Have you ever wondered how to do diamond push ups? You likely have heard of them, and maybe even tried them. Did you know they are one of the toughest push ups to perform? And did you know that they are super effective at working one muscle in particular?
Let’s jump in on how to do the exercise, why you should, and what to keep in mind for safety and effectiveness. And also that one muscle that this exercise is great at building.
How to do Diamond Push Ups: Step-By-Step
- Start in the up position of the classic push-up position: back straight, arms nearly fully extended, legs straight and on your tippy toes, and hands slightly wider than shoulder width (classic push up start position).
- Then, move your hands together, one at a time, so that your index fingers are touching, and your thumbs are touching – so that your hands form the shape of a diamond. Your hands should be in shape of a diamond, and directly under your chest.
- This is now the start position.
- Bend your elbows to lower your body in a slow and controlled manner, going down as far as you comfortably can. You do not need to go all the way down to the floor until you are more comfortable with the movement. You can still get a terrific workout going halfway down. Keep your back and legs straight during the movement.
- From the down position, push your body up returning to the start position with your elbows nearly straight.
- This is one diamond push up.
If You Cannot Do One Diamond Push Up
If you cannot do one diamond push up, that is OK! This is a very difficult exercise. With practice and work, it will become easier. And sometimes it’s not as much strength as it is timing and balance. Just takes some practice.
Here are two modifications to make it easier:
1) Move your hands further apart in the start position. Try 6″ apart instead of your hands touching, or even one foot apart. This will make the push up easier.
2) Perform the exercise from your knees as shown below.
Diamond Push Ups: A Fantastic Bodyweight Exercise
While most people consider the bench press an excellent pushing exercise, a case could be made in favor of the diamond push up.
A Great Bodyweight Exercise
For one, diamond push ups are a great bodyweight movement. You can do these anywhere, and you don’t need any equipment. At home, in a hotel room, outdoors, or at the gym? No problem, so long as you know how to do these.
Diamond Push Ups Work a Range of Muscles
Second, diamond push ups are fantastic for training a range of muscle groups. Most notably, thanks to your hand position, you get to emphasize the lateral (outer) tricep head. But beyond the tricep, diamond push ups are fantastic for your shoulders, chest, serratus anterior, and core muscles. (1)
A Versatile Exercise
And third, diamond push ups are an incredibly versatile movement. If you find the classic version too challenging, you can start with incline or knee diamond push ups.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for an extra challenge, wrap a resistance band over your hands and behind your back, elevate your feet, or have someone place a weight on your back. That way, the movement becomes more challenging and more useful if you’re an advanced trainee.
Diamond Push Ups: Safety Tips And Recommendations
Diamond push ups are amazing, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to how you do them.
Most notably, you need to be cautious with diamond push ups. Due to your hand position, they place more pressure on your wrists and elbows. Start slowly and progress gradually. (2)
For example, you can start on a wall to get used to the motion. You can lean your body at a 30 to 40-degree angle to get used to the movement. The next time around, do these on a bench – this is also known as an incline push up. But use the diamond setup where your hands form a diamond.
Then, move to the floor and take it easy. You don’t need to go all the way down to train your triceps effectively.
You can also start with a broader stance – your hands don’t need to be together initially. Have them at shoulder width at the start and slowly bring them closer, noting how your joints feel. Again, ease into the motion.
If you feel pain in your elbows or wrists, take it easy for a while and evaluate your technique.
For example, you might feel fine when doing these on a bench or chair, but your elbows might bother you when doing these on the floor. Or you might feel great when your hands are a few inches apart, but your wrists might hurt if you bring your hands together.
Listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
And lastly, include these at the start of a tricep workout because they are most difficult. Do them when you’re at your strongest, and you’ll reap fantastic benefits.
So, there you have it. This is how to do diamond push ups safely and effectively. Are you ready to get started?
Click to return to bodyweight exercises.
1. MasterClass Staff. (2021). Diamond Push-up Guide: How to Master Diamond Push-ups – 2021. MasterClass. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/diamond-push-up-guide#how-to-work-out-safely-and-avoid-injury.
2. Good, L. (2019). Safety Precautions Associated With Push Ups. SportsRec. https://www.sportsrec.com/333210-safety-precautions-associated-with-push-ups.html.