Basics of Stretching - Week 4


Flexibility and Extension in the Upper Body
Need more turn or extension in your upper body? You are not alone! Many golfers tell me they are looking for more turn and flexibility in the upper body. I am believer in building more strength in the upper body by incorporating a weight training program or incorporating a comprehensive yoga program (yoga is weight bearing exercise by using your body weight against the force of gravity). You need to combine flexibility conditioning into your golf fitness program for maximum benefits in your swing.
A balance of upper body strength and flexibility is a direct correlation to generating club head speed.
The following yoga based poses I practice with the San Diego Padres on a regular basis. As you can imagine the pitching staff is as focused on maintaining flexibility in the upper body as you are!
This weeks series is very simple, four simple yet effective exercises.
Here we go!
Dynamic chest opener on the ball:

Sit on the ball and walk the feet forward, rolling the body down on the ball. Support the head and neck on the ball. Engage the gluts so the body is parallel to the floor. Clasp the hands behind the neck and inhale deeply. On the exhale press the elbows away from the body feeling the stretch in the chest. Repeat ten times.
Pec stretch on the ball:

Begin on the knees and bring the ball directly under the elbow. Inhale deeply and on the exhale press the elbow into the ball feeling the stretch in the pecs or chest muscles. Hold for three breaths, relax and repeat five times. Switch sides.

Dolphin pose on the ball:

Place the elbows on the ball, hands clasped together. Pull the navel towards the spine and roll the ball away from you, pressing the elbows into the ball and bringing the spine parallel to the floor. Hold for three breaths, relax and repeat five times.
Extended side stretch for the intercostals:

This is a great stretch for the ENTIRE upper body. Focus on tucking the tailbone under and pressing the right leg into the floor. You will feel this stretch not only on the side body but in the deep hip flexors, psoas and obliques.
Roll the ball so it is placed under your hip and you are supported by the left hand. Note: if you do not have a ball place the right knee on the floor. Inhale deeply and on your exhale stretch your left arm over the head. Hold for five deep breaths and switch sides.
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    Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has over 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at or visit