Ruth Bader Ginsburg is widely considered to be the most liberal of all the Supreme Court Justices. At 83-years-old, many people are concerned about her age and health, and the possibility that the most liberal Supreme Court Justice could be replaced by a conservative judge of Trump’s choosing if anything were to happen to her.
Ben Schreckinger is a reporter with POLITICO, and he was so curious about the state of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health that he tracked down her personal trainer and went to the gym to replicate what a workout for the elderly Supreme Court Justice looks like. Ginsburg’s personal trainer is a man by the name of Bryant Johnson, and he’s a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserves. Bryant Johnson meets with the 83-year-old Supreme Court Justice twice a week at the Courthouse, typically for one-hour-long sessions. They meet on nights when Ruth Bader Ginsburg is available to workout, and they usually meet at 7pm so the Supreme Court Justice can have PBS NewsHour on in the background while she exercises.
The POLITICO journalist went through what a full workout with Ginsburg’s trainer looks like, and it sounds extremely intense for an 83-year-old woman. Here are some excerpts from his article on replicating that workout:
When Johnson informed Ginsburg he would be leading me through her workout, she told him, “I hope he makes it through.” This was obviously some sort of coded instruction to humiliate me, because after the stretching, Johnson announced he would make me use double the weight that Ginsburg did on the strength exercises to achieve the same effect.
For most of the exercises, Johnson said Ginsburg performs three sets of 10 to 13 reps, depending on his judgment of what her body is up to on a given day. Sometimes he engages in what he called “counting funny” to customize the length of a set, a habit I noticed when he would mumble a count of “four” under his breath after what felt like at least eight reps.
The strength exercises started with a machine bench press, where Ginsburg normally puts up 70 pounds. From there it was leg curls and leg presses, chest flies and lat pull-downs, all on machines, while stretching the muscle groups being exercised in between sets. I performed three sets of seated rows and three sets of standing rows. It was so many rows I asked Johnson, “What about Wade?”
Ginsburg also performs one-legged squats, an exercise that illustrated just how intimate the trainer-justice relationship could get. While he held my hands, Johnson instructed me to raise one leg in the air between his legs and to stand up from seated position on a bench using the other leg until I was standing, practically embracing him, 10 times for each leg, three times. This was not easy, and caused me to look at Johnson — who has jumped out of helicopters, planes and a hot air balloon in the service of this country — in a way he found deeply unsettling. He asked me not kick him in the groin, something that, for the record, Ginsburg has never done
The workout doesn’t end there, though, that’s just the machines. After that they move to the floor and things get even more intense:
“Justice Ginsburg does 10 pushups and she does not do the so-called ‘girl pushups,’” explained Georgetown Law Professor Mary Hartnett during an appearance with the justice earlier this month at the Virginia Military Institute. “She does not use her knees.10 And then she stretches back for a very brief pause and she does 10 more.”
I was able to match Ginsburg’s pushups feat with only a little grunting, though Ginsburg never grunts, as Johnson felt compelled to tell me at one point. He also let me know, as I peppered him with questions, that unlike me, Ginsburg barely rests between sets.
Then came planks: 30 seconds of a standard plank and 30 seconds on each side. These are a recent introduction for Ginsburg, who previously performed sit-ups, and not her favorite exercise. While I planked, Johnson nudged my waist from side to side, instructing me to provide resistance, to further work my core. He does this with Ginsburg, and also stands ready to catch her should she experience muscle failure while planking.
After that, we broke out a giant exercise ball which I sat on while panting, sweating and performing arm and shoulder exercises with dumbbells. Then I pinned the exercise ball between my back and the wall and alternated sets of squats with dumb-bell curls. For this, Ginsburg pumps 12 pounds and I pumped
This is all WAAAAYYYYYY MORE than I’d ever expect an 83-year-old lady to be doing at the gym, but the workout still doesn’t stop there (via POLITICO):
Next, Johnson set up a platform about 18 inches high and had me step up on it while raising my knees and performing a variety of movements to promote leg strength and hip flexibility.
Somewhere in there, he also had me perform leg exercises on the floor as well as while standing and holding on to a staff to keep my balance. At one point he even had me standing on an upside-down bosu—the top of an exercise ball affixed to a flat platform—and falling off while attempting to squat.
Finally, he had me sit on a bench while holding a medicine ball, then stand up, toss him the ball and sit back down again after he flipped the ball back to me.12 “I told the justice that if you cannot do this exercise, you will need a nurse 24-7,” Johnson recalled.
This exercise is crucial, he explained, because it employs the motion needed to use a toilet unassisted. I passed that one with flying colors. After 90 grueling minutes, panting and red in the face, I had more or less successfully completed the Ginsburg workout.
Are you putting in 90-minutes at a time when you hit the gym? Are you busting out planking exercises to strengthen your core? Are you okay with knowing that Ruth Bader Ginsburg works out harder than you? If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions then CLICK HERE to see what the trainer had to say about President Donald Trump’s current fitness routine. If you’re not comfortable with the fact that an 83-year-old lady works out harder than you do then you can at least take solace in knowing that you get more exercise than POTUS.