By Ashley B. Greenblat

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first female faculty member to be tenured at Columbia Law School, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, and was a trailblazer for women’s rights and gender equality. But what you may not know about RBG is that her strength wasn’t limited to the courtroom.

She was an exercise enthusiast with an impressive training routine that would make most 20somethings, let alone a woman in her 80s, break a sweat.

In honor of the late RBG, try this circuit inspired by some of her favorite exercises that helped keep her at the top of her game.

For this workout, you will need a long resistance band, a pair of free weights, a step, and a small medicine ball.

Warm-up. RBG warmed up by hopping on the elliptical or treadmill, moving briskly for five minutes. If you don’t have access to a cardio machine, simply get outside for a fast-paced walk or jog. You can even jog in place for five minutes. The goal is to get your heart pumping and circulation flowing to warm up cold muscles.

Exercise 1: Plank, 30-second hold

  • Using a mat or carpeted floor, prop your body weight up on your forearms and balls of your feet. Your shoulders should be stacked over your elbows. Your spine should be straight with your hips, legs, and neck aligned. Your gaze should be relaxed, focusing slightly forward.

Exercise 2: Side plank, 30-second hold a side

  • Rest on your right side with your forearm against the floor and shoulder stacked on top of elbow. Your feet should be stacked on top of each other.
  • Using your core strength, push through your forearm and feet to lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line. When steady, elevate your left arm. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
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Exercise 3: Medicine ball push-ups, 10 reps a side

  • Start in the plank position with your weight distributed between your hands and knees. Place either a small medicine ball or a large book beneath your right hand.
  • Lower your body down until your chest hover a few inches off the floor, then push through your hands to return to the starting stance. Repeat 10 times, then practice on the other hand.

Repeat exercises one through three, two times.

Exercise 4: Single leg stand, 10 reps a side

  • Sit at the edge of a sturdy chair with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and feet firmly planted on the floor. Lift your right leg slightly and dig your left heel into the ground as you push through it to lift your body to a standing position. Your supporting leg should stay straight, with shoulders back and gaze forward.
  • Hold for two counts then slowly and carefully lower back down to the seat. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.

Exercise 5: Bench sits, 10 reps

  • Sit at the edge of a sturdy chair with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and feet firmly planted on the floor. Hold a medicine ball or book close to your chest.
  • Push through your heels to stand, then engage your abs as you extend the ball in front of you at shoulder height. Hold for a count, then pull the ball back in and sit.

Repeat exercises four and five, two times.

Exercise 6: Standing rows, 10 reps

  • Grab your resistance band and wrap it around a stable object, such as a pole or bedpost. Loop it around so it is even on both sides.
  • Holding each end at shoulder height, pull back so your hands graze your ribs. Squeeze your shoulder blades for two counts, then release.
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Exercise 7: Knee lifts, 10 reps a side

  • Using a step, or for a greater challenge a more elevated platform such as a chair or ledge, position your right foot on the step — no hanging heels.
  • Push your weight into your right heel and lift your body up onto the step while driving your left knee up toward your torso. Do not hunch. Keep your shoulders back and gaze forward. Hold until balanced. Keep your right foot in place as you lower your left leg back down. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.

Repeat exercises six and seven, three times.


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