Diamond Push-Ups vs Regular Push-Ups: Which is the Ultimate Triceps Builder?

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Written By Dan Smullen

Are you looking for a new and challenging way to build your triceps? With so many push-up variations available, knowing which is the best for you can be tough. This article will compare two popular variations, Diamond Push-Ups vs Regular Push-Ups, to determine which one is the ultimate triceps builder.

With over nine years of personal training and a deep passion for strength training, I have spent countless hours researching and experimenting with different exercises. Through my experiences, I have developed a deep understanding of the best techniques to specifically target muscle groups, including the most effective push-up variations.

This article will teach you the unique benefits of Diamond and Regular Push-Ups and discover which exercise is better for building your triceps.

You will also gain insight into people’s common mistakes when performing these exercises, learn the proper form and techniques to avoid injury, and discover how many reps you should aim for to achieve the best results. With this knowledge, you can take your triceps to the next level and achieve your fitness goals.

What is Diamond Push-Ups?

Diamond push-ups are a variation of the classic push-up exercise that targets the triceps muscle in the upper arm. 

This type of push-up is performed with your hands closer together, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers. 

This diamond shape that your hands make when you place them on the ground to perform the exercise is how they get their name.

The diamond push-up targets the triceps more than the regular push-up.

How to Perform a Diamond Push-Up

diamond push ups vs regular

To perform a diamond push-up, follow these steps:

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands close to your chest, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers.
  2. Lower your body down towards the ground, keeping your elbows close.
  3. Push yourself back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for several reps.

Common Mistakes When Performing Diamond Push-ups

  1. Improper hand placement: Many people place their hands too close together, which can cause strain on the wrists and make it harder to engage the triceps properly. The hands should be placed directly under the shoulders, with the fingers pointing toward each other to form a diamond shape.
  2. Arching the back: To properly engage the core and prevent strain on the lower back, keeping the body straight from head to heels is important. Arching the back can put unnecessary pressure on the spine, making the exercise less effective.
  3. Not lowering the chest enough: To fully engage the triceps, it’s important to lower the chest down towards the hands as much as possible. Many people only perform a partial range of motion, which can limit the effectiveness of the exercise.
  4. Flaring the elbows: While it may be tempting to let the elbows flare out to the sides, this can strain the shoulders and make the exercise less effective. Instead, keep the elbows close to the body and point back towards the feet.
  5. Moving too quickly: To fully engage the triceps, performing the exercise slowly and with control is important. Moving too quickly can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and increase the risk of injury.

Muscles Worked in a Diamond Push-Up

Diamond push-ups primarily target the triceps, the large muscle at the back of your upper arm. However, they also work your chest and shoulder muscles, helping to improve overall upper body strength and definition.

Benefits of Diamond Push-Ups

There are several benefits of doing diamond push-ups, including:

  1. Stronger Triceps – Diamond push-ups are a great way to target and strengthen your triceps muscles. The triceps are an important muscle group that helps you with pushing movements and arm extension.
  2. Increased Upper Body Strength – Diamond push-ups also work your chest and shoulder muscles, helping to improve your overall upper body strength and tone.
  3. Improved Core Stability – To perform a diamond push-up properly, you must engage your core muscles to maintain proper form. This helps to improve your overall core stability and balance.
  4. Enhances Lockout Strength – The diamond push-up is particularly effective at improving lockout strength. Lockout strength is the ability to extend your arms fully and hold that position. This type of strength is important for many exercises, including bench presses and overhead presses.

Drawbacks of Diamond Push-Ups

  1. More Difficult – The diamond push-up is generally more complex than regular push-ups. This can make it challenging for beginners or those with weaker triceps to perform.
  2. Risk of Injury – The narrow hand position of the diamond push-up can put extra strain on the wrists and elbows. This can increase the risk of injury, especially if the exercise is not performed properly.

What are Regular Push-Ups?

regular push up

Regular push-ups, or standard push-ups, are the most common variation of push-ups. This type of push-up is performed with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body straight from your head to your heels.

Muscles Worked

Regular push-ups primarily target the chest, shoulders, and triceps. However, they also work other muscle groups, including the back, abs, and legs.

Benefits of Regular Push-Ups

  1. Versatile Exercise – The regular push-up is a versatile exercise that can be performed almost anywhere. You do not need any equipment, making it a convenient exercise to add to your workout routine.
  2. Builds Upper Body Strength – Regular push-ups are effective for building upper body strength. They target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, making them the gold standard exercise for developing upper body strength and power.
  3. Works Multiple Muscle Groups – Besides the chest, shoulders, and triceps, regular push-ups also work other muscle groups, including the back, abs, and legs. This makes it an excellent exercise for building upper body and core strength.

Drawbacks of Regular Push-Ups

  1. Limited Triceps Activation – Regular push-ups do not target the triceps as effectively as diamond push-ups. This can make it a less efficient exercise for developing triceps strength and power.
  2. Risk of Injury – Regular push-ups can also increase the risk of injury if performed in improper form. This is especially true if you have pre-existing shoulder, wrist, or elbow injuries.

