'Reasonably fit' reporter tries Justice Ginsburg's workout and finds it is grueling

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. ABA Journal file photo by Sam Kittner.

A journalist who describes himself as “young and reasonably fit” persuaded Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s personal trainer to take him through the justice’s workout.

His findings, described in Politico: “I thought the workout would be pattycake, but it was much harder than I expected. Ginsburg’s personal trainer, it turns out, is no joke.”

Ginsburg, 83, works out twice weekly with Bryant Johnson, a 52-year-old staffer in the clerk’s office for the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The evening workouts last about an hour.

Johnson required 27-year-old journalist Ben Schreckinger to lift double the weights used by Ginsburg, so that the workout would have the same effect. Ginsburg usually bench presses 70 pounds on the weight machine, and she usually lifts 12 pounds when doing dumbbell curls. She also does 20 pushups—and not the kind done with knees on the ground.

The article does not list all the weights lifted by Ginsburg, but it does summarize the exercises. They include leg curls, leg presses, lat pull-downs, one-legged squats, squats using an exercise ball, planks, dumbbell curls and platform step-ups.

“After 90 grueling minutes, panting and red in the face, I had more or less successfully completed the Ginsburg workout,” Schreckinger writes. “Sore, disoriented and cranky, I didn’t feel a day over 65.”

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