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Do you need a personal trainer to learn how to do the splits?


 "Hi...are you still available to provide split training? I am seeking for a trainer to help me achieve the splits."

 - Kamal B.




Hello Kamal!

I presume your email is in response to my 2013 post titled "How to do the Splits".

However I am sorry to disappoint you, I am not available to do such training right now (due to COVID), but also you don't really need a personal trainer to train yourself how to do the splits. All you really need to do is to be doing the Three Exercises listed on that page daily.

1. Each Butterfly Stretch takes 5 to 10 seconds to do and you're supposed to do 10 of them. If you take a short break between each stretch you should be able to complete 10 of them in about 5 minutes.

2. Knees and Leg Stretches take 30 to 60 seconds each and you want to do 5 for each leg, so 10 total. You shouldn't really need a break between the stretches, but if you are taking short breaks then it will take about 5 to 15 minutes to do all 10 stretches. So on average about 10 minutes.

3. The Standing Leg Stretches take 10 seconds each and you want to do 10 for each leg, so 20 total. With short breaks you should be able to do 20 stretches in about 7 minutes.

The 4th activity of course is attempting to do the splits, but I don't recommend even trying this until week 3 or 4 of consistently doing the stretches.

Now if you've been doing some math you will have noticed it only takes about 22 minutes per day to do the stretches. Thus you don't really need a personal trainer to watch you do the stretches and my minimum pay rate is for 1 hour of my time, so you'd be paying for the full hour and you'd have to do some other kind of exercises for the other 38 minutes. I would be really bored watching the stretches however as you don't really need me (or any other trainer) to help you do these particular exercises.

Many people are able to successfully do the splits after 30 days of doing the stretches, but obviously "mileage may vary" with this depending upon the person's commitment to remembering to do the stretches every day and their personal level of fitness / flexibility before they started doing the stretches.

I wish you luck in your journey and hope you will make the stretches part of your daily routine so you can eventually reach your goal.

Charles Moffat

The Three Main Types of Personal Trainers

There are three main types of personal trainers out there, and they can basically be organized on a triangular chart between the three styles of instructing.

1. The Exercise Buddy Personal Trainer

This type of personal trainer typically does the exercises with you. You are basically paying them just to do the exercises with you, but you're also paying them to help motivate you to exercise more.

Some clients prefer this style of personal trainer because they like the exercise buddy experience. It is more informal and friendly.

However to save money you could literally just find a real exercise buddy who has a similar schedule to you. Or several exercise buddies. Or find a group of people who like exercising together (outdoors usually).

2. The Drill Instructor Personal Trainer

Some people like having someone boss them around and tell them what to do. This doesn't necessarily mean they are shouting at you and ordering you about like a real drill instructor, but the concept is basically someone who tells you what to do (although not necessarily how to do it, see #3 below on how to do it).

Not everyone is into being bossed around all of the time, but every personal trainer has to do this at least a little bit because it is part of the whole teacher-student role to sometimes be telling people what they need to be doing.

3. The Form Oriented Personal Trainer

This type of personal trainer is focused on making sure you do the exercises correctly and is watching you to make sure you do them properly. They are also sometimes demonstrating how to do the exercises properly so you get a better idea of how to do it.

The Form Oriented instructor is really focused on teaching you the proper "how to" of each exercise, often for safety reasons so you don't hurt yourself, but also for efficiency reasons so you are getting the most out of the exercise instead of developing a sloppy form that is both inefficient, but also unsafe.

There are also legal reasons why personal trainers should focus on form and safety.

I recall years ago hearing about a "celebrity personal trainer" in the USA who was more in the drill instructor variety of personal trainer with respect to weightlifting, but she pushed her client too far physically and he ended up complaining about pain in his arms. She told him to "man up" and "no pain no gain", etc. He ended up tearing the ligaments in his arms and ended up with permanent damage to his arms, and consequently suing the personal trainer for negligence. It was wrong for her to be pushing her client so hard like that and to be ignoring safety issues. Nor are such lawsuits uncommon. Just do a search for personal trainer negligence lawsuit and you will find that a lot of personal trainers are failing to do their due diligence when it comes to safety issues with respect to form.

What about Me?

As an archery instructor (and boxing instructor, swimming instructor, and ice skating instructor) all of the sports that I teach are form oriented. Archery is extremely form oriented, but the other sports place a lot of emphasis on form too.

If I had to choose therefore I would say I am closer to being a Form Oriented instructor than the other two. Yes, I am still demonstrating things to my students, but I am certainly not the exercise buddy who is doing the exercise next to them. I spend most of my time watching the student do the tasks set for them and then correcting their mistakes. Likewise I do have to boss my students around regularly, but I also sometimes give the student the option to choose what we are doing on a particular day.

Eg. Let's say a student signs up for 10 archery lessons. The first five lessons I have a lesson plan for, but the the final 5 lessons are more dependent upon what the student wants to learn and what the student is more interested in learning. Thus I take cues from the student and customize the lessons to their needs.

I am probably somewhere in the middle, closer to average, when compared to most personal trainers, but with a stronger emphasis on the form oriented issues.

I firmly believe in the whole "safety first" mantra with respect to exercising and sports.

