How Many Working Sets on a Cut?

How many working sets do you do on a cut per muscle group, per week? I was doing 12, but may have been doing too much (or too much intensity) b/c my elbow tendinopathy flared up.

I’m cutting on 1500 kcal per week, but my weight loss has stalled. I still need to lose 10 pounds, so I will probably add cardio once I fix my gluteal tendinopathy (I have three tendinopathies limiting my training).

Yeah no wonder. -Raise calories back up to just below maintence/very small deficit and do a T Nation fatloss or recomp program like this…

Gluteal tendinopathy? How old are you? To my knowledge, that mostly occurs in middle-aged females

30, male. Used to be obese and sedentary, so I developed a tendinopathy there.

Gotcha. What’s your current weight?

To be honest, as a male at any weight, 1500kcal is far too few

What other tendinopathies are limiting your training?

Current weight is 160 at a height of 5’9, down from 225.

The other tendinopathies limiting my training are a wrist tendinopathy, which is almost cured, and an elbow tendinopathy, which I had rehabbed. It came back though, so now I am rehabbing it again. It’s really frustrating, honestly. I also have rheumatoid arthritis, which presents its own challenges, particularly with diet.

Do you have a picture you’re willing to post? What is your goal? I only ask because scale numbers are irrelevant to mirror progress.

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goals: lose fat, gain muscle. Hypertrophy focus. Rehab all of my shitty joints, which is the main limiting factor currently.

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I respect you posting pictures, many don’t. How long have you been cutting for?

After having lost so much weight already, and how little you have left to lose, why the sudden interest in working sets?

Almost forgot to mention: props on losing as much as you have already!

A few months in 2020, and seriously since 4/2021, when I went from 200 to where I’m at now.

During most of my weight loss I was doing rehab, so the weights were light. Now I’m getting into intensities that could be considered training, like 10 to 12RMs for my lifts. My elbow tendinopathy flared up, so I think I’m doing too much volume or intensity (was doing 10 to 12 pulling sets per week, split between rows and pulldowns).

Thanks! Honestly, it was pretty easy. Rehab has been a huge pain in the ass, though.

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I would argue that your rehab should count as training as well, but each to their own.

I don’t know if I’m qualified to necessarily tell you what you are doing wrong or right in this scenario, considering that rehab is a pain (as you’ve mentioned). Many people do well training a muscle group for 8-12 sets per week, some also do better with more sets (like myself) and some do better with less.

I hate to give you a “try it and see” response, but I think this is the best approach considering your recovery. If you think too many sets is causing you some flare-ups, try reducing reps and increasing weights.


I’m sorry to hear that man.

Often tendinopathies are less tolerant to volume than intensity. It may be worth considering that a lower volume program may suit your body better.

In my opinion, your training shouldn’t change too much during weight loss periods anyways.


In your case a couple hard sets of 15-20 reps is fine.

As a fatloss tool can pretty much walk your socks off with minimal impact:

Obviously follow your Doc’s advice/rehab protocol, but these might help bring discomfort down especially ‘voodoo bands’ work:

Stretch your triceps hard also, immediately after all sessions with upper body work