With so many push-up variations to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is best for you.
Each variation targets slightly different muscle groups and works each of them in a slightly different way, so it can actually make quite a big difference if you choose one variation over another.
In this article, we’re looking at regular push-ups vs diamond push-ups.
In it, we discuss the difference between the two exercises, which one works specific muscle groups better than the other, as well as looking at some safety considerations too.
What’s The Difference Between Push-Ups And Diamond Push-Ups?
The biggest difference between regular push-ups and diamond push-ups is your hand position.
With regular push-ups, your hands will likely be a little wider than shoulder-width apart and will be in line with your chest.
However, during diamond push-ups, your hands are much closer together and will be pretty much directly underneath your chest.
The reason they’re called diamond push-ups is that your hands are so close together that your thumb and index finger touch your thumb and index finger on your other hand creating a diamond shape between them.
Diamond push-ups bring your triceps into play much more whereas regular push-ups, although they do target your triceps too, will put the most focus on your chest and shoulders.
Are Diamond Push-Ups Better For Chest?
It’s a pretty common agreement within the fitness industry that regular push-ups are better for your chest than diamond push-ups.
This makes sense when you think about the hand positioning, as the wider position used in regular push-ups tends to be better for chest activation.
However, there have been a couple of studies that seem to suggest that diamond push-ups may be better than initially thought for your chest.
There are also some people who say that diamond push-ups are actually bad for your chest and they should be avoided at all costs.
The truth is though, that diamond push-ups are most likely to be slightly less effective than regular push-ups when it comes to working your chest.
Obviously, people react differently to each exercise they do, but as a general rule, diamond push-ups won’t be as effective as part of a chest workout as regular push-ups would be.
Are Diamond Push-Ups Better For Triceps?
Yes, diamond push-ups are better for triceps than regular push-ups.
It’s worth keeping in mind though that regular push-ups do work your triceps, it’s just that they tend to put more focus on your chest than the other working muscles.
However, during diamond push-ups, your triceps are forced to do much more of the work due to the change in hand position.
Diamond push-ups are probably the most effective push-up variation that you can do when trying to build your triceps.
Diamond push-ups do a great job of targeting the lateral head (outside head) of your triceps which is the one that adds a lot of size to your arms.
It can actually be a very good idea to try and build your triceps if you’re trying to increase the overall size of your arms.
As it’s a bigger muscle than your biceps, your arms can quickly grow in size and strength by performing highly-effective tricep-building exercises, like diamond push-ups, on a regular basis.
Are Diamond Push-Ups Better For Shoulders?
This is another question where fitness experts seem to disagree.
Some experts say that regular push-ups put more focus on your shoulders as they’re in a more challenging position and are required to activate more in order to make the push-up movement happen.
However, other fitness experts say that your shoulders are placed under more stress during diamond push-ups.
Despite the points each side makes, the most accurate answer is likely to be something like diamond push-ups can be, but they aren’t always, better for your shoulders.
They’re great at putting more work on your anterior deltoids. This can help you add good levels of strength to your shoulders.
However, regular push-ups can bring more of your shoulders into play so they can be beneficial for shoulder development too.
It’s probably a good idea to try both variations and see which one works best for you and your shoulder-building goals.
Are Diamond Push-Ups Harder?
Diamond push-ups are a very challenging exercise and are harder than regular push-ups.
There are a couple of reasons why diamond push-ups are harder.
The first is that your triceps have to do a lot of the heavy lifting.
If you have well-developed and strong triceps, then diamond push-ups might be a bit more comfortable for you. But as a general rule, relying on your triceps more than your chest will make an exercise much more difficult to do.
Another reason why diamond push-ups are harder is because of the more unstable body position.
Having your hands closer together makes staying balanced more of a challenge.
If you don’t have strong core muscles to keep your body in the right position, diamond push-ups will likely be even harder for you.
Are Diamond Push-Ups Safer?
Regular push-ups are a fairly safe exercise to perform and have a low risk of injury.
Diamond push-ups tend to have a slightly higher risk of injury due to the fact that some of your joints are placed in more vulnerable positions.
Your wrists and your elbows are put under quite a lot of stress during the exercise which can cause problems if you have any weakness or past injuries in these areas of your body.
While both exercises are relatively safe, regular push-ups are a little bit safer than diamond push-ups.
Diamond Push-Ups vs Regular: Which Is Best?
Your fitness goals will be the ultimate deciding factor in whether regular push-ups or diamond push-ups are the better exercise for you.
If you want a more challenging push-up variation where your triceps are placed under greater stress and have to work harder, then diamond push-ups will be the best choice for you.
However, if you want your push-ups to focus more on your chest, keep you in a more stable position, and have a slightly lower level of difficulty, regular push-ups will be the way to go.
Ultimately, your personal preferences, your fitness goals, and the current state of your health and fitness will likely guide you in your decision on which one is best.
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.