In recent years, countless videos have surfaced on youtube and Instagram of weightlifters doing partial movements to improve structural integrity of joints and increase core density. Many questions about the applications and methods of using these exercises ranging from why, how and when these exercises are necessary. Here is a brief explanation of the principal.
The Russian word "tenty" occurs when a muscle's strength is so challenged that tension within the muscle causes it to shake. Exercises that cause "tenty" reach deep into muscle fibers activating more muscle tissue than traditional resistance exercise.These exercises are meant to augment a lifters training, not substitute the dynamic training on the snatch or clean and jerk. These exercises build a specific type of strength in various phases of the lifts.
These exercises aren't exclusively limited to partial movements. Paused squats, pulls with the focus on the eccentric phase are used to produce "tenty." If a lifter has a problem rising from a clean with a weight well below what he/she can front squat, it is not an issue of leg strength. Lack of core strength and/or muscular imbalances are the cause.
To fix a problem of lateral shifting while descending or ascending during a squat, partial squats are used. A lateral shift indicates a structural imbalance in one leg. The focus is on a strong lockout with a very slow descent back to the starting position. Here is my friend Kirksman Teo's explanation of the use of partial squats in China. There are also videos of Dimitry Klokov and some others using full squats with a pause at the bottom.
For partial front squats, the primary aim is to develop core density. This is important, especially for the clean, where leg strength will only take a lifter so far. There are many lifters I’ve seen knock off a big front squat but fail to rise from a clean efficiently. How? While performing a front squat, a lifter begins by descending to the bottom. During this eccentric phase a lifter develops the necessary energy in the muscles to hit the bottom and rise with little issue. In other words the lifter can keep the weight on the quads much easier due to this. It’s another skill to receive a clean correctly, stabilize the weight, maintain an upright trunk and stand efficiently. I have seen many lifters get pinned at the bottom of a clean, and grind out of the bottom with a rounded back due to insufficient core strength.
The other main example of when “tenty” becomes necessary is in various pulling exercises. Snatch or clean pulls with a pause at knee height is a good example. This overloads the muscle groups of the posterior chain that keep the lifter upright and in correct position so the acceleration phase of the lift can be executed correctly. There are also pulling exercises where a lifter will perform the eccentric phase of a pull with a load well above what the lifter can snatch or clean. Two people will assist the lifter in standing then let go so the lifters can slowly lower the bar. This can be seen in the following video here of lifters from the Polish team doing this. Go to 8:19 in video.
There are numerous exercises to correct structural imbalances and develop core strength and density. Be smart and ease into the use of these exercises. Developing a proper foundation for training and continued progress can be tricky. Evaluate strengths and weaknesses and begin to increase intensity “tenty” where muscles and/or joints are weak.