Improving Exercise Performance with an Accelerometer-Based Smartphone App: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective

Proper exercise form is critical for the safety and efficacy of therapeutic exercise. This research examines if a novel smartphone application, designed to monitor and provide real-time corrections during resistance training, can reduce performance errors and elicit a motor learning response.

Design

Forty-two participants aged 18 to 65 years were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Both groups were tested for the number of movement errors made during a 10-repetition set completed at baseline, immediately after, and 1 to 2 weeks after a single training session of knee extensions. The treatment group trained with real-time, smartphone-generated feedback, whereas the control subjects did not. Group performance (number of errors) was compared across test sets using a 2-factor mixed-model analysis of variance.

Results

No differences were observed between groups for age, sex, or resistance training experience. There was a significant interaction between test set and group. The treatment group demonstrated fewer errors on posttests 1 and 2 compared with pretest (P < 0.05). There was no reduction in the number of errors on any posttest for control subjects.

Conclusion

Smartphone apps, such as the one used in this study, may enhance patient supervision, safety, and exercise efficacy across rehabilitation settings. A single training session with the app promoted motor learning and improved exercise performance.

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