Become a Better Cyclist: Is HIIT or LISS the Best Way to Get in Shape?

In this blog we will take a closer look at two of the most dominant forms of cardio: HIIT and LISS. What do the acronyms mean, why should you do them, and which is better for getting in shape?

What is HIIT?

HIIT is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. As the name implies, HIIT revolves around doing cycles of high intensity – typically around 90-95% effort or heart rate – followed by short rest periods.

Sprints (on foot or on your bike), swimming and rowing can all be excellent HIIT exercises. It can be configured in a number of different ways, with one of the more common options being four intervals of 4 minutes broken up by two minutes of active rest between. Going for shorter and more intense cycles is also possible, where 1:20 of intense effort followed by 40 seconds of rest is popular.

HIIT’s leads to short, but intense workouts that can be completed in 20 minutes or less. It will greatly increase your stamina, and the intense effort will be very demanding for your muscles. Don’t be surprised if your legs feel like jell-o for a couple of days afterwards!

What is LISS?

LISS, the acronym for Low Intensity Steady State, is opposite HIIT on the cardio spectrum, and it is a far more common way of exercising.

Less physically taxing than its above counterpart, LISS involves steady exertion over a longer period of time, usually somewhere around 40-65% of your heart rate. This is how our wonderful members commute to work, and can also be done through brisk walking, jogging and swimming.

You typically won’t have periods of rest when doing a LISS workout (though there’s nothing wrong with that), and it can last for as short as 30 minutes and as long as several hours. LISS will burn more calories than HIIT due to lasting much longer, but will be less efficient in increasing your maximal oxygen uptake.

Is HIIT or LISS the Best Way to Get in Shape?

The two are often seen as diametrically opposed training styles. In reality, the fact that they have different strengths and weaknesses means that they complement each other very will. Doing both will likely be better for you than doing just one.

During aerobic training such as LISS, the intensity is low enough that oxygen is constantly available to your muscles. HIIT and other anaerobic exercise is performed at a high enough level of intensity that the body relies on additional energy stores like ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and glycogen to fuel the body instead of just oxygen.

Doing HIIT workouts and pushing into your body’s red zone, so to speak, will increase your VO2 max, your maximal oxygen uptake. Both exercise styles will burn calories and fat, and help maintain a healthy heart and strong muscles.

In the end, the only “best” way to get in shape is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy enough that you will stick to it and continue doing it! For most people, it is irrelevant that HIIT is better at increasing your VO2 max. The most important thing you can do is choosing a form of cardio that you enjoy.

It simply doesn’t matter how optimal a workout is if you don’t do it. So go ahead and enjoy your rides and workouts, however you personally prefer doing them!

Are you cycling to work or thinking of starting? Our state of the art facilities offer more than 400 bike parking spaces utilising the latest German engineering, secure personal lockers, plenty of showers, on-site bicycle repairs and valet laundry service, all on King George Square in the heart of Brisbane CBD!

Learn more about our wonderful amenities on our website or book a free 7-day trial to try it yourself!

This blog is a part of our Become a Better Cyclist series. You can find the previous entries here:




This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.

Become a Better Cyclist: Strengthening Exercises for Cyclists

Cycling is very unique in that it puts your body in the same position and has you performing the same motion thousands of times every time you ride.

Your body will adapt to this stimuli and strengthen your muscles to produce maximum power output in certain ranges of motion. It’s great for cycling, but it may be less than optimal from a every day health perspective.

For example, riding will put your back into flexion; leaning forward and bending your back. Therefore, strengthening muscles that pull the back into a neutral position could be a good idea to avoid becoming hunched over.

All of these exercises will be possible to do at home! Try to aim for 3-5 sets of the same number of repetitions. You don’t want to burn yourself out completely, so try to stop when you feel like you could do two more reps: this is more effective for muscle growth than going to failure, and should allow you to repeat the same set a couple times.

Without further ado, let’s look at our top 5 strengthening exercises that will make you a better cyclist!

Glute bridge

Your glutes are some of the most powerful muscles in your body – or at least they should be. As part of the muscles that extend your hips and let you stand up straight, glutes can often become weakened if you have a sedentary lifestyle or spend most of your workday sitting down.

Glute bridges are a great way to strengthen one of the key muscles in cycling. Better yet, you can do it at home – right now – with no additional equipment needed. Simply lie down on your back, plant your soles on the floor shoulder width apart, and use your glutes to drive your hips up.


