The basic, full pushup begins in the plank position, with the arms straight and holding up the weight of the body as it rests rigidly on the hands and toes. Lower the body by bending the elbows until the chest lightly touches the ground and then push smoothly back up to the plank position with the body remaining straight.
In order to maintain a rigid body it helps to push back slightly against the balls of the feet to lock the knees. Done properly this will activate some tension in both the quadriceps and latissimus dorsi.
Standing straight up, face a wall or vertical support with the toe about six to twelve inches away. "Lower" yourself forward until your chest brushes the surface, then push smoothly back.
Find a sturdy horizontal support between chest and knee height. The pushup will be more difficult as the height gets lower. Perform the pushup movement with the hands on the support.
Perform the pushup with the knees on the floor instead of the balls of the feet.
Perform the pushup to only partial depth, usually about half. An optional prop such as a stack of books can ensure a consistent depth.
Follow the technique section above.
Perform the pushup with the hands close enough to lightly touch the index fingers and thumbs in a triangle pattern. This will increase the load on the triceps.
Perform the pushup with one hand supported on an object to increase the load on the other side. For greater challenge, use a ball or kettlebell. Do the movement on both sides for even development.
Half One-Arm Pushup
Hold one hand behind the back and perform a pushup to partial depth, similar to the half pushup. For extra challenge, do not spread the legs any farther apart than a normal pushup, and keep the shoulders at the same height throughout the movement.
Perform the movement like an uneven pushup, except that the supported hand is held straight to the side rather than directly below the shoulder.
Perform a full one-arm pushup with the same criteria as the half one-arm pushup.
Use a sturdy horizontal prop as with the incline pushup described above, but place the feet on the prop. The higher the feet are supported, the more the load is transferred to the arms, increasing the difficulty.
To increase pectoral recruitment, widen the spacing of the hands beyond shoulder width.