clock menu more-arrow no yes

Ruth Bader Ginsburg works out like a Canadian Air Force pilot

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 2012
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 2012
Theo Wargo / WireImage / Getty

Liberals have sometimes feared for the health of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an 81-year old cancer survivor — since if she is replaced by a conservative, decisions on abortion rights and other issues might be at risk. Last week, Ginsburg reiterated that she had no intention of stepping down anytime soon. However, some have argued that pundits exaggerate her physical weakness simply because she looks "frail." In a new interview with George Washington University Law Professor Jeffrey Rosen, posted at The New Republic, Ginsburg attempts to dissuade these fears by laying out her regular workout routine:

JR: Your health is good?

RBG: Yes, and I'm still working out twice a week with my trainer, the same trainer I now share with Justice [Elena] Kagan. I have done that since 1999.

...JR: And what do you do?

RBG: I do a variety of weight-lifting, elliptical glider, stretching exercises, push-ups. And I do the Canadian Air Force exercises almost every day.

JR: What are the Canadian Air Force exercises?

RBG: They were published in a paperback book put out by the Canadian Air Force. (FOOTNOTE: Called XBX in its female iteration, the program is a twelve-minute daily workout that includes a series of exercises like push-ups, running in place, and knee-raising. According to the original guide, "The XBX is designed to firm your muscles-it will not convert you into a muscled woman.") When I was twenty-nine, that exercise guide was very popular. I was with Marty at a tax conference in Syracuse. We stopped to pick up a lawyer to attend the morning program with us. He said, "Just a moment, I have to finish my exercises." I asked him what those exercises were. He replied they were the Canadian Air Force exercises and said he wouldn't let a day go by without doing them. The lawyer who told me about the Canadian Air Force exercises stopped doing them years ago. I still do the warm-up and stretching regime almost every day.

Ginsburg also emphasizes that, mentally, she can still do the job "full steam," adding, "I was number one last term in the speed with which opinions came down." Head over to TNR for the full interview.

Update: Here's one workout routine ascribed to the Canadian Air Force.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays