The aim was to examine the validity of heart rate variability (HRV) measurements from photoplethysmography (PPG) via a smartphone application pre- and post-resistance exercise (RE) and to examine the intraday and interday reliability of the smartphone PPG method. Thirty-one adults underwent two simultaneous ultrashort-term electrocardiograph (ECG) and PPG measurements followed by 1-repetition maximum testing for back squats, bench presses, and bent-over rows. The participants then performed RE, where simultaneous ultrashort-term ECG and PPG measurements were taken: two pre- and one post-exercise. The natural logarithm of the root mean square of successive normal-to-normal (R-R) differences (LnRMSSD) values were compared with paired-sample t
-tests, Pearson product correlations, Cohen’s d
effect sizes (ESs), and Bland–Altman analysis. Intra-class correlations (ICC) were determined between PPG LnRMSSDs. Significant, small–moderate differences were found for all measurements between ECG and PPG: BasePre1
(ES = 0.42), BasePre2
(0.36), and REPost
(1.14). The correlations ranged from moderate to very large: BasePre1
= 0.59), BasePre2
= 0.63), REPre1
= 0.63), REPre2
= 0.76), and REPost
= 0.41)—all p
< 0.05. The agreement for all the measurements was “moderate” (0.10–0.16). The PPG LnRMSSD exhibited “nearly-perfect” intraday reliability (ICC = 0.91) and “very large” interday reliability (0.88). The smartphone PPG was comparable to the ECG for measuring HRV at rest, but with larger error after resistance exercise.
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