Loosen Up
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) has a laugh during stretching on the first day of full squad workouts on February 25, 2012 in Viera, Florida.
Credit: Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post / Getty Images

After his blood gets circulating, Gonzalez begins stretching out his back and chest. He follows with his legs, which provide the real force in his delivery. "About five minutes before I head out, I have my legs stretched so I have the nice high leg kick that I need to keep myself up," Gio says. Although a pitcher has his limbs pushing and pulling in several directions as he winds and delivers, Gonzalez says he's careful not to overdo a stretching routine: "It's weird because the more stretch you get, the worse it is for the body," he explains. "You don't want to feel too stretched because you don't want to feel too loose, where you have no control over the arm. You want to feel loose to where you can get your arm out in front and your body’s just timing right, where your leg is just perfect."