Upper body rotation exercises can help improve upper body flexibility.

The upper body can get stiff over time and you may find that it doesn’t rotate and move as well as it once did. You may not notice this at first, but over time it could cause problems, in which case, you want to work into exercises that help improve upper body rotation and flexibility.

Watch the video or read more below:

Here are the Upper Body Rotation Exercises you should try:

Exercise 1: Side-lying Open Book

Upper Body Rotation Exercise # 1. This is how the Side-lying Open Book should be done.

Lay on your right side with your arms out in front of you and place an imaginary light on your chest. Raise your left arm up so it points to the ceiling, at this point, you’re moving the arm and upper-body at the same time.

Continue moving your left arm backwards and shine that imaginary light up to the ceiling. Return to the start.

Repeat 2-3 x 10 repetitions

Try on the opposite side.

Exercise 2: Curl into a Ball- Rotate the Upper Body

This is how the Curl into a Ball- Rotate the Upper Body should be done.

Curl yourself up into a ball, getting your elbows close to your knees. If your knees are in any way uncomfortable in this start position, then please try another option.

Place your right hand on the side of your head with the elbow out to the side, the left forearm stays on the mat. Rotate your upper body to the right, point your right elbow/shoulder up to the ceiling (see photo), before returning to the start position.

Repeat 2-3 x 10 repetitions.

Try on the opposite side.

Exercise 3: Thread the Needle

This is how the Thread the Needle should be done.

Start in 4-point kneeling (hips are over your knees, shoulders are over your hands). Again, if your knees are sore in this position, try either the side-lying, seated or standing option.

Take your right arm and thread it through the left arm/leg, lowering your shoulder to the floor and reaching your right hand as far away from you as you can.

Return to the start before threading the needle with the left arm.

Repeat 6-8 times each side.

Exercise 4: Seated Rotations

This is how the Seated Rotations should be done.

Sitting on a chair (no swivel chairs!), rotate the upper body around to the left. If the chair has a back, hold onto this and place your left hand on your right thigh. Using the back of the chair and hand on your thigh as leverage, push into the rotation as much as you can do before easing off. How far around can you get your upper back?

Repeat 6-8 times.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Do both the right and left side move the same?

Exercise 5: Standing Bow and Arrow

This is how the Standing Bow and Arrow should be done.

Standing up with your arms at shoulder height, keep your hip facing forwards at all times. Imagine you’re holding a bow and arrow in your left hand. With your right arm, draw it back (as if you’re drawing a bow and arrow), point the right arm behind you and rotate the upper body to the right (watch those hips haven’t also started to rotate!). Return to the start position.

Repeat 6-8 times.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Two Choices When Trying to Stretch:

A. Static Stretch

You can hold it for 20 seconds and that just gives the body and the muscles soft tissue just a little bit of time to get used to that range of movement.


B. Dynamic Stretch

You can keep moving during the entire stretch that’s why the repetition numbers increase. If you think that something is a little bit stiff and doesn’t really move, you want to do a lot of repetitions to help improve the range of movement.

Things to consider:

  • Link the exercise to a daily activity e.g. brushing your teeth while doing the standing bow and arrow stretch
  • Give yourself some time and consistency
  • Recheck in 4 – 6 week’s time to evaluate improvement.

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Trying out different exercises is key to improving and maintaining the body’s flexibility, which in turn can help with recruiting muscles efficiently.

If you’ve got any questions on the above, then please let us know (click for contact details).

Remember – Listen to Your Body!

Please remember to listen to your body. Get any aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later.


As with all information given for exercises and exercise programs, when using our exercise videos or information, please use your common sense and don’t do anything that will hurt you. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. PhysioFit Health will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of information shared on our website or YouTube channel. This includes emails, videos, and text. Thanks for your understanding.

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