Try to keep your shins as perpendicular to the floor as you can. Engage your core to keep your upper body straight, and that’s it! Single leg glute bridge, the more advanced version, is a great option if you find glute bridges too easy: do this by keeping one leg straight and in line with your torso, and the other planted as normal.

Bent-over row

Since most of our time spent on a bike is leaning forward, it’s important to strengthen your back muscles so that we can avoid getting hunched over. The bent-over row is an excellent exercise that targets the middle and upper part of your back while using your core to stabilise your position.

Place your right hand and right knee on an even surface – you could use two chairs, a table, or even a sofa or bed. Engage your core to keep your back straight, and keep your neck in a neutral position. Grab your dumbbell with the left hand and use your back muscles to drive your elbow back. Simple as you like.

If you don’t have access to dumbbells or kettlebells at home, there are plenty of ways to improvise! A three litre milk bottle (or two) could be plenty for a beginner. You could also put a couple in a backpack or use a bucket – just be careful not to spill it! Resistance bands are also a great option here.

Russian twist

Cycling requires a strong core. A lot of time spent on the bike is with your torso in front of your centre of gravity, and strong abdominal muscles will help balance your body. Core exercises can be quite tricky; sit-ups can sometimes be a bit hard on your back, while lying leg lifts can end up using your hip flexors – muscles that already see plenty of use when pedaling – more than your abs.

Few exercises develop strong abdominal muscles like the Russian twist, though. Here’s how you do a Russian twist: simply sit down on the floor with your feet out in front of you. You can keep your heels on the ground if you like, but try not to put too much weight on them. 

Start by holding your clenched fists above your hips. Twist to one side, touch the ground lightly and then do the same on the other side. Add weight if you find this too easy! Dumbbells, kettlebells and medicine balls are optimal, but you can also be creative and fill an empty milk bottle with water. Taking your feet off the ground will make it harder, as you will need to use your core muscles to stabilise your body.


Now that we have exercises that cover your back, glutes and core muscles, it’s time to cover the chest and triceps. Although they aren’t directly related to pedaling power, it’s important to ensure that no muscle groups are underdeveloped. Strong triceps will also make it easier to ride for longer periods, as strong arms help support your bodyweight.

Place your hands under your shoulder joint or slightly outside. Keep your core engaged and straight, and lower yourself down before pushing up. If you find it hard to know how low you need to go, you can put a tennis ball or orange beneath your chest!

There are a lot of push-up variations available if you find them too easy: deficit push-ups, pike push-ups or using a weighted backpack are great options if you are more advanced.

Dumbbell deadlifts

Deadlifts are a fantastic way to train your whole posterior chain in one exercise: you’ll feel this in your back, glutes and hamstrings as well as your abs. It’s deceptively simple, but slow and controlled movements will still make this one challenging.

Simply stand up straight with weights in your hands. Unlock your knees and pull your hips backwards to start the movement. “Paint your legs” with the weights on the way down to keep your centre of gravity over your midfoot. Stop when you feel your hamstrings stretched far enough that you can’t go lower without using your knees; usually just below the knees.

Too simple? Try one-legged for an added challenge! Yes, this does require weights, but getting creative with a bucket of water, a bag of cement or two milk bottles is an option if you don’t have dumbbells or a kettlebell available.

This blog is a part of our Become a Better Cyclist series. You can find the previous entries here:

Did we miss your favourite strengthening exercises? Let us know on Facebook!




This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.

Become a Better Cyclist: Learn to Stretch, part 2

Cycling is very tough, no doubt about it. A lack of flexibility will make any ride much more uncomfortable, regardless of your type of bike and how long you ride for. Shortened, tight muscles pull and restrain your body into unfavorable positions, causing discomfort and poor balance.

Let’s look at some fantastic stretches that all cyclists should have in their arsenal!

Read part 1 in this series if you are new to cycling and stretching!

#1: Spine twist

Spine twists put your shoulders in a neutral position and help loosen up your spine, back, neck and abdominal muscles. Stretching out the back is as important for road cyclists hunched over handlebars as it is for office workers hunched over a keyboard.

