Pistol Squats and Push-Ups: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stays Fighting Fit

push ups for beginnersThe supreme court justices personal trainer details her regimen in a new book: If you think she’s tough on the bench, you should see her at the gym

In the days after the 8 November election, distressed liberals offered to donate their vital organs, shipments of fresh produce anything that might keep the supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg healthy and out of retirement.


While Democrats fretted online about the bone density and blood pressure of the oldest and arguably best-known member of the supreme court, the justice, now 84, quietly continued her twice weekly workouts with her personal trainer, Bryant Johnson.

I always tell people, If you think she’s tough on the bench, you should see her at the gym, said Johnson, whose new book The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong and You Can Too!, was released this month. She’s tough as nails.

Earlier this year, a Politico reporter asked Johnson if he could try Ginsburgs routine. The decision, as always, was up to the justice. When Johnson asked her, she paused to consider the request, before saying only: I hope he makes it through the workout.

Johnson says Ginsburg, a two-time cancer survivor whose small frame often appears swallowed in a sweeping black robe, is stronger today than when they began training together more than 18 years ago.

In an interview at Johnson’s office inside the DC federal courthouse, where he works by day as a records specialist, Johnson said he was motivated to write the book to set the record straight about what the workout entails.

how to remain fit

Bryant Johnson on Ruth Bader Ginsburg: She’s tough as nails.

Her workout includes chest presses, leg curls, pull-downs and cable rows, and yes, push-ups and planks. During the hour-long session, Ginsburg does regular push-ups and a version with a hand placed on a medicine ball, as well as front and side planks.

Perhaps the hardest move is the pistol squat, which requires moving up from a seated position with one leg. For this exercise, Johnson says he holds the justice’s hands for stability.

For years, Johnson urged Ginsburg to rest more, but once, during a workout, PBS NewsHour aired a segment that mentioned Benjamin Franklin slept only four hours a night. They exchanged looks and Johnson never again advised her to get more sleep.

Super Diva


During the sessions, Johnson counts each rep and periodically offers words of encouragement. Occasionally he makes jokes, which she indulges with a smile or a laugh if it’s genuinely funny but their discussions rarely veer far beyond the task at hand. After the workout, Johnson escorts Ginsburg back to her chambers before leaving for the night.

Johnson’s doctors agree that Ginsburg has only gotten stronger with age. The trainer calls her regular bone density scans his report card, and so far he’s meeting the mark.

Ginsburg started training with Johnson in 1999, at the urging of her husband who insisted she was too frail after recovering from a long bout with colorectal cancer.

You can read more: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/oct/29/ruth-bader-ginsburg-workout-bryant-johnson-book

Here’s a related video on how to do a perfect push up:

Here is another program that is just about pistol squats and push-ups: https://www.chroniclesofstrength.com/program-just-push-ups-pull-ups-pistol-squats/


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