BACKGROUND: Little is currently known about the tapering practices of strongman athletes. We have developed an Internet-based comprehensive self-report questionnaire examining the training and tapering practices of strongman athletes.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to document the test-retest reliability of questions associated with the Internet-based comprehensive self-report questionnaire on the tapering practices of strongman athletes. The information will provide insight on the reliability and usefulness of the online questionnaire for use with strongman athletes.
METHODS: Invitations to complete an Internet questionnaire were sent via Facebook Messenger to identified strongman athletes. The survey consisted of four main areas of inquiry, including demographics and background information, training practices, tapering, and tapering practices. Of the 454 athletes that completed the survey over the 8-week period, 130 athletes responded on Facebook Messenger indicating that they intended to complete, or had completed, the survey. These participants were asked if they could complete the online questionnaire a second time for a test-retest reliability analysis. Sixty-four athletes (mean age 33.3 years, standard deviation [SD] 7.7; mean height 178.2 cm, SD 11.0; mean body mass 103.7 kg, SD 24.8) accepted this invitation and completed the survey for the second time after a minimum 7-day period from the date of their first completion. Agreement between athlete responses was measured using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and kappa statistics. Confidence intervals (at 95%) were reported for all measures and significance was set at P<.05.
RESULTS: Test-retest reliability for demographic and training practices items were significant (P<.001) and showed excellent (ICC range=.84 to .98) and fair to almost perfect agreement (κ range=.37-.85). Moderate to excellent agreements (ICC range=.56-.84; P<.01) were observed for all tapering practice measures except for the number of days athletes started their usual taper before a strongman competition (ICC=.30). When the number of days were categorized with additional analyses, moderate reliability was observed (κ=.43; P<.001). Fair to substantial agreement was observed for the majority of tapering practices measures (κrange=.38-.73; P<.001) except for how training frequency (κ=.26) and the percentage and type of resistance training performed, which changed in the taper (κ=.20). Good to excellent agreement (ICC=.62-.93; P<.05) was observed for items relating to strongman events and traditional exercises performed during the taper. Only the time at which the Farmer's Walk was last performed before competition showed poor reliability (ICC=.27).
CONCLUSIONS: We have developed a low cost, self-reported, online retrospective questionnaire, which provided stable and reliable answers for most of the demographic, training, and tapering practice questions. The results of this study support the inferences drawn from the Tapering Practices of Strongman Athletes Study.