The diamond push-up is the calisthenics fanatic wet dream. They are used to target the triceps with an extreme close grip. But will the change in hand placement work your biceps too?
The diamond push-up does not work the biceps enough to stimulate muscle growth. Instead, the diamond push-up is used to target the triceps.
To fully comprehend why the diamond push-up may not be the best option for targeting the biceps, we must have a basic understanding of biceps anatomy.
The biceps are made of two muscle heads:
- Short head
- Long head
Both heads originate at the shoulder and insert on the radius bone in the outer forearm . The primary function of the biceps is to flex the elbow and supinate the forearm. They also help flex the shoulder. The biceps brachii elicit the greatest muscle activation when the forearm is supinated.
But the brachialis muscle is the strongest elbow flexor and is targeted with a neutral hand position. It originates on the bottom of the upper arm and inserts on the ulnar bone in the inner forearm. Its primary function is elbow flexion .
The brachioradialis contributes to elbow flexion and pronates and supinates the forearm. The most significant activation occurs when performing curls with a pronated hand position . Therefore, maximizing biceps growth requires performing elbow flexion with various hand positions.
Do Diamond Push-Ups Work Biceps?
Like the regular push-up, the diamond push-up does not work the biceps to any significant degree. While the diamond push-up hasn’t been directly studied, the closest to it is the medicine ball push-up since the hands are in a similar position.
Research shows a 7% maximum voluntary contraction of the biceps when performing this type of push-up . Meaning the diamond push-up only activates the biceps by 7% of the subject’s maximum ability to contract the muscle.
This is slightly higher than the regular push-up for biceps activation but still not enough to stimulate muscle growth. It makes sense since the biceps act as stabilizers during the diamond push-up and are not prime movers as the chest, shoulders, and triceps are.
If your goal is to get bigger biceps, you must focus on elbow flexion exercises with varying loads and varying hand and shoulder positions. For example, hammer curls and reverse curls place the hands and forearms into neutral and pronated positions targeting the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.
Incline dumbbell curls and preacher curls change the shoulder position, further targeting different parts of the biceps.
Ditch the diamond push-up if it is present in your biceps routine. I don’t recommend the diamond push-up for working triceps either because of the stress it places on your wrist. Close-grip push-ups are a better option for that. For the biceps, focus on elbow flexion exercises.
1. Tiwana, M. S., Charlick, M., & Varacallo, M. (2018). Anatomy, shoulder and upper limb, biceps muscle.
2. Plantz, M. A., Bordoni, B. (2022). Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Brachialis Muscle.
3. Kleiber, T., Kunz, L., & Disselhorst-Klug, C. (2015). Muscular coordination of biceps brachii and brachioradialis in elbow flexion with respect to hand position. Frontiers in physiology, 6, 215.
4. Freeman, S., Karpowicz, A., Gray, J., & McGill, S. (2006). Quantifying muscle patterns and spine load during various forms of the push-up. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 38(3), 570-577.