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Use of Mobile Applications to Collect Data in Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

A Narrative Review

Peart, Daniel J.1; Balsalobre-Fernández, Carlos2; Shaw, Matthew P.3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 4 - p 1167–1177
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002344
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Peart, DJ, Balsalobre-Fernández, C, and Shaw, MP. Use of mobile applications to collect data in sport, health, and exercise science: A narrative review. J Strength Cond Res 33(4): 1167–1177, 2019—Mobile devices are ubiquitous in the population, and most have the capacity to download applications (apps). Some apps have been developed to collect physiological, kinanthropometric, and performance data; however, the validity and reliability of such data is often unknown. An appraisal of such apps is warranted, as mobile apps may offer an alternative method of data collection for practitioners and athletes with money, time, and space constraints. This article identifies and critically reviews the commercially available apps that have been tested in the scientific literature, finding evidence to support the measurement of the resting heart through photoplethysmography, heart rate variability, range of motion, barbell velocity, vertical jump, mechanical variables during running, and distances covered during walking, jogging, and running. The specific apps with evidence, along with reported measurement errors are summarized in the review. Although mobile apps may have the potential to collect data in the field, athletes and practitioners should exercise caution when implementing them into practice as not all apps have support from the literature, and the performance of a number of apps have only been tested on 1 device.

1Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom;

2Department of Physical Education, Sport and Human Movement, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain; and

3Department of Sport, management and Outdoor Education, University of Worcester, UK

Address correspondence to Dr. Daniel J. Peart, Daniel.peart@northumbria.ac.uk.

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.