What Muscles Do Diamond Push-Ups Work?

Push-ups have been called the perfect exercise by Harvard Health Publishing. This highly adaptable exercise works your chest, arms, core and legs. A standard push-up blasts your chest muscles, but if you've already hit your bench presses for the day, you might want to target another body part.

Diamond push ups work the traps. (Image: Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages)

The diamond push-up — also referred to as a close-grip push-up or triangle push-up — will do just that, as it mainly targets the triceps, with a few other muscles worked for good measure.

Tip

The diamond push-up works your triceps mainly. Your pecs and deltoids also get a good workout.

The Main Muscles

Diamond push-ups focus mainly on the triceps brachii, the muscle that runs along the back of your upper arm. The triceps work in tandem with the biceps on the front of your upper arm to enable extension and retraction of your forearm. This muscle group also plays a vital role in stabilizing the shoulder, a joint with the greatest range of motion — and, therefore, the most instability — in the body.

The synergists, or the muscles that help the triceps complete the extension, in the exercise are the pectoralis major, or chest, and the deltoids, or shoulders, says ExRx.net. The biceps brachii work as a dynamic stabilizer, which means its primary focus is assisting in keeping your joints steady, while the rectus abdominis, obliques and quadriceps also act as stabilizers to maintain your posture.

Use Proper Form

You won't do much to work the muscle effectively if you don't do a diamond push-up with proper form:

  1. Get on your hands and knees.
  2. Position your hands close together so your index fingers and thumbs make a diamond shape. It might look like a triangle, depending on the flexibility of your thumbs.
  3. Stretch your legs back into a standard push-up position.
  4. Keeping your core braced, lower yourself until your chest reaches the floor. Your elbows will flare out to the sides.
  5. Return to the starting position.

Make It Easy or Hard

You can make a diamond push-up easier or harder by playing with the incline or decline or even by standing. If you put your hands on a bench and keep your feet on the floor, the push-up becomes easier. You could also lower your knees to the ground.

The wall push-up is not necessarily a beginner's version but could be performed when you're recovering from little injuries that won't take you out of the game, but make you more cautious. Place your hands on a bare wall at shoulder height with your fingers pointing up or toward each other. Slowly lean toward the wall keeping your body in a straight line and your heels on the floor. Push slowly back to start.

Make the push-up harder by putting the tops of your feet on an exercise bench or by kneeling or placing your chest on a stability ball. Your arms lift a larger percentage of your body weight and make the push-up harder.

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