Take swimming for example. People need to learn how to swim in the shallow end of the pool before you toss them into the deep end of the pool and expect them to learn how to tread water. If a swimming instructor forced a swimming student into the deep end of the pool, told them to tread water, and then the student drowns I would fully expect the personal trainer to be found guilty of negligence and manslaughter. Not just sued. Imprisoned.

The "safety first" mantra never hurt anyone. But a lot of people have no doubt been hurt or died historically because they ignored safety concerns.

Good Riddance 2020!

 What a horrible year 2020 has been!

I hope 2021 is better. There is certainly the chance it could be worse... COVID could just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of craziness happening in 2021...

Have a Hopeful and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas 2020!

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, we wish you a safe and joyous holiday season.

Charles Moffat & Family

PS. And a Happy New Year in 2021!

And for your amusement:

Easy Ways to Exercise in Front of Your Screen

Whether you’re someone who uses phone apps to simplify your schedule, a parent who juggles tablet time with your kids, or newly working-from-home, modern life has much of our daily life centered around a computer screen. Finding ways to stay active while at home can be hard but with the right posture and practices getting that exercise at home is easier than you think. In fact, the best adjustments you can make will be while sitting right in front of your screen!

Remember to always consult your doctor before introducing any new exercises to your routine or if you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort. All of the exercises and recommendations mentioned here should be low-effort and easy to modify, so you shouldn’t experience any pain while performing them. If you do, stop immediately and seek the opinion of a medical professional.

Proper Posture

First things first, consider how you’re sitting right now. If you’re sitting at a desk, how’s your posture? Are your shoulders rolled forward or are they situated over your hips? Is your back hunched or are you sitting up straight? If you’re using your phone and standing or sitting in a recliner, is your neck crooked or are you giving it enough support?

These kinds of positions can cause tension to accumulate in your body throughout the day, especially if you spend long hours sitting in one spot. Take short breaks every hour or so to think about how you’re positioned and do some of these quick exercises to give your muscles a break and reset your posture.

Neck and Shoulders

Stretching your neck and shoulder muscles will help relieve tension that can cause headaches. Start by very gently dropping your chin down and rolling your head from shoulder to shoulder, keeping your chin against your chest. Try and keep your shoulders relaxed and down while you do this. Don’t over-extend or roll your head past the half-circle of your shoulders otherwise, you could put too much strain on your cervical spine.

Sit up straight and shrug your shoulders up and down, extending the top of your shoulders straight up towards your ears. Pull your shoulder blades together behind your back before relaxing them again.


Your eyes are a muscle just like your neck and your shoulders, so make sure to give them a stretch when you take a break too. Spend time focusing on something other than a screen for at least five minutes every hour. Try focusing your eyes together, first to the left and then the right. Then up and down, and finally in a clockwise circle and then a counterclockwise circle.


When you think about posture your hands might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s important to remember to stretch your wrists too if you use the computer a lot. Loosen your wrists and shake your hands out very lightly to release the tension. Raise your arms, lifting your hands so your palms are facing each other, and gently press your palms together. Press and release several times to give your wrists a light stretch.

Picking up the Pace

Stretching and maintaining posture will help with long-term wellness, but you can also get your heart rate going in front of your desk or while sitting on the couch. Taking cardio breaks will keep your blood circulating and the exercise could even help with productivity. The best part is you can do most of these while waiting for a screen to load, listening in on a conference call, or even while watching a favourite movie again and again.

Seated Exercise

While sitting upright, lift one leg until it is parallel with the floor and hold it for ten seconds before gently lowering it back down. Then do the same with the other leg. You can increase the number of repetitions as you build your strength, and if you need a challenge you can even add an ankle weight or loop a bag on your foot for some added heft.

Doing this same exercise but with no weights, a bent knee, and a little extra speed will help get your heart rate going. Make sure to keep your spine straight so you’re targeting your abdominal and leg muscles and not straining your back.

Standing Exercise

Using the edge of a desk or the back of a chair (not a rolling one!) to brace yourself, you can do a standing push-up to give your upper body a workout. Put your arms about shoulder-width apart and move your feet back until you’re at an incline, palms firmly on the desk. Breathe out and gently lower yourself as far as you can towards the desk before pushing yourself back up. Don’t lock your elbows or lower yourself further than is comfortable--you don’t want any unnecessary strain on your joints.

The “invisible” jump rope is a great low-impact cardio exercise since all you’ll need is yourself and a small space to be able to run in place. Imagine that you’re holding a jump rope--yes, this is also a thought exercise--and skip rope. It’s that simple. Try alternating footwork, jumping on only your left or only your right foot, or changing your pace. However you do it, it’ll get you up and out of your chair and you don’t have to worry about accidentally flinging a jump rope at your computer.

The Extras

Some gadgets that can encourage you to be active in front of your screen and that may genuinely help, like standing desks, pedal machines, and yoga balls. But before you throw money at a solution you’re not sure you’ll like, try making some of these simple adjustments first. The hardest part of starting a routine is making something a habit, so the most important thing to do is stick to it. You don’t have to do it perfectly every time, you just have to do it.



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