Start by lying flat on your back. Stretch your arms out perpendicular to your body, keeping the palms up. Kend your knees up while keeping your ankles together, then roll your knees to one side while you turn your neck and look the other way. Hold for 20 seconds before switching sides.

#2: Quad stretch

Your quadriceps are responsible for the bulk amount of force being generated when you push off with your feet, whether that be on pedals, running, jumping or doing lower body strength training. Tight quads will prevent you from fully straightening your leg while pedaling, and may affect your rhythm and balance on the bike.

This stretch is straightforward and simple, but it will probably be pretty uncomfortable if you aren’t used to stretching. Stand up straight and grab your ankle behind you. Holding onto a wall or chair with the other hand makes it easier to stay balanced.

You should pull your ankle enough that you feel your muscles stretch, but not so much that it becomes difficult to stand with straight hips.

#3: Hip flexor stretch

Your hip flexors sit at the front of your hips and are part of the muscles that lean your torso forward and move your knees up towards your chest when you ride. These muscles are constantly working when we pedal, and giving them a stretch is important to keep you from getting hunched over.

Get into a kneeling position with one leg in front of you. Leave the trailing foot on the floor. Drive your hips forward, and you will feel the stretch at the front of your hips. You can play around and get a feel for how much forward lean you want!

#4 Cat cow stretch

This stretch is excellent for your back, neck and abdominal muscles. Since we spend our time on the bike leaning forward, it is important to have a stretch that moves us in the opposite direction!

Start by getting on all fours: hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Inhale and move into the cow pose by flexing your lumbar spine and dropping your abs and ribs cage towards the floor, pull your shoulders back and look up.

Hold for a few seconds. Exhale and engage your core muscles to move into the cat pose, pushing your hands into the floor and dropping your head in between your arms.

#5 Glute and piriformis stretch

Obviously, your quads do an awful lot of work when you pedal – but so do your glutes. They are some of the most powerful muscles in your body, and are part of the muscles that are responsible for extending your hips. Tight glutes are often part of the reason why some experience lower back pain, but stretching them out can help with that.

Image credit:

Lie flat on your back and put your left ankle on top of your right knee. Clasp your hands behind the right leg. You shouldn’t need to do anything else before you feel the stretch across your left glute. Hold for 20-30 seconds (or more) before switching sides. This can also be done in a seated position, but most people will probably find it easier lying down.

There you have it, our top 5 stretches for cyclists! Did we miss your favourite stretch? Let us know on Facebook!


This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.

Become a Better Cyclist: Learn to Stretch, part 1

Cycling is a great way to exercise, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s also very unique in that it puts your body in the same position and has you performing the same motion thousands of times every time you ride.

Over time you may start feeling stiff as increased muscle tone will lead you to being less limber than you used to be. Stretching and increasing your flexibility will give you more freedom of movement – both on and off the bike.

How & when should I stretch?

Much has been said and written about whether it’s better to stretch before or after a workout. They’re both great, but you need to take some things into consideration!

If you’re stretching before exercising, you should do dynamic stretching: slow and deliberate movements. Since your muscles haven’t been warmed up yet, you should avoid any serious pulling, as you may be at increased risk of tearing muscle fibres apart. Instead, incorporate movements. For example, you could do walking lunges instead of kneeling hip flexor stretches (more on these later!).

This blog will focus on static stretching, the kind that most people will be familiar with; pull a leg or an arm in a certain direction and hold it there. The key is to do it after exercising, when the muscles are warmed up and have increased blood supply.

You’ll want to do each stretch for at least 20 seconds, but how long is too long? There’s probably no such thing, but you definitely reach a point of diminished returns after around 90 seconds. Keep in mind too, you need to prioritise good form over how long you stretch for. 20 seconds of good form is better than 40 seconds of poor form!

How hard should you stretch? It’s hard to answer this question because there are no objective metrics to go by and stretching will feel different to everyone. As a rule of thumb, you should take it to a point where your muscles are giving you resistance, but you shouldn’t push into pain. You may feel some discomfort, especially if you are new to stretching, but you should not feel any sharp, sudden or intense pain.

The basics of stretching

  1. Dynamic stretching before working out is a great warm-up.
  2. Keep static stretching limited to after a ride.
  3. Focus on correct form and gradually increase how long you stretch for.
  4. Feel the burn, but don’t push into pain!

