Just when you thought Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg couldn’t get anymore badass, her personal trainer reveals the 84-year-old — and two time cancer survivor — has a workout routine that would leave most gym rats begging for mercy.
In his new book, “The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong…and You Can Too!” Bader Ginsburg’s personal trainer of nearly 20 years, Bryant Johnson, details his intense training sessions with RBG that solidifies her powerhouse status.
Here’s what we found out about the octogenarian’s workout that gives her the stamina to lay down the law both in the courthouse, and in the gym.
She Stretches A Lot
According to Self, after a quick warmup on the elliptical, Johnson leads RBG through a long series of stretching, targeting arms, shoulders, legs, back, and hamstrings.
Stretching is an integral part of a workout routine, although it’s often overlooked by most gym goers. In addition to improving flexibility, stretching increases the range of motion of your joints, which helps to prevent injury. It also improves blood circulation and energy levels, and for a senior like Bader Ginsburg, it also helps to relieve back pain and arthritis.
Though stretching is usually saved for post-workout, performing static stretches before a strength training session, like RBG, helps to maintain flexibility of your muscles.
She Pumps Some Serious Iron
Self reports that Bader Ginsburg does a series of weight resistance exercises, including chest press, leg extension, lat pull-down, cable row, and chest fly machines. According to Vogue, for the arm exercises, RBG will pump out up to 20 in one sitting.
With age, you start to lose muscle density which changes the way in which your body uses and burns energy. This is why consistent strength training is imperative for seniors, like RBG. Resistance training helps seniors to improve their functional strength and flexibility, while building bone density and mass, which protects against osteoporosis.
She Loves Her Push-Ups
“She gets mad if I try to skip the push-ups,” Johnson told Vogue. According to Self, RBG does two sets of 10 regular push-ups — after her already excruciatingly tough strength session. And, not surprisingly, RBG doesn’t do modified.
Push-ups are a great full-body workout, working everything from your neck to your toes, while helping to strengthen your arms and chest. By working the core, push-ups not only give you a defined middle section, but also improves balance and stability, which is key to help seniors from falling. (Seriously, is RBG hiding a six-pack underneath that robe?)
She Has a Unique Workout
According to Vogue, Bader Ginsburg insists on playing PBS’ “NewsHour” or NPR during gym sessions while sporting an old sweatshirt emblazoned with “Super Diva!”
Though RBG’s choice of playlist doesn’t have much of a beat, research shows that music, from the lyrics to the tempo, can affect athletic performance by improving a person’s mind-set or distracting from discomfort.
As for her choice of clothing? Well, it sounds pretty amazing, and it probably helps RBG feel amazing, too. Studies have shown that what an athlete wears can affect their self-perception, which, ultimately, reflects in their performance.
If talk radio and an awesome sweatshirt helps RBG to step up her game in the gym and get in the zone, then maybe she’s onto something.
RBG is a boss. But she is also dedicated to her workout regime. The New York Post reports that she once left dinner with President Obama early just so she could get in her exercise session. Ultimately, what makes RBG powerful in the gym is the attitude she conveys on the bench: confidence, and consistency.
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