Step through the doors of Full Strength in Minnetonka and you may find yourself face-to-face with an NHL player. Led by Jayme Pantekoek, Adam Kragthorpe and Eric Johnson, the workout facility offers personal training for athletes, with a focus on hockey.
Matt Carle, a defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning, is one of several NHL players who use the facility during the offseason. Carle’s wife is from the Lake Minnetonka area, and the two bought a summer home on the lake in 2009, where they reside during warmer months. Because Pantekoek has been training Carle for the past six years, when Pantekoek, Kragthorpe and Johnson opened Full Strength in April 2014, Carle didn’t hesitate to make it his off-season training facility.
“[Pantekoek] really understands what we are trying to do in the summer,” Carle says. “Every guy is trying to be bigger, stronger and faster, but it is mostly about injury prevention.”
This idea of a well-rounded workout regimen is what makes Full Strength so different. Pantekoek’s program focuses on strength, agility, rehabilitation and nutrition. His goal isn’t just to create a better hockey player, but a healthier overall athlete who can use his techniques on and off the ice.
Every workout focuses on the whole body, starting with explosive agility moves to get the body active. Weight training such as squats and bench presses follows, and each routine ends with stretching, rehab work to prevent injury and a protein shake. Pantekoek also works with the athletes (particularly the younger ones) on good, healthy nutrition.
“The workouts tend to be hockey-specific, but the goal is to build a better athlete,” Pantekoek says. Most of his students are hockey players, but on a given day he could be working with a skier, golfer or baseball player, from age 10 all the way to adult. He tracks each athlete’s progress on a worksheet, noting when the athlete is ready to add weight to his or her lifts.
“I’m trying to bring a measurable thing to an immeasurable sport like hockey,” Pantekoek says. With a background in track and field, and 10 years as a strength conditioning coach, Pantekoek brings a fresh perspective on conditioning to his hockey students. By teaming up with Kragthorpe and Johnson, both of whom have extensive hockey backgrounds, Pantekoek creates a near-perfect workout.
Jimmy Schuldt, a 2013 Minnetonka High School grad and now a junior hockey player in the United States Hockey League for the Omaha Lancers, says, “I’ve improved more in three or four weeks working out here than I did all of last summer.” Playing in the juniors is a way for players to hone their skills before moving on to college, which Schuldt will do next year when he joins the St. Cloud State Huskies.
With so many talented players coming through the gym, it should come as no surprise that the athletes have nothing but praise for Pantekoek. Word spreads quickly in the Minnetonka hockey community—particularly when you have NHL players on your side. “It’s a really tight, small community,” Pantekoek says. “We’ve been primarily relying on people talking as our advertising, which has been really nice.”
What Pantekoek may not realize is that people don’t just come to the gym because of a few hockey workouts; they come because of him.
Carle, a player who’s reached a status most hockey players only dream of, says, “For any young hockey player, I don’t think there is a better place. [Pantekoek] works with everybody, and he is a just a great human being. I would run through a wall for him.”
3432 County Road 101, Wayzata