Looking for an end-of-trip facility in Brisbane CBD? At cycle2city, we offer a free 7 day trial with no commitments. Come by our King George Square location for a tour of the facilities, or sign up for a free trial on our website!

We offer 24/7 premium cycling facilities in the heart of Brisbane, and have state of the art bike storage, an in-house bicycle workshop, 400+ personal lockers, plenty of shower cubicles and fresh towels supplied daily.

Want to learn some specific stretches? Click here to read part two in our series, where we will go through some of the best stretches for cyclists!


This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.

Let Lockdowns be the Catalyst for Positive Change

With strict restrictions in place for many weeks, traffic in Brisbane has been drastically reduced. Rush hour now sees far smaller traffic peaks, and congestion is virtually non-existent compared to what it was like two months ago.

Non-essential workers are either working or staying at home, and many are getting a feel for cabin fever for the first time. One positive thing that’s come out of our collective lockdown is that people are going outside and enjoying their local footpaths and bikeways. But that presents its own challenges!

Recommended: Number of Bicycle Thefts Increases Alongside Number of Cyclists

Let’s just say that Brisbane’s cycling infrastructure still has room for improvement, especially in the CBD. Bikeways aren’t exactly available everywhere, and footpaths are often not in the best of shape. The number of bike lanes have definitely increased over the last few years, but we still have a way to go. In fact, both Melbourne and Sydney were ranked in the top 40 cycling cities in the world for 2019, but Brisbane is nowhere to be found on the list.

Brisbane City Council have spent years and millions of dollars improving and expanding a road network that is currently under capacity while pleas for improving city cycling have largely fallen on deaf ears.

Even now, the Lord Mayor is fast tracking $350 millions worth of road projects. In other major cities around the world, they are taking advantage of the decreased city traffic and are closing streets, implementing lower speed limits, and building dedicated bike lanes. Cities like Paris, Milano, Manchester, New York and Berlin are giving city roads back to their people.

It feels like the tide was turning. Our devastating bushfires increased the public awareness of the climate crisis, and the fact that we need to take action now. With traffic levels lower than in decades, this would be the perfect opportunity to pivot towards making Brisbane city green.

Over 100 Australian health and transport experts have published an open letter that calls for the government to enact urgent measures to support safe walking and cycling during our current pandemic.

Our narrow footpaths and limited bikeways make it nearly impossible to maintain social distancing, and it is putting us all at risk – especially now that there are more people out walking and cycling than ever before!

If you want to read the open letter, you can find that here in full.
You can support this national campaign by signing the petition on

Number of Bicycle Thefts Increases Alongside Number of Cyclists

Many people are dusting off their bicycles and cycling to the city now that there is less traffic on our roads and using public transport during a pandemic is less than appealing. Unfortunately, this has also led to increased numbers of bicycle thefts!

Police from the Brisbane City and Fortitude Valley Crime Prevention Unit have issued a bicycle theft crime alert, warning cyclists that thieves are targeting bicycles in several areas in central Brisbane and Fortitude Valley over the last couple of weeks:

  • Brisbane City: Queen Street
  • Spring Hill: Leichhardt Street
  • Kelvin Grove: Ramsgate Street and Kelvin Grove Road
  • Bowen Hills: King Street
  • Newstead: Evelyn Street
  • New Farm: Welsby Street

A range of different bikes are being targeted, police say, as everything from medium priced bikes to road bikes, mountain bikes and e-bikes have been reported stolen in the aforementioned areas recently.

Police say that the bikes have been stolen from a range of locations, including open air carports, residential unit block communal garages, residential yards and residential garages.

It is strongly recommended that bike owners or people who live in or cycle to these areas properly secure their bicycles. Always secure your bicycle with a high quality padlock or chain to a solid and immovable object, and always close and lock your garage doors.

If you’re looking for the best way to keep your bike safe and secure in Brisbane city, you should look no further than cycle2city. Our end of trip facility offers 420 bike parking spaces utilising the latest German technology.

We are fully secure with electronic pass card access, CCTV monitoring and are fully staffed. We also have a second line of electronic security to separate male and female facilities.

You can read more about our state of the art facilities on our website.

Yes – we are an essential service and are still open to members 24/7 in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD! Read more about the precautions we’ve taken to protect your health on our blog.

Still not convinced? Why not sign up for a trial? You get full use of our facilities for a whole week – for free, with no commitments!