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LAVERA STEWARTEditor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach
There isn’t a single person who doesn’t know what pushups are! Even if you are the least athletic person in the world, you probably had to do at least one in P.E classes. And if you managed to evade that somehow, then you saw a Hollywood war movie where a sergeant order recruits to “give him 50 or 100!” Then a group of young men with shaved heads starts to do pushups!
In case you somehow missed it, let’s see what pushups are! The origins of this workout are not completely clear but it is known that standard pushups and some variations exist for centuries. They are quite common in physical education and athletic training as one of the best bodyweight exercises. Many people see them as super hard and for a good reason. Pushups require full-body strength and involve various muscle groups. Mainly they target the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. If you make sure to do them properly they also strengthen the lower back and core muscles.
We began doing push-ups several years ago searching for an effective workout that can be part of a consistent exercise routine. As you can imagine, it was challenging at first, but as time passed we were getting better. And better to such a point, that the regular crunches no longer worked for us, and we needed to modify it. And our coach recommended diamond push-ups, since they’re a lot challenging, but also effective.
And honestly, these really intrigued us. Push-ups are push-ups and we had no idea that there are any variations of them. But it turned out, we were wrong. So, we began researching to learn more about diamond push-ups also known as triangle push-ups. And now, we would be glad to share this info with you.
- 1 What Are Diamond Push-Ups?
- 2 How to Do a Diamond Push up
- 3 Diamond Push Up Variations
- 4 Diamond Push Up Alternatives
- 5 Conclusion
What Are Diamond Push-Ups?
Diamond push-ups or as we mentioned otherwise known as triangle pushups are nothing more than the variation of traditional exercise. Whereas when doing a regular workout your hands are apart, in this case, they should be next to or very close to each other. And do you know why they’re called “diamond push-ups”? Because as you bring hands close together they should form the shape of a diamond or a triangle.
And let us tell you, if you think regular ones are hard, try doing diamond pushups. They are the most challenging variation because they rely on the triceps and not the chest and shoulders. Since the hands are so close together the triceps are also in a pretty awkward position which makes it harder to exert full strength. However, diamond pushups are better for those who want to focus on building the triceps and pectoralis minor.
The first question we have when we start a new exercise is related to the muscles it targets. So if you are curious about what do diamond push-ups work this section is for you. We already mentioned several times that these pushups primarily target triceps, right? But now we are going to look deeper into it and see what is happening when you do them and what muscles do diamond pushups work with.
Okay so, the triceps or triceps brachii is a large muscle on the back of the arm. It has three parts –medial, lateral, and long head. This type of exercise is fantastic for the lateral part of the muscle. However, it also targets the chest and deltoid muscles. These are one of the best triceps exercises because they give phenomenal results and keep your shoulders safe at the same time.
Diamond Push-Ups vs. Regular Push-Ups
Perhaps you can already understand the difference between diamond pushups for triceps and regular pushups because we mentioned it briefly. But let’s explain it a bit more. So basically, the main difference is in the position of hands. With regular pushups, your hands are apart a bit more than shoulder-width. When you opt for this variation, you are not strengthening just the arms, but also the chest muscles.
Comparing diamond push-ups vs. regular, you see that when doing diamond push-ups our hands need to be much closer together. Given that the form is correct, we are supposed to make a shape of a diamond or triangle with our fingers. When we assume this position the focus is not on the chest but triceps. Talking about pushups it is essential to mention that there is a variation pretty similar to standard. It is called wide pushup and the difference is that hands are wider than shoulder-width apart. Compared to wide variation, diamond pushup gives better results in terms of chest and triceps strength. Wide pushups are only better when it comes to the strengthening of the serratus anterior muscle. Keep in mind that form generally doesn’t change regardless of the variation. Your hands always need to be on the floor, legs stretched behind, and the body is like a straight line.
Benefits of Diamond Pushups
Activation of triceps
If you are engaged in bodybuilding training, you probably know how difficult it is to target triceps. And for this purpose, diamond pushups are a lot more effective than regular ones. So with their help, you are going to build muscles and create thicker arms with this workout. More importantly, the success will be obvious even if you are not using any equipment.
We often think regular pushups are better for chest muscles and diamond variation for triceps. However, one of the major diamond push up benefits is that they increase chest strength. The thing is that with this type of workout, the focus is more on pectoralis minor and pectoralis major.
Progression towards single arm pushups
Single-arm pushups are probably the most challenging variation you can do. They are the embodiment of perfect calisthenics, right? You want to show off in front of your friends or someone you like and do this exercise? In that case, you need to have a strong back, powerful core, pecs of steel, and triceps that are capable of holding the entire weight of your body on just one side. The best way to reach this level of strength is to do diamond pushups regularly.
