Diamond Push-ups vs Regular Push-ups: What’s the Difference?

Diamond Push-ups are a popular variation of “regular” Push-ups. Both are effective upper-body exercises for developing both strength and hypertrophy.

But, which one should you be doing? Should you be doing both? What’s the difference between these two variations?

In this article, I’m going to answer these questions along with explaining how to properly do both Diamond Push-ups and regular Push-ups. In just a few minutes, you’ll know the differences between the two variations and how to best incorporate them into your training.

Diamond Push-Ups

Diamond Push-ups (1)

Equipment Needed

  • None

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Core (stabilizer)

How To

  • Start by positioning yourself in a plank position on the floor, with your hands placed close together and forming a diamond shape with your index fingers and thumbs.
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your body should be straight and in a straight line from head to ankles.
  • Lower your body down toward the floor by bending your elbows and keeping them close to your body.
  • Once your chest nearly touches the floor, push back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions, making sure to keep your core engaged and your body straight throughout the movement.

Coaching Points

To make the exercise easier, you can perform the push-ups with your knees on the floor. To make it more challenging, you can try placing your feet on an elevated surface or adding weight (like a weight vest) to your upper body.

Keep your elbows close to your body. As you lower down and push back up, make sure to keep your elbows close to your body to maximize the triceps activation.

Benefits of Diamond Push-ups

Some benefits of Diamond Push-ups include:

  1. Improved upper body strength: Diamond push-ups, like all push-ups, are an excellent exercise for developing upper body strength.
  2. Improved push-up performance: Diamond push-ups can help improve your ability to do regular push-ups. If you have a push-up test that you’re training for, incorporating Diamond Push-ups can be an effective supplemental exercise.
  3. Enhanced athletic performance: Improved upper body strength can help to improve your performance in sports and other physical activities.

RELATED –> 10 Diamond Push-Up alternatives to target your triceps


Athlete Doing Push-Ups

Equipment Needed:

  • None

Muscles Worked

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Core (as a stabilizer)

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Lie face down on the floor.
  • Pull your toes in so that you’re on the tip of your shoes.
  • Eyes should be focused straight down or slightly up.
  • Pull your hands close to about the nipple line of the chest and bring them out about 2-3 inches away.
  • Take a deep breath, engage the core and brace.
  • Push yourself up in one unit. There should be no sagging of the waist. The entire body from head to toe should move up and then back down in unison.
  • Feel your scapula upwardly rotate and make sure the antagonist muscles (Back and biceps) are fully engaging.
  • Lock out your push-up and pause.
  • Slowly lower yourself back down and get ready for the next repetition from just above the ground. Do not fully relax at the bottom of the push-up unless your program specifies.

Coaching Points

Take your time and master the Push-up. The benefits of doing sound push-ups will pay dividends for your shoulder health and the potential to maximize your upper body strength.

Keep the elbows at a 45-degree angle. For maximal chest, shoulder, and rotator cuff engagement, do not let the elbows flare out away from the middle. Also, do not let the elbow hug right next to the torso.

I would highly recommend this movement to any athlete. It provides all the benefits a pressing movement can offer with minimal risk.

Common Mistakes

By far the biggest mistake I see in the push-up is lifters not using a full range of motion. Push all the way up and slowly lower yourself back to about an inch of the ground.

Elbow angle. Another common mistake in pressing movements is lifters letting those elbows flare. Remember to keep your elbows at 45 degrees to keep your shoulders healthy.

Another mistake is lifters go too fast with their push-ups. Push-ups are commonly programmed for strength and hypertrophy. This means time under tension is key. Take them slow and perfect the movement to yield maximal results.

Benefits of Push-ups

Some of the key benefits of push-ups include:

  1. Strengthens the upper body: Push-ups are an excellent way to build strength in the chest, shoulders, and arms.
  2. Increases muscle endurance: Push-ups can help to improve your muscle endurance by challenging your upper body muscles to work for an extended period of time.
  3. Can be done anywhere: One of the great things about Push-ups is that they can be done almost anywhere with no equipment needed, making them a convenient exercise to incorporate into your fitness routine.
  4. Improves overall functional strength: Push-ups require a combination of strength and stability, which can translate to improved functional strength in everyday activities.

In addition to these physical benefits, push-ups can also be a great way to boost your mental toughness and confidence.

Diamond Push-Ups vs Regular Push-Ups

Now, let’s take a side-by-side look at both exercises and discuss how you can utilize them both effectively in your training.

What’s the Difference?

The difference between Diamond Push-ups and regular Push-ups is the hand placement and the muscles emphasized because of hand placement.

Diamond Push-ups get their name because you create a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers. This puts the hands close together which will heavily emphasize the triceps during the movement.

The hand placement for regular Push-ups is roughly shoulder-width apart which places more of an emphasis on the chest. Generally speaking, the wider the hands the more chest involvement the narrower the hands the more the triceps are targeted.

Are Diamond Push-ups Better Than Regular Push-Ups?

Push-Up Technique

Better? No, I wouldn’t say Diamond Push-Ups are better than regular Push-ups.

It really depends on what you are trying to emphasize.

If you want an exercise to place toward the end of your workout to target the triceps, Diamond Push-ups are an excellent option. They do a tremendous job of developing tricep strength and size.

If, however, you want an exercise to target the chest or an exercise to warm up the shoulders, regular Push-ups are a great choice for either.

Ultimately, I would suggest incorporating both variations into your strength training. I include both Push-ups into my programming consistently along with other variations like Weighted Push-ups as well.

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Are There Any Cons to Diamond Push-ups?

The biggest con to Diamond Push-ups is it’s easy to have technical issues. Having the hands so close together can cause some lifters to flare their elbows out to the sides. This is incorrect.

The elbows should stay extremely tight to the body. You should even be able to feel your biceps against your lats as you go through the movement. If you find that position to be uncomfortable on your wrists, slightly widen your hands.

I always have athletes focus on the position of their elbows and not their hands. The elbows are the key.

Finally, Diamond Push-ups are not the only alternative to regular Push-Ups. Here are my 11 favorite Push-up alternatives.

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