Validation of Garmin Fenix 3 HR Fitness Tracker Biomechanics and Metabolics (VO2max)

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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  • 1 University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • 2 Utah Valley University
  • 3 Brigham Young University
  • 4 Tulane University
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The purpose of this study was to determine the validity of the Garmin fēnix® 3 HR fitness tracker. Methods: A total of 34 healthy recreational runners participated in biomechanical or metabolic testing. Biomechanics participants completed three running conditions (flat, incline, and decline) at a self-selected running pace, on an instrumented treadmill while running biomechanics were tracked using a motion capture system. Variables extracted were compared with data collected by the Garmin fēnix 3 HR (worn on the wrist) that was paired with a chest heart rate monitor and a Garmin Foot Pod (worn on the shoe). Metabolic testing involved two separate tests; a graded exercise test to exhaustion utilizing a metabolic cart and treadmill, and a 15-min submaximal outdoor track session while wearing the Garmin. 2 × 3 analysis of variances with post hoc t tests, mean absolute percentage errors, Pearson’s correlation (R), and a t test were used to determine validity. Results: The fēnix kinematics had a mean absolute percentage errors of 9.44%, 0.21%, 26.38%, and 5.77% for stride length, run cadence, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time, respectively. The fēnix overestimated (p < .05) VO2max with a mean absolute percentage error of 8.05% and an R value of .917. Conclusion: The Garmin fēnix 3 HR appears to produce a valid measure of run cadence and ground contact time during running, while it overestimated vertical oscillation in every condition (p < .05) and should be used with caution when determining stride length. The fēnix appears to produce a valid VO2max estimate and may be used when more accurate methods are not available.

Carrier is with the University of Nevada. Creer, Holmes, Dahl, Weber and Standifird are with Utah Valley University, Orem, UT, USA. Williams is with Brigham Young University. Jolley is with Tulane University.

Standifird (tyler.standifird@uvu.edu) is corresponding author.
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