When it comes to being a total badass, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of our biggest inspirations. The U.S. Supreme Court justice is still fighting for women’s rights and working her tail off at 84, an age when most people would feel justified in taking it a little easy.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the feminist icon opened up about her exercise routine this week while visiting the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C., and — surprise surprise — it’s pretty damn remarkable.
Just for starters, Ginsberg regularly busts out 20 unmodified push-ups at a time, something her trainer Bryant Johnson details in his new book, “The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong … and You Can Too!”
So how exactly did Ginsburg work up her strength? It was a gradual process that began when her health was on the decline.
“Bryant has been my trainer since 1999. It was the year of my bout with colorectal cancer, with a nine-hour surgery, nine months of chemotherapy, six weeks of daily radiation,” she told the audience at Georgetown Law Center. “When we came to the end of that stressful time, my husband said, ‘You look like a concentration camp survivor. You’ve got to do something to build yourself up.’”
The Justice’s push-up skills came gradually as she began regaining her strength. Bryant had her start with wall push-ups (standing an arm’s length away from a sturdy door or a wall, bringing your chest toward the wall and then pushing away). Eventually, she transitioned to push-ups on the knees until she graduated to full-on push-ups, which she has been doing for many years now, she says.
An additional way to work up to regular push-ups is to incorporate another one of Ginsburg’s exercises: the plank (which also happens to be the exercise that gives Cher her incredible physique at 71). The beauty of the plank is that it builds both arm strength and core strength — two integral components of a proper push-up.
Ginsburg’s other exercise secret is that she never lets her exhaustion win. No matter how tired she may be at the end of the day, she is always refreshed after she meets with Bryant, she says, and that’s what keeps her going.
For more details on Ginsburg’s workout routine, stay tuned for the book release on October 17.
And in the meantime, start getting yourself push-up ready. Because if RBG can find time to work out while simultaneously fighting for our rights on the daily, you can too!