The RBG Workout

How does Just Ruth Bader Ginsburg remain so active and fit even at the age of 85? The RBG Workout is an hour-long routine that Justice Ginsburg does twice a week with her personal trainer, Bryant Johnson.

Do you want to be as fit as the Notorious RBG (a.k.a Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)?

The exercises and illustrations below are from The RBG Workout.


  1. Jog for five minutes on a treadmill
  2. Light stretching of the neck, arms, legs, and back

Strength Exercises

The entire workout includes strengthening exercises targeting various parts of the body, and is too extensive to cover here. Here are five of the exercises used by Justice Ginsburg:

1. Front and Side Planks

The RBG Workout - Front and Side Planks

Front planks: 2 sets for 30 seconds

With your elbows and forearms on the ground, and your elbows directly underneath your shoulders, maintain a straight line from your shoulders to the backs of your heels while engaging the core muscles.

Side planks: 1 set/15-30 seconds on each side

The RBG Workout - Front and Side Planks

Place your forearm on the ground with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder while lifting your other arm up in the air.

2. Wall Squat with Exercise Ball: 3 sets/10-12 reps

Wall Squat

With an exercise ball placed between your back and the wall, and your feet shoulder-width apart, grab a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees to 90 degrees (B), then straighten your legs again (A).

3. Medicine Ball Push-Ups: 1 set/10-12 reps each hand

Medicine Ball Push-Ups

Get in a push-up position with your knees on the ground, one foot crossed behind the other, one hand on a medicine ball, and one hand on the ground (A). Lower your body downward until your chest is 6-8 inches from the ground (B), then push your body upward (A).

4. Knee Lifts: 1 set/10-12 reps each leg

Knee Lifts

Step onto a step or box with one foot. Push off the ground with the other foot and lift that knee up. Step backward onto the ground with both feet. Repeat with alternating feet.

4. Bench Sit and Stand with Medicine Ball: 3 sets/8-10 reps

Bench Sit

Hold a medicine ball at chest level with your arms extended, and stand in front of a bench or chair with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and sit down, while bending the elbows to bring the ball to your chest. Return to standing position while extending the arms. If you are working out with a friend or workout partner, you can toss the ball to them as you stand up, and have them toss the ball back to you.

Cool Down

Repeat light stretching of the neck, arms, legs, and back

Bottom Line

  • Justice Ginsburg is 85 years old — you are never too old to exercise
  • The RBG Workout is a full-body workout which builds strength, balance, and flexibility
  • The RBG Workout can be done at the gym or at home
  • If you are very busy or are just beginning to exercise, you can start out with just a few of the exercises in the RBG Workout, or do a lower number of sets and reps

Acknowledgement Mimi Zheng, M.D.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Resident

New York Presbyterian Hospital
The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell

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