HIIT those 27 laps hard – Roller Derby Workout Video!

Five minutes. 

Doesn’t sound like a long time.

That is until you have to skate 27 laps of a roller derby track within that time. Then 5 minutes feels like unending, lung burning torture.

I have come to almost enjoy the 27 in 5 since upgrading my skates, getting fitter and FINALLY reaching the target! I was happy at 27 but then suddenly got I competitive. It crept up to 28 then almost 29. My personal best so far is 31.5 laps in 5 minutes. Now I go into it competing with myself to break that record.

If you’re still struggling to get your 27 you’re probably screaming “TELL ME THE SECRET! HOW DID YOU DO IT?! HELP ME PLEEEAASEE!!”


Well the answer comes in two parts:

1. Get Better At Crossovers. 


roller girl corner

photo credit: Ben Grogan via photopin cc

Good crossovers make for more efficient skating; you expend less energy but gain more speed. The lateral movement of your skates “grab” the floor and pull you round the track, accelerating you out of  and into corners. Nice powerful and fluid strides and crossovers, just like those awesome Olympic speed skaters, will help you whizz around the track like Rogue Runner.

You’re already doing my Crossover Crush workout right? Good. Now work on your on-skates technique.

2. Get A Lot Fitter.


Get fit in your pants! Or not...

photo credit: sotiris_k via photopin cc

A lot of people talk about needing endurance for your 27 in 5 but when I think of endurance athletes I think of long, slow, steady races like marathons. What 27 in 5 requires is something very different, something more similar to middle distance running or weight lifting. Something often called the Intermediate System (read about the science here).



photo credit: wwarby via photopin cc

For the laps, we cycle between periods of intense work, not quite balls to the wall, about 75-80% capacity, and short “rest” periods when we coast around the corners.

This sounds sneakily similar to a workout concept known as High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. So it makes sense to me that to train for laps we need to implement some HIIT in our workout routine, right?

Well, that’s good because I just put together a HIIT workout video!

How To Do HIIT It Hard

PLEASE make sure you are REALLY warmed up for this as it is INTENSE. It also involves a fair bit of high impact stuff so be careful of knees and ankles. Skip to the end of the video for a couple of lower impact versions.

The key to HIIT is to work at close to maximum for a short period before resting for a short period. I’ve gone with 50 seconds work to 10 seconds rest to simulate the demands 27 in 5 puts on you.

Work as hard as you can during the work periods, pumping your arms for extra intensity. It’s only 5 minutes so keep pushing yourself, it will be over soon!

There are some bonus strength moves just ‘cus at the end too, I just did 15-20 of each move but you can do less or more if you’re feeling it. If you’re super hard core, why not do the routine twice!

I’ve also shot this in more of a real-time workout way so we can sweat and die together. (The sweat was actually running into my eyes, gross.)

HITT It Hard Workout

Warm Up

  • Knee highs
  • Bum kicks
  • Arm swings & circles
  • Squats
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Running Knee Highs
  • Running bum kicks
  • Jump twists

HIIT Workout

50 sec work 10 sec rest for 5 intervals. Total 5 minutes. (I use an interval timer app on my phone.)

  • Running knee highs – as fast as you can, pump your arms
  • Low jacks + arms – stay as low as you can, pumping your arms up to the side
  • Burpees + clap – jump and clap above your head at the end of the move
  • Switch jumps – split stance, quickly switching feet with a jump
  • Skater jumps – try to only have one foot on the floor, jump laterally and use arms

Rest 2 mins


  • Chair squats – lower lightly down then raise back up
  • Press-ups – from knees or feet, lower chest to floor
  • Glute bridges – engage core, raise hips & clench bum
  • Upper back raises – hands by ears, raise & lower chest & shoulders 
  • Cross body mountain climbers – bring opposite knee to armpit 



Extra things that can help you get your 27 in 5:

Wheels: Too slippy or too sticky. Wheels can affect how fast you roll or make you slide out around corners. Try other people’s wheels, try pusher wheels, experiment.

Bearings: When was the last time you cleaned your bearings? Do they even spin? If not, that’s not helpful! Clean them or get new ones.

Breathing: Having a more rhythmic breathing can help you die less during laps.

Racing line: Skating the diamond or magic circle is far more productive than trying to stay inside/middle/out.

Slip stream: Get in someone’s slip stream that’s a good skater, use them as your guide around the track. Also good motivation to try and keep up/overtake them.

Mental game: Mentally saying “I CAN’T DO THIS!” or “I’M DYING!” before or during is no help. Instead think; “I’ve got this!”, “Only 3 minutes to go”, “Only 4 more laps”. Counting your strides can also be a useful way to take your mind off the pain.

This lolz-filled video from The Neutrino of the Rat City Rollergirls is also really handy! 

Remember, YOU CAN DO IT!


You can do it



Treble x 


P.S Leave your 27-in5 top tips in the comments!

photo credit: kightp via photopin cc