine. However, a resistance band is something that most of us do have and if you do, Band Triceps Pushdowns are an excellent option for working your triceps.

Again, not quite all the benefits as Diamond Pushups, but as a triceps finisher at the end of a workout, they can be a great alternative.

Equipment Needed

  • Band
  • Band Anchor (The top of a rack and/or a pull-up bar are good options)

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps

Step-by-Step Instructions

First, loop a band around the top of a rack or any other piece of equipment that can solidly hold the band.

  • Stand tall, head up.
  • Hold the band with hands eight inches apart, palms down.
  • Bring upper arms to the sides and keep them there.
  • Start with forearms and biceps touching.
  • Press the band down to arm’s length.
  • Return slowly and under control to starting position.

Coaching Points

To make the exercise more challenging, either use a thicker band or choke up on the band.

If you’re unable to get full range of motion, lower your hands on the band, use a thinner band or stand on something to make the movement easier.


Barbell Skull Crushers


Skull Crushers (1)

My final alternative for Diamond Pushups is Barbell Skull Crushers. They are yet another great movement for building triceps strength and size.

Equipment Needed

  • Bar* (Can be a barbell or a Curl Bar)
  • Bench (Preferrable but they can be done on the floor as well)

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a bar with an overhand grip, lie flat on a bench with head down, chin up. If you don’t have a bench, you can simply lie on the floor.
  • Press the bar to arm’s length above the shoulder.
  • Lower the bar until it almost touches the top of the forehead, bending arms at the elbows, keeping the upper arm vertical and elbows in.
  • Drive the bar back up to the starting position and repeat.

Coaching Points

Keep the elbows high throughout. When Skull Crushers start to become difficult, the natural tendency of the lifter is to drop the elbows. Keep the elbows high and tight (try not to let them flare out to the side either).

*You can use a straight barbell or an EZ Curl Bar although most lifters prefer a Curl Bar because of the angle it allows the wrist to turn.

Final Thoughts

Diamond Pushups are an excellent exercise for developing a strong chest, shoulders and triceps, but sometimes Diamond Push-ups just aren’t an option. You may not be able to do them yet or at other times you might just be looking to add some variety to your training program.

In these situations, you’ll need a Diamond Pushups alternative and I hope that at least one of the alternative exercises I’ve listed here fits what you were looking for.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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