Assessing the Players
In 2013, the Pittsburgh Steelers finished second in the AFC North with an 8-8 record, a repeat of their 2012 win-loss column. Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown had the second most receiving yards with 1,499 yards and 110 catches, while Ben Roethlisberger wrapped up the season with 4,261 yards. Looking ahead to 2014, this tough football team hope to power over the .500 hump.
“We are training to become better football players and hopefully this year we will become a better football team,” says strength and conditioning coach Garrett Giemont. “If you want to be great, you have to work with your teammates to gain that chemistry so you continue to improve in the game of football.”
At the end of the 2013 season, Giemont analyzes each athlete to prepare a customized program just for him.
“We asses each athlete, taking their strengths, weaknesses and injuries into account, then place them into categories,” says Giemont. “From those categories we go ahead and build their programs.”
The Steelers 2013 offseason program consisted of two weeks of training with the strength and conditioning staff, three weeks of both weightlifting and football drills, and four weeks of organized team activities and mini-camp.
Giemont assessed the players again right before training camp, just as he did right after the regular season, then it was time to work hard and prepare for what looks to be a season of hard running and long passes for the Steelers.
Check out four new training technologies the Steelers have implemented recently to make an impact on the Heinz Field gridiron.
Wearable GPS Tracking
The Steelers used Catapult Sports, a wearable GPS. tracking device, for the first time in 2014 to get the most out of their training.
“Catapult Sports gives distance, speed, player load, and more so coaches can get the best practice conditions for the athletes,” says Giemont. “We want to make sure we’re giving the players the latest and the greatest technology.”
The second new addition to the Steelers’ strength and conditioning program this offseason was Hypoxico Altitude Training Systems, a machine that simulates high-altitude training.
“Using the Hypoxico device allowed us to start training athletes who were unable to condition their body at an altitude because of injury or surgery,” says Giemont. “You structure programs with these elements to get the early success which hopefully leads to late success.”
Interactive Bike Workouts
Last season, the Steelers started utilizing Expresso Bikes in their newly renovated weight room. These stationary bikes with large screens offer more than 40 different virtual “worlds” to ride in and connect to the Internet for a fully interactive and beneficial workout.
“Whether recovering from a knee injury or preparing for more intense conditioning, the Expresso Bike is great,” Giemont says.
Two seasons ago, the Steelers introduced the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, a treadmill that uses air pressure to eliminate the effect of gravity on running, essentially making it a nonimpact movement.
“You can get tremendous conditioning without the labor of striking the ground, with the Alter G,” says Giemont. “It takes a certain percentage of a body weight off of running, which works even for 330-pound guys.”