Nazari, G and MacDermid, JC. Minimal detectable change thresholds and responsiveness of zephyr bioharness and Fitbit Charge devices.
J Strength Cond Res34(1): 257–263, 2020—The aim of the current study was to define the minimal detectable change (MDC) thresholds for Zephyr Bioharness (ZB) and Fitbit Charge Heart Rate (FC-HR) variables and to establish the internal responsiveness of ZB and FC-HR devices in terms of their HR, respiratory rate variables, and number of steps taken variables, in a healthy sample of men and women at resting, submaximal activity and throughout recovery phases. A total of sixty participants (30 women, 48 ± 15) and (30 men, 48 ± 15) were recruited using stratified convenience and snowball sampling approaches from our university student, staff, and faculty population. At rest, MDC90 values of ±4.89 and ±5.15 were noted for ZB and FC-HR devices, respectively. Throughout the recovery, thresholds of ±8.14 for ZB and 8.74 for FC-HR were reported. During the submaximal phases, scores of ±8.18 and ±9.35 were established for ZB and FC-HR, respectively. From a resting to a submaximal state, the standardized response means (SRMs) for ZB and FC-HR variables exhibited large responsiveness of SRMZB-HR = 4.42; SRMFC-HR = 4.04. In addition, the ZB respiratory rate variable showed the largest effect size of SRMZB-RR = 2.55. Similarly, the large effect size of SRMFC-ST = 1.76 was reported for the FC-HR steps taken variable. From a submaximal to a recovery state, the SRMs for ZB and FC-HR variables demonstrated effect sizes of SRMZB-HR = −3.10; SRMFC-HR = −3.12. Furthermore, the ZB respiratory rate variable displayed similar internal responsiveness measures of SRMZB-RR = −2.45. To conclude, Similar MDC HR thresholds can be expected using the ZB and FC-HR devices and that the two devices demonstrated large internal responsiveness in our healthy male and female cohort when transitioning from resting to submaximal states and vice-versa. Our findings suggest that the ZB and FC-HR devices can be used in monitoring performance improvements or deterioration over time and would allow qualified personnel in assessing the effectiveness of exercise programs in healthy individuals.