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Ears Or Not Ears?

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Ears Or Not Ears?

This story happened in Korea (Busan) at my first Junior World Championship. Any professional athlete will understand the story I’m about to tell you, and beginners will discover the secret that when you are in the national team, you dream of international competitions like some kids dream of becoming an astronaut.

On that day my weight category was 105 kg, everything was fine, I was full of energy… BUT unexpectedly at the warm-up before the SNATCH, I was so excited that I found myself losing control. I caught myself thinking not thinking about the performance and not about the technique, but about how to pretend that everything was fine, so no one would notice that I was shaking from my heightened emotions.

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Apparently it could not be hidden at all, because before I went to the platform, one of the national team coaches, Alexander Rykov (at one time the coach of the USSR national team, as well as the trainer of the Olympic champion Natalia Skakun, Athens, 2004) came over to me and said he was going to rub my ears to charge me up and help in my performance. Then he intensively rubbed my ears with his hands, and I went to the platform.

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I really “woke up and came back to life.” It was easier for me to get up, and I successfully lifted 5 attempts out of 6. I managed 6th place in the World Junior Championship. A pretty good result! I was pleased with myself, but I didn’t understand. Did it happen by itself, or did my ears help me? But since that time, I have used this technique habitually when I come up to a maximum weight. And today, thinking about it, I decided to find out whether it is a “placebo” or whether there really was something special in this technique.

Cinturón para entrenamiento

Finding a full answer was not as simple as it might seem. More precisely, many coaches, doctors and masseurs readily confirmed that they constantly use this traditional method in competitions, as well as during control training sessions. I started watching athletes from different countries at the World and European championships and found that the athlete’s exit is always shown close-up on TV, so you can see how he is tuned to the attempt and how the coach, doctor or masseur helps him. And indeed, many people try to activate the athlete with the help of the ears, but they do it in different ways: gently touch, press, manipulate and even beat. Also, I have noticed for myself that for Asian teams the place to rub is not ears, but the area of the head just a little above the ears. That was also interesting to me.

The answer was given by friends’ manual therapists, rehabilitologists and acupuncture specialists. Indeed, many eastern sources show that ears are rich in biologically active points, which are responsible for the activation of various organs. There are even whole “ear cards” on which sensitive zones of the lungs, heart and brain are affected by zones on the ears. And by working in a certain way on these zones, one can work on these organs and their groups.

On the other hand, according to physicians, the most effective method of activation for weightlifters will be an intense grinding of the head in the so-called “motor and sensitive zones” area.

The “motor zone” (1) is a line that starts 0.5 cm behind the center point and ends at the intersection of the horizontal alignment line with the center of the temporal bone. The upper 1/5 part is responsible for the lower limbs and trunk from the opposite side, the middle part is responsible for the upper limbs, also from the opposite side.

The “sensitive zone” (2) is located behind the “motor zone”  by about 1.5 cm and is responsible for similar parts of the body.

sensitive zone

In the treatment of complex diseases, i.e., the symptoms of stroke, paralysis of the cranial nerves, asthenia, these zones are used for acupuncture.

Regarding sports, especially speed-power sports: it is necessary to rub these areas of the head intensively for 2-3 seconds before the attempt. It is the way, as I wrote above, I have often observed among athletes of Asian countries.

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To believe in it or not is up to you. I just became interested, and I decided to write about it and share with you.

One thing I can recommend for certain: all new methods to influence the nervous system are better, for starters, to experience in the training mode, because even proven methods can have the opposite effect on you and the price might be an unsuccessful performance.

Let’s remember that the preparation should be structured in such a way that in conditions of tough competition and intense tactical and psychological struggles, we manage to perform at least 4 successful attempts, establish personal records, and climb the pedestal for deserved medals.


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Sergii Putsov

Author: Sergii Putsov
Head of Sport Science, PhD

Experience: 20 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 165 kg,
C&J – 200 kg

Sergii Putsov, Ph.D., is a former professional weightlifter and National team member, achieving multiple medals in the 94 kg weight category at national competitions. With a Master’s degree in “Olympic & Professional Sport Training” and a Sport Science Ph.D. from the International Olympic Academy, Greece, Sergii now leads as the Head of Sport Science. He specializes in designing training programs, writing insightful blog articles, providing live commentary at international weightlifting events, and conducting educational seminars worldwide alongside Olympic weightlifting expert Oleksiy Torokhtiy.

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