On the eve of International Women’s Day, Netflix dropped the trailer for RBG–its long-awaited documentary on the feminist hero that is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The 84-year-old is an icon on the Internet, not only thanks to her length, barrier-breaking career in the battlefield of the American justice system, but also because her tough, no-nonsense approach is precisely the inspiration women need in this social and political climate.
And nowhere is her defiant strength more obvious that in her workouts, which are so intense that they actually inspired her trainer, Bryant Johnson, to release a book last year called The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong . . . and You Can Too!
Watching the documentary trailer, you can see Johnson and Ginsburg have a great relationship. In fact, last year, when asked who the closest person in her life was, having lost her husband in 2010 and her good friend Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, she answered, “My personal trainer.”
Since she’s pretty busy fighting for women’s rights on a daily basis, the Supreme Court Justice reportedly only works out with Johnson, an army sergeant, twice a week, but the one-hour session sounds just as brutal as bootcamp.
According to an article by Politico, “the workouts start around 7 p.m. at a gym inside the Supreme Court, and she listens to PBS NewsHour while she exercises. If the workout has to be squeezed in at another time, she will stoop to turning on cable news.”
A typical routine consists of a 5-minute cardio warmup, followed by strength training. The Notorious RBG, as she has been lovingly dubbed on social media, does arm and shoulder exercises with dumbbells while balancing on an exercise ball, as well as squats with 12-pound dumb-bell curls. She hits the machine bench press, where she can bench a whopping 70 pounds, and then moves on to leg curls, leg presses, chest flies, and lateral pull-downs, as well as seated and standing rows.
It doesn’t end there. Her workout also includes a medicine ball toss, balancing on a Bosu ball, one-legged squats, 20 push-ups, and, most famously, 90 seconds of planks (30 seconds of a standard plank and 30 seconds on each side) that prove the seat of justice can never be broken. So, basically, everything that you probably hate doing at the gym. No wonder the woman beat cancer not once but twice.
For more octogenarian women who inspire us, check out Here’s How Jane Fonda Stays an Ageless Wonder and 10 Over-65 Leading Ladies Who Look Amazing. And if RBG’s workout sounds a little too intense for your fitness level, don’t despair: studies show that longer, less strenuous workouts are even more effective than high-intensity ones for prolonging your life.
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