What Muscles Do Diamond Push-Ups Work?

You can do diamond push-ups on a medicine ball for some extra challenge.
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Push-ups are one of the most perfect exercises. Think about it: This move is highly adaptable, working your chest, arms and core all at once. Plus, there's a never-ending list of variations you can try. That's where diamond push-ups come in.

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The diamond push-up — also referred to as a close-grip push-up or triangle push-up — challenges your muscles in a way standard push-ups don't, as it mainly targets your triceps. Learn which muscles this move works and how to do the exercise with perfect form.

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What Muscles Do Diamond Push-Ups Work?

1. Triceps and Biceps

Diamond push-ups focus mainly on the triceps brachii (aka your triceps), the muscle that runs along the back of your upper arm, according to Carolina Araujo, CPT, a New York-based strength coach. Your triceps work with your 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 your shoulder, a joint with the greatest range of motion — and, therefore, the most instability — in your body.

2. Chest and Shoulders

Your pectoralis major (your chest) and your deltoids (your shoulders) help your triceps complete the exercise, according to Araujo. In a standard push-up, your pecs get a little more action but here, they're partners with the triceps to complete the exercise.

3. Core

Although it's not the main focus of this exercise, your core works to keep your back flat and body in a straight line, according to Araujo.

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"Push-ups are like an undercover ab exercise," she says. "You're not working your core specifically but it gets plenty of work during this move."

How to Do a Diamond Push-Up With Perfect Form

Diamond Push-Up

Skill Level Intermediate
  1. Kneel 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. Straighten your legs back behind you, forming a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  4. Keeping your core braced, lower yourself until your chest hovers above the floor. Your elbows will flare out to the sides.
  5. Keeping a neutral back, press into your palms and return to the starting position.

Tip

As you try this push-up variation, keep your core tight to prevent your hips from sinking toward the ground.

3 Diamond Push-Up Variations to Try

1. Wall Diamond Push-Up

This variation involves placing your hands on a wall, stepping a few feet away and performing the diamond push-up while standing. This is great for beginners or just anyone who wants a modified version.

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As with the standard version, though, you want to keep your back flat throughout the whole motion.

2. Incline or Decline Diamond Push-Up

You can make a diamond push-up easier or harder by playing with the incline or decline, Araujo says. If you put your hands on a bench and keep your feet on the floor, the push-up becomes easier.

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But to make the move more difficult, you can elevate your feet on a bench, keeping your hands on the floor.

3. Stability Ball Diamond Push-Up

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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