This exercise can get painful quickly, but will improve your stretch if you make it a regular part of your practice for a month or two. This helps with jazzy chords, and the occasional 1st-position lead break where you have to reach up for a note or two on the skinny E string.
The fellow who taught this exercise to me is a great flatpicker and teacher with several recordings released. You should check him out at his website, oldbridgemusic.com.
I hope you guys are getting some good picking in. I should be done with the Salt Creek rhythm tracks very soon.