Strengthening the core
Keeping the tension of a relatively small group of muscles and making them carry your entire body weight while you move up and down is excellent to strengthen your core. Having a strong core is crucial for many other exercises.
Better for shoulders
Everyone who works out knows shoulder injuries are pretty common. Imagine then what happens to the shoulder when it has to carry an entire load of our body. Fortunately, these exercises are much easier on the shoulders.
How to Do a Diamond Push up
If you are experienced in doing regular pushups you might think that it will be super simple to figure out how to do diamond push up form:
- Get in a plank position.
- Keep your hands close to each other. Don’t forget that you need to form a diamond or a triangle with your fingers.
- Keeping the body straight and tense and elbows tucked inside, inhale and slowly lower your body.
- Extend the elbows and exhale as you push the body back up.
- Repeat as many times as you planned.
Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
A British writer Joseph Conrad, once said, “Only those who nothing don’t make any mistakes, I suppose” He probably had in mind people who work, but we believe something like that can be applied for exercising as well. Regardless of how experienced or professional you are, it is virtually impossible that you do a new exercise perfectly straight away. In the beginning, we make mistakes with everything, including diamond pushups. What are common mistakes people make with this exercise?
They are generally the result of bad form. Hence make sure that you understand and follow all instructions and tips to perform this exercise correctly. That is the only way to avoid bad habits. One of the most common mistakes people make is related to the lowers back, which many people tend to extend too much. To prevent this, you need to keep the core as engaged as possible and squeeze the glutes. If you tuck the chin and look towards it can help you to keep the spine in a neutral position.
Besides this, make sure that your elbows are close to your body and avoid flaring them up. The angle between your body and the arms should be around 45 degrees. Apart from that, the hands shouldn’t go in front of your shoulders. However, when you go down, your sternum should touch the hands.
How Do You Modify a Diamond Pushup
Once you familiarize yourself more with diamond pushups, you will discover that they are more challenging than regular variation. That information can be intimidating and make people give up on the exercise altogether. However, it is essential to know there are ways to modify these pushups so that they are adjusted to your particular needs. Here are some examples of how to do it:
How Many Diamond Push-Ups Should I Do?
Generally, this depends on you. If you are in good shape and you can do diamond push-ups as many times as you want. Ideally, you should do five sets of twenty pushups. If you can do more, by all means, go for it. If not, try to do at least three sets, and decide how many reps are suitable for your fitness level.
Some people even manage to reach fantastic results. For example, the current Guinness world champion of Diamond push-ups is a 62-year-old man Steve Salamasian, from Port St. Lucie. He did 85 reps in under one minute. Now that’s impressive!
What If I Can’t Do Diamond Pushups?
If you are already used to do regular variation but find these difficult go slowly. Bring your hands a bit closer in each training until you manage to do a diamond pushup. If they seem too challenging to you anyway, change the incline. Put your hands on the bench or piece of furniture and keep your feet on the floor. Incline will take part in the load of your arms.
Diamond Push Up Variations
You will find here some variations that will help you start doing diamond pushups. Apart from that, the variations will make your exercises more exciting.
This diamond press up works all the same muscles as the regular variation. However, they are much easier to do and thus more adequate for beginners. To do this exercise, place your feet shoulder-width apart and palms on the wall. Keep your back straight and tense and start moving towards and away from the wall?
As we mentioned, incline push-ups are also a good option for beginners and those who find diamond push-ups to be too hard. If you are working out in the gym, use a bench. If you are at home, then the char will do just fine. Make sure that the chair is stable and put your hands on it. Your arms should be shoulder-width apart. Your body should be straight, and legs stretched behind you. Go down slowly until your elbows reach 90 degrees angle. Then go back up using the strength of your arms.
Diamond Push Up Alternatives
Medicine Ball Push-Ups
When performing this exercise, you will put your hands on the medicine ball. It targets the triceps, chest, and core. The ball has to be in front of you. Straighten your body and create tensions. Stretch legs behind. Put both hands on the ball, and hold it with a firm grip before going up and down.
Decline Diamond Pushup
We talked about incline pushup, which is supposed to make things easier. However, this is a harder variation. You will need a bench, chair, etc. But this time, your feet go on the chair and your hands on the floor. Bend the elbows as you are going down. When you reach the floor use the force of your triceps to go back up.
That is all for today, about diamond push-ups, folks! As we mentioned, and you probably noticed, this variation is more demanding than the standard push-up. However, if you are after strong triceps, these exercises are something you should include in your workout routine. But keep in mind that muscles need time to develop. Hence, start slowly and work your way towards becoming a diamond push-up pro! Would you try this exercise? Have you already tried? What are your experiences?