Men’s Physique Ismael Martinez’s Exclusive Pump-Inducing Shoulder Workout

ismael martinez shoulder workout
image via Instagram @ismaelmartinezd

Men’s Physique Bodybuilder, Ismael Martinez implements supersets and circuits to get ample blood flow to his lateral deltoids. 

Meet Ismael Martinez, the ultimate embodiment of work-life balance! Of course, our focus today is on his shoulder workout, but what makes him impressive is that Martinez is not just an IFBB pro bodybuilder and fitness model but also a working chemical engineer. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also a social media influencer, sharing his training tips and journey as a bodybuilder with fans worldwide. For this article, Generation Iron joined Martinez in Mexico for an exclusive workout as he showed how he built his impressive shoulders. He utilized supersets to engage his lateral deltoids. 

Ismael Martinez and GI

Martinez got into training his body when he was 16 years old. He entered his first IFBB competition at age 22, where he came in 4th place in the Men’s Physique division. However, it wasn’t until two years later, in 2018, that a 1st place win at the 2018 Vancouver Pro earned him his first Mr. Olympia qualification. 

While his first outing on the Olympia stage could have been more glamorous, he came 16th; Ismael Martinez isn’t giving up on better his placing and continues to train at least five times a week, giving every routine his best. 

This Ismael Martinez shoulder workout covers some great deltoid targeting exercises alongside his spins on them. Read on for details on how this athlete trains, the specific muscles involved in his routines, and why doing these exercises will give you similar or even better results.

Full Name: Ismael Martinez
Weight Height Date of Birth
175 – 185 lbs 5’5″ 03/1/1991
Division Era Nationality
Men’s Physique  2010s Mexican


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Ismael Martinez Shoulder Workout – Supersets

The Ismael Martinez shoulder workout features the use of dumbbells majorly, but he also did a machine routine at the end. It uses a variation of two exercises, the shoulder press, and the lateral raise. He combines supersets and regular sets, which research shows is a great way to increase training volume time-efficiently (1)

Building strong shoulders with routines like these can help you bench press heavier and improve your form for all upper body exercises. It also contributes to the physique of your torso, giving you more prowess on the bodybuilding stage. 

Seated Arnold Shoulder Press
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Standing Partial Dumbbell Overhead Lateral Raise
Dumbbell Overhead Lateral Raise
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Machine Standing Lateral Raise


Seated Arnold Shoulder Press

The Arnold shoulder press is named after bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger and is a comprehensive exercise. Unlike other presses and lateral raises, Arnold’s shoulder presses work on all three deltoid heads in the shoulders — the lateral, posterior, and anterior delts. This exercise also builds your triceps

It’s considered a more advanced version of the shoulder press. What differentiates this press from others is a wrist movement that ends with your palms facing forward at the top of the press. This rotation of the wrist is what gets the medial deltoids involved. 

To get started with this routine, keep the weights manageable while learning and focusing on your form to avoid injury before advancing to seated supersets like Ismael Martinez does here.

Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The seated dumbbell lateral raise is another shoulder routine that uses dumbbells, but this one isolates and targets the medial or lateral delts. If you want to create width in your upper body, this is the exercise to go for. Other muscles it also affects slightly include the anterior delts and the traps.

When doing seated dumbbell lateral raises, it’s crucial to avoid rotating your shoulders internally, which could lead to joint injuries. Keeping the dumbbells tilted back slightly will help you prevent that internal rotation and helps you better target your lateral delts. Ismael Martinez quickly follows his seated Arnold shoulder press superset with this exercise.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The seated dumbbell shoulder press is a great way to induce hypertrophy in your shoulder muscles, specifically the front delts. Changes to grip and elbow positions on this movement can affect which parts of your shoulders you target. For example, a neutral grip (palms facing each other) can place less stress on the should joints. 

Avoiding leaning too far back since it could turn this exercise into a sort of bench press and recruit your chest muscles which is not the goal. Ismael Martinez does a superset of this routine and quickly follows it with a standard set of the seated Arnold shoulder press. 

Ismael Martinez Shoulder Workout – Circuit Training

Circuit training is a time-efficient way to combine strength training and cardio. This study shows that circuit training is excellent for cardiorespiratory fitness, improves body composition, and increases strength (2). In the second part of his shoulder workout, Ismael Martinez does circuits with lateral raise variations.

Standing Partial Dumbbell Overhead Lateral Raise

Lateral raises and their variations activate and build the shoulder muscles. This study shows that using partial reps like Ismael Martinez uses here can facilitate even more muscle hypertrophy (3)

Dumbbell Overhead Lateral Raise

After doing the standing partial reps, Ismael Martinez did dumbbell overhead lateral raises through a full range of motion. This will contract more deltoids, and Martinez feels the burn doing this right after the partial rep variation. 

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Next in the circuit for Martinez was the dumbbell lateral raise. Here the dumbbells are raised slowly to shoulder height before being lowered to the ground. This exercise helps to improve your performance of compound lifts and other movements by building your shoulder muscles. While doing this part of the circuit training, Ismael Martinez used a bit of momentum, and his arms were bent close to 90 degrees, allowing him to use a heavier load.

Machine Standing Lateral Raise

Ismael Martinez did machine standing lateral raises to finish his shoulder workout. This variation is advantageous because the weights put constant tension on your muscles throughout your range of motion. Using a machine also offers better safety for beginners and those who don’t have a spotter. 

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  1.  Paz, G. A., Maia, M. F., Salerno, V. P., Coburn, J., Willardson, J. M., & Miranda, H. (2019). Neuromuscular responses for resistance training sessions adopting traditional, superset, paired set and circuit methods. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 59(12), 1991–2002. 
  2. Ramos-Campo, D. J., Andreu Caravaca, L., Martínez-Rodríguez, A., & Rubio-Arias, J. Á. (2021). Effects of Resistance Circuit-Based Training on Body Composition, Strength and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Biology, 10(5), 377.
  3.  Pedrosa, G. F., Lima, F. V., Schoenfeld, B. J., Lacerda, L. T., Simões, M. G., Pereira, M. R., Diniz, R. C. R., & Chagas, M. H. (2022). Partial range of motion training elicits favorable improvements in muscular adaptations when carried out at long muscle lengths. European journal of sport science, 22(8), 1250–1260. 
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.