Peter Crouch’s Football Fitness Workout

Peter Crouch soccer fitness tips
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The archetypal English centre-forward is of average height, powerful and strong. Think Jimmy Greaves, Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney. Which is why the emergence of the 2m-tall, stick-thin Peter Crouch as a key player for both club and country was initially met with surprise.

After being released by Tottenham before making a first-team appearance, the striker consistently found the net for QPR, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Southampton and Liverpool – where he won the FA Cup – before returning to the side he left as a teenager. He averaged a goal every two games for the national side and had commanded around £35m in transfer fees when we caught up with him in 2011.

We wondered what it was that made Crouch so effective in and around the box, despite not fitting the traditional centre-forward stereotype. "I work hard on the aspects of the game that can give me an advantage over defenders," the then Spurs striker said. "So sprint and agility training is very important. The first five yards are vital in breaking away from an opponent, and good agility can give you half a yard to create a shot or avoid a challenge."

If these sound like the kind of skills you need to develop, check out Crouch's agility enhancing workouts.

Agility Workout

"Being agile is important to all attacking players because it can give you the time and space to avoid a tackle, create an opening or fire off a shot," says Crouch. "I do agility sessions most days to improve my reaction speed and turning ability."

1 Hurdle slalom

mens fitness

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Reps 3

  • Set five hurdles at 1m intervals.
  • Run from one end to the other, zigzagging between them.
  • Once at the end, reverse the drill so you run backwards to the start. That’s one rep.

Crouch’s tip: "Lead every turn with a dip of your shoulder. This keeps you lower and improves your turning – it confuses defenders in a game."

2 Cone shuttle run

mens fitness

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Reps 3

  • Set five cones at 2m intervals.
  • Sidestep from the first cone to the second and bend to touch it. Return to the first, touch it, then sidestep out to the third.
  • Repeat this until you’ve touched all the cones, then turn and face the other direction and repeat. That’s one rep.

Crouch’s tip: "The lower your centre of gravity, the easier it is to change direction quickly."

3 Cone slalom

mens fitness

(Image credit: unknown)

Reps 3

  • Place five cones in a zigzag pattern 2m apart.
  • Run around each cone, keeping as close to the cones as you can as you round them.
  • After the last cone reverse the drill, running backwards to the start. That’s one rep.

Crouch’s tip: "This has more width than the hurdle slalom, so you build up more pace to test your agility at speed."

Sprinting Workout

"The faster you can get up to full speed, the more likely you are to win the ball or create space for a key pass or shot," says Crouch. "I do drills that are designed to improve my ability to get to top speed as fast as possible, and hurdles help you drive your knees higher so you build momentum."

1 Close hurdle sprint

Close hurdle sprint

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Reps 5

  • Place five hurdles about 
30cm apart.
  • Sprint over each one, driving your knees high.
  • After the last hurdle sprint
 for about 10m.

Crouch’s tip: "With the hurdles so close, your foot speed is high. Try to minimise the amount of time your feet are in contact with the floor to get your muscles firing quickly."

2 Split hurdle sprint

Split hurdle sprint

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Reps 5

  • Place five hurdles at increasing gaps, starting with the first two about 
30cm apart.
  • Run over each hurdle, driving your legs up as 
soon as your feet touch 
the ground.
  • After the last hurdle sprint for about 10m.

Crouch’s tip: "Sprinting is as much about the arms as the legs, so drive with your arms to get up to full speed."

Shooting And Jumping Workout

"For most attacking players shooting comes naturally, but even the best strikers always work on it," says Crouch. "As a front man you’re expected to score from in the box, outside it and in the air, so jumping and shooting drills are a big part of my training."

1 Control and volley

Control and volley

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Reps Keep going until you can score every time

  • Get a partner to throw a ball into your body.
  • Take a touch to control the ball and, in one movement, turn and shoot before the ball hits the ground.

Crouch’s tip: "You never know where the ball will arrive so vary the throws. You want to control the ball and get it away from your body so you have the room to turn and volley."

2 Turn and shoot

Turn and shoot

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Reps Keep going until you can score every time

  • Get a partner to kick a ball into your feet.
  • Take a touch with your striking foot to get the ball away from your body and then hit it hard and low into the goal.

Crouch’s tip: ‘Your first touch must be firm enough to create the space to get your shot away. Keep your head over the ball – if you lean back you’re likely to sky it over the bar.’

3 Bench jump

Bench jump

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Sets 3  Reps 5

  • Stand in front of a bench.
  • Bend your knees and leap up onto the bench, swinging your arms forward to generate momentum.

Crouch’s tip: "I already have a height advantage over most defenders, but you need to be able to get up into the air quickly to win the header. This drill is great for building jumping power."

Joe Warner
Former editor of Men’s Fitness UK

Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.