Diamond Pushup vs. Wide Pushup

Man exercising

The pushup is among the most versatile of all strength training exercises, according to Kyle Brown of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. You can emphasize different muscle groups and increase or decrease the intensity of the exercise by tweaking your hand and foot placement. Both diamond pushups and wide pushups recruit the chest, shoulders, triceps and abdominals. However, because they feature different hand placements, they place focus on different muscle groups and vary in difficulty.

Hand Placement

The traditional pushup requires you to place your hands level to your chest line and just outside the line of your shoulders, with your fingers pointed straight ahead. During a diamond pushup, your hands are placed directly underneath the center of your chest, and your fingers and thumb create the shape of a diamond. Doing a wide pushup requires that you widen the placement of your hands slightly more than where they would be positioned for traditional pushups.


During traditional pushups, the chest muscles, or pectoralis major and minor, are the primary movers and responsible for handling most of the force production. They contract to perform adduction at the shoulder joints. However, the shoulders and triceps assist in shoulder flexion and triceps extension. When you do wide pushups, there is more shoulder adduction and less shoulder flexion and triceps extension. Therefore, the chest muscles are required to handle even more of the force production. During diamond pushups, there is more shoulder flexion and elbow extension, and less shoulder adduction. Therefore, diamond pushups place greater emphasis on the shoulders and triceps, and less on the chest.


There is no reason why diamond pushups and wide pushups cannot be incorporated into the same workout program. When used together in one workout, they can effectively overload the chest, shoulders and triceps. However, if you’re looking to focus on developing chest strength and size, wide pushups will be more beneficial. If you’re interested in developing shoulders and triceps in strength and size, then diamond pushups are ideal.


The chest muscles are able to produce greater force than the shoulders and triceps; therefore, wide pushups are typically less difficult than diamond pushups. If you have problems completing diamond pushups, begin training with wide and traditional pushups to develop strength. Both pushups can be completed in a modified manner, with knees on the floor. Doing modified diamond pushups is an effective way to build the strength necessary for regular diamond pushups.