News & Politics

RBG’s Trainer, Bryant Johnson, Just Did Pushups in Front of Her Casket. So Who Is He?

The duo worked out together for 20 years.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s personal trainer, Bryant Johnson, dropped to the floor of the US Capitol on Friday morning to do a series of push ups in front of her casket. So who is the the man behind RBG’s famous planks?

According to Johnson’s website, he is an Army veteran and member of the Special Forces Airborne Unit, with international training experience in Brazil, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Kuwait. He counts “high level Federal Court officials; Justices, Judges, Attorneys, and Clerks” among his clientele. He and Ginsburg trained together twice a week for 20 years, and Johnson even published a book, The RBG Workout, detailing her exercise routine.

Training legendary justices isn’t Johnson’s only gig: He’s also a records manager at the clerk’s office of the US District Court. The DC resident grew up in Warsaw, Virginia, graduating from Grantham University and DeVry University. He’s also trained other members of the High Court, including Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. 

Ginsburg’s fitness regimen became an element of her pop-culture profile, inspiring a “Plank Like RBG” event on the Supreme Court steps to celebrate her 86th birthday last year. Johnson and RBG also made an appearance together on Steven Colbert’s show, where they broke a sweat with the late-night host in the Watergate’s gym.



Don’t Miss Another Big Story—Get Our Weekend Newsletter

Our most popular stories of the week, sent every Saturday.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Daniella Byck
Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.