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February 16, 2019

Triangle Push-Up: Top 5 Push-Up Variations

Triangle push-ups, also referred to as diamond push-up, are a great way of promoting both muscle strength and endurance in the triceps muscles that are located at the back of the arm. More benefits of the triangle diamond push-ups include:

  1. Activation of the triceps– studies have concluded that triangle diamond push-ups are the most effective exercises that target the triceps. They place some pressure on triceps due to the narrowness of the arms. When incorporated to strength training, they are a great way of improving the power and definition of the triceps.
  2. These are an excellent workout for the chest.
  3. They make a smooth transition into one-arm push-ups by which time the triceps will have developed to a remarkable size.
  4. These are a great way of developing balance, considering the smaller base support formed by the arms and the fact that both feet are held together.
  5. They help strengthen the shoulder muscles.

When used as part of a circuit program, they can help you lose weight as well as being an effective core exercise.

In this article we will go through some triceps exercises you can have a go at that are variations to the classic pushup and include triceps kickbacks and triceps extensions. These workout routines targets your triceps for those looking to target muscle activity. Contrary to some articles online these alone won’t help with weight loss and those looking at weight loss as your primary objective should read our article Top 3 Total Body Workouts That Quickly Burns Fat.

Top Five Push-Up Variations Wall

Countertop Push-Ups

These are similar to the regular push-ups, only that they are done on a wall or inclined surface. These push-ups are ideal for beginners as they are challenging enough to get into form and build strength. They work the arms, the upper arm, shoulders, and chest and prepare the beginner for regular push-ups.

  1. Place your hands on a flat wall (instead of traditionally starting on the floor on your knees), then walk back to a distance you are comfortable with. Tall people may have to move back a little further for the effectiveness.
  2. Keep your hands below your shoulders and start leaning in slowly. Be certain that your core is engaged and your elbows are in.
  3. Push yourself back from the wall with your hands still on it, then repeat the process again.

Diamond Push-Ups/Triangle Push-Ups

As mentioned earlier, triangle push-ups are the best for not just the triceps but also the biceps, pecs, deltoids, quads, obliques, and abs. It is a very beneficial exercise especially for those that are not interested in working out in the gym environment. Just like many other push-ups, it does not require any equipment; one may use a weighted vest if they feel too easy but, on average, plain diamonds are preferable.

  1. Get into the push-up position with all fours on the floor and your hands under your chest.
  2. Position your arms close so that your fingers are touching. You should form a triangle with your chest and arms.
  3. Extend your arms so that you elevate your body fully; it should form a straight line from your head to your feet.
  4. Lower your chest slowly toward your hands while watching out to make sure that your elbows don’t flare outwards, and your back doesn’t bend.
  5. Stop lowering just before your chest touches the floor then move back to the original position. Repeat.

The Crucifix Push-Up

Despite being one of the hardest push-up variations to master, the crucifix is excellent for strengthening the core and the deltoids. It may not be simple for beginners but can be done quickly by those with experience and some prior intense training.

  1. Lie down evenly on your belly with your arms to your side and in one line with the shoulders.
  2. Spread out your arms so that they are perpendicular to the rest of the body.
  3. Using your palms or fingers and thumb, raise your whole body up. Your chest should raise up a few inches off the ground to form a push-up.
  4. Once in this position, hold for a few seconds then lower back your body gently till it touches the ground again.
  5. Repeat for the required number of times.

One Arm Push-Ups

One arm push-ups have been regarded as a symbol of being “badass” for a long time. This is probably because they are the hardest type of push-up variations. The one-arm push up requires an incredible amount of balance in the core and arm strength, which is why few people can manage it without having some extensive and thorough training.

The one-arm push are unilateral exercises which means that they work one side of the body at a time. It is for promoting balance and strengthening the arms as well as the core.

  1. Get into a push-up position with your body fully elevated below your chest. Your body should settle in a straight line just like in the regular push-up.
  2. Spread your feet slightly wider than your shoulders.
  3. Tighten your thighs, glutes, and arms to generate enough power to stay in position.
  4. Put one arm behind your back.
  5. Engage the core then lower your chest gently to the ground. Make sure that your elbows stay in.
  6. Stop lowering just before your chest touches the ground and hold for a few seconds. Raise your torso back to the original position and repeat. You can lift one leg too if it seems too easy. Return to the start position and repeat.

Clap Push-Ups

The explosive plyometric movement offered by clap push-ups is excellent for working out the upper body and toning the arms.

  1. Begin in a plank position. Raise your body and make sure it is in a straight line all the way to the foot. Engage your core then make sure that your elbows are in.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor gently.
  3. Using your palms, push yourself up with enough pressure to lift you off the ground.
  4. As you move up, clap with your hands close to your chest then put them back below your chests as you descend to the original position.
  5. Try hard not to collapse. Repeat for as many reps as you want.
  6. Return to the start position and repeat.

Doing Triangle Push-Ups Properly

  1. Core exercise is about keeping core tight all the time. Don’t let it sag. The best way to do this is by imagining that you are about to be walloped in the stomach.
  2. Ensure that your elbows are not flaring. Let them face inward rather than to the sides or towards your feet.
  3. Avoid partial reps. Lower your chest fully and lift it up entirely too.

Put your hands just below your shoulders, a little to the outsid

The Triceps Up Close

The triceps are a three-headed muscle located at the back of the upper arm. They are the antagonistic muscle to the biceps, meaning that when one contracts the other expands. It moves the elbow in the opposite direction to the biceps.

Each of the three heads of the triceps muscles have a single point of origin. Even though there are three separate heads, it is not possible to isolate a specific head. Because the elbow is a hinge joint that only extends in one direction and there is just one tendon that activates movement, all three heads will play an equal part in any movement of the triceps. What this means is that any triceps exercises that claims to isolate a certain triceps head isn’t doing that at all -when it comes to the triceps it is all or nothing!

As an example, triceps kickbacks do not prioritize the long head of the triceps – they hit all three at the same time.

The three heads of the triceps muscles are the lateral head (also known as the outer head), the medial head (or the inner head), both of which have their origin on the back of the humerus, and the long head, which has its origin on the scapula, directly below the shoulder socket. The long head is attached to the shoulder blade, which means that it is involved whenever your arms pull down. However, the lateral and medial heads are only involved in exercises involving elbow extension.

The strongest position from which to the work the triceps is standing with your upper arms by your sides. When you are in the gym, you should gravitate to exercises that have you in this position in order to maximally build strength and development in the triceps muscles. This is the best anatomical position from which to work the triceps. So, the most effective exercises for the triceps muscles will begin from this position.

The main exercise that fits this description is the triceps pushdown with a stack plate loaded machine. To do this exercise, stand in front of a high cable machine. Put a short handle or a rope handle on the end of the cable. Now load up a weight that will allow you to 15 reps, with the last 2 being a struggle. In the starting position, keep your elbows pinned at your side as you grasp the handles. Extend your elbows by pushing forcefully down with your triceps. In the bottom position, forcefully contract your triceps muscles then slowly return to the start position. Only come up to the level of your upper chest and then move directly into your next rep. Keep your elbows pinned at your sides throughout the movement.

You can make the triceps extensions / pushdown exercise even more effective by performing a directional modification of the exercise. Rather than standing facing the machine, simply turn so that your body is facing away from the machine. Now when you reach up to grab the cables, you will immediately notice that your triceps are engaged before you even start doing the exercise. That is because, in this position they are in pre-stretch position, meaning that there is force on them from the very beginning. Give this variation a try next time you are in the gym and you will soon see how much more triceps activation you will experience. Let us know in the comments below how you found it.

Conlcusion

You should now have a variety of triceps exercises, for example triceps kickbacks and triceps extensions, for you to help improve the strength and conditioning of your triceps muscles.

It is important to note that those looking for better definition healthy eating is important, you should your personal information (weight and daily activity levels) to calculate the macros (fats, carbs and proteins) you need to achieve your goals. This also includes those with wider objectives such as weight loss, by calculating your calorie intake based on your personal information (weight and daily activity levels) you can you fitness goals quicker as healthy eating and exercising go hand in hand.

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Joe (Qualified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist)


Joe Martin is a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC) and Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-PST) with over 15 years’ experience in personal training and nutrition. Joe was also a former New York Giants Football Player and has his own fitness website Jerseyjoefitness.com

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