What's the difference between push-ups and press-ups? I browsed the Internet but it seems that both words are used interchangeably.

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    They are the same to me, though I would never say ‘press-ups’. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 6:39
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    Quite frankly I've never heard of press-ups; but what comes to mind is the bench press. So my first thought was that while push-ups are done facing the ground using your body weight as resistance, press-ups must be done facing up using some external weight as resistance. It appears that may be incorrect, that they are one and the same, but my point here is that (at least in AmE) I would stay away from "press-up" and only use push-up if you want to be understood.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 6:46
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    I believe 'press-up' is British English. It is extremely common here. 'Push-up' is very much an American term. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 6:47
  • I've never heard of press-ups either but the word gives off the sense of using one's fingers.
    – ishikun
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 6:48
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    As a speaker of British English, I can confirm ElendilTheTall's comment. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 6:54

4 Answers 4


"Press-up" is definitely the British version of "push-up". I had to learn to change my wording after moving down under from North America.


They are one and the same thing, although "press-up" is British whereas "push-up" is American.

The online Oxford dictionary says of "push-up": Another term for press-up. Chiefly North American

And of "press-up": An exercise in which a person lies facing the floor and, keeping their back straight, raises their body by pressing down on their hands:

@nxx's answer is interesting about using "press-up" in Oz. I always assumed that "push-up" was the British usage, since that's what we say here in South Africa, and we used to be a British colony.

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    ... or also used to be a British colony :) Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 20:15

Press ups use an open palm flat on the floor (or other surface).

Push ups use a closed fist, so a martial arts style or perhaps using handles of perfect push ups.

Nothing to do with UK or US.

I don't know much in life but have an exponent of the push and press up for twenty years.


Push-ups in English, is when you push up against a handle bar and up above it (also called chin ups).
Press-up is with just your weight on the ground 'pressing' down.

The Americans are weird.

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