Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s job description alone qualifies her as a badass. The 84-year-old is one of three female associate justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, and she’s been in the role for decades—President Clinton nominated her and she’s been delivering opinions since 1993.
But aside from her day job, RBG is fierce in a number of ways. She’s a staunch supporter of women’s rights and a tough athlete. Yes, the 84-year-old Supreme Court justice still works out on the regular and her routine will probably make you feel guilty for those times you skipped the gym this month.
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The first trailer for her new documentary, RBG, has arrived (above), and while it focuses on her accomplishments as a justice and an advocate for women’s rights, it also shows footage of her workouts. In the beginning of the trailer, you can see Ginsburg doing over-the-head presses with 3-pound weights, and toward the end, the icon can be seen holding a plank with her trainer looking on.
“I’ve heard that she does 20 push-ups three times a week or something. I mean, we can’t even get off the floor. We can’t even get down to the floor,” her contemporaries joke in the trailer.
Late night host Stephen Colbert knows firsthand how intense Ginsburg's workout can be. The funny man joined the Supreme Court justice in the gym on a segment for his show, and got his butt kicked in the process.
RBG’s workout routine has long impressed the public. The two-time cancer survivor lost her husband back in 2010. When asked last year who the most important person in her life was, she responded, “My personal trainer.”
Ginsburg works out with Bryant Johnson, a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserves who runs BJ’s Body Justice and released a book in 2017 called The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong . . . and You Can Too!
According to Politico, RBG usually works out with Johnson twice a week for an hour each time. As you see in the documentary trailer, he stays by her side, ready to catch her in case she should fall. “I’m kind of like the security blanket, the lifeguard,” he said. “I’m just here making sure nothing happens.”
A typical workout entails a 5-minute warm-up on the elliptical, light stretching, and a strength training session. For each exercise, Ginsburg usually does three sets of 10 to 13 reps. The 84-year-old uses a machine bench press, where she can bench 70 pounds, and does leg curls, leg presses, chest flies, and lateral pull-downs, as well as seated and standing rows. RBG also does one-legged squats, 20 push-ups, and 90 seconds of planks (30 in the middle and then 30 on each side).
The workout isn’t done there, though: According to one ambitious Politico reporter who went through her full routine with Johnson, Ginsburg also does arm and shoulder exercises with dumbbells while balancing on an exercise ball, as well as squats with dumb-bell curls (she curls 12 pounds in each hand).
The workout also involves some leg exercises both on the floor and balancing on one foot, and the use of a bosu ball to improve balance. RBG also does a medicine ball toss while alternating sitting down and standing up without using her hands.
Like her day job, Ginsburg’s gym regimen is serious work.