Diamond Push Ups vs Regular Push-Ups: Which is Better?

What’s the difference between diamond push-ups and regular push-ups? 

While both bodyweight exercises work your upper body muscles, diamond push-ups target your triceps more specifically. Regular push-ups work your chest and shoulder muscles more, making them a well-rounded workout for your upper body.

Which is better, Diamond pushups vs regular?

Diamond and regular push-ups are great exercises to strengthen your upper body, and which is better depends on your fitness goals.

Diamond push-ups primarily work your triceps, while regular push-ups work your chest, shoulders, and triceps. So, if you want to focus on the triceps, diamond push-ups are better, and if you want to work on your chest and shoulders, regular push-ups are better.

What Are the Different Diamond Push-Up Variations?

If you’re looking for ways to mix up your diamond push-up routine, here are a few variations to try:

  1. Staggered Hand Diamond Push-Ups – In this variation, you place one hand slightly before the other to create a staggered diamond shape. This works your triceps muscles differently and can help improve overall strength and stability.
  2. Decline Diamond Push-Ups – In this variation, you place your feet on an elevated surface (such as a bench or step) to increase the difficulty of the exercise.

Diamond Push-Ups vs. Regular FAQ

Let’s discuss some common questions people have about diamond and regular push-ups.

Are Diamond Push-Ups Harder than regular push-ups?

Yes, diamond push-ups are generally more challenging than regular push-ups. This is because they require more strength and stability, especially in the triceps and shoulder muscles.

Do Diamond Push-Ups Work the Chest Less?

There is a common belief that the diamond push-up activates the chest muscles less than the classic push-up. Performing diamond push-ups to ensure that the chest is engaged can work the chest just as much as with a regular push-up. However, it is important to note that diamond push-ups mainly target the triceps

Can Beginners Do Diamond Push-Ups?

While diamond push-ups are more challenging than regular push-ups, beginners can still do them with the right modifications. Try placing your hands further apart to create a wider diamond shape if you’re starting. You can also start by doing diamond push-ups on your knees rather than your toes.

How Many Diamond Push-Ups Should You Do?

The number of diamond push-ups you should do depends on your fitness level and goals. Start with a number that feels challenging but doable and gradually increases over time. A good goal is three sets of 10-15 reps.

Are diamond pushups the hardest push up?

Diamond pushups are a challenging variation of the standard pushup, but they are not necessarily the hardest.
Several other pushup variations can be considered more difficult than diamond pushups, such as the one-arm pushup, the plyometric pushup, and the handstand pushup. These variations require much upper body strength, stability, and control, making them significantly more challenging than diamond pushups.

How many diamond pushups is average?

There is no average number of diamond pushups a person can do, as it varies greatly depending on their fitness level and exercise experience. Beginners may only be able to do a few repetitions, while more experienced individuals may be able to do dozens or even hundreds of diamond pushups. 
It’s essential to start with a number of comfortable reps and gradually increase the intensity and number of sets over time. As with any exercise, listening to your body and avoiding overexertion or injury is important.

Can diamond push-ups build biceps?

While diamond push-ups primarily work the triceps, they can also help to build the biceps to some extent. When performing diamond push-ups, you will also engage the muscles in your shoulders and chest, providing additional benefits for your upper body. However, other exercises may be more effective if you want to build bigger biceps, such as bicep curls or chin-ups.

Can diamond push-ups build abs?

While diamond push-ups primarily target the triceps and chest, they can also engage the core and help to build abdominal strength. This is because the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, stabilize the body during the movement.

However, diamond push-ups should not be relied on as the sole exercise to build abdominal muscles. Other activities targeting the abs, such as planks and crunches, should also be incorporated into a comprehensive workout routine.

How many reps of Diamond Push Ups should I be able to do?

The number of reps of Diamond Push Ups that you should be able to do depends on your fitness level and strength. Beginners may struggle to do more than a few reps, while advanced athletes can do dozens.
If you are a beginner, start with 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps and gradually increase the number of reps and sets as you get stronger. As a general guideline, you should aim to do 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps, with a rest period of 1-2 minutes between sets.
As an advanced athlete, you may want to incorporate Diamond Push Ups into your high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, performing them in sets of 12-20 reps, with short rest periods in between. Always listen to your body and avoid overtraining, which can lead to injury and burnout.

Final thoughts on Diamond Push-Ups vs. Regular

Both diamond and regular push-ups are great exercises that can help you improve your upper body strength and overall fitness. Diamond push-ups are one of the hardest compared to other push-up variations.

They primarily work your triceps, while regular push-ups work your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

By incorporating both exercises into your workout routine, you can target different muscle groups and achieve a well-rounded upper-body workout.

Remember to start with a low number of reps and gradually increase as you get stronger, and always maintain proper form to avoid injury. Consistent and dedicated, you can achieve your fitness goals and become stronger and healthier.


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Written By

Dan Smullen