How basketball star Elena Delle Donne got that body

From collecting three high school state championships in Delaware to being the 2015 WNBA MVP, Elena Delle Donne has quite the collection of accolades. However, she is no stranger to the hard work it takes to earn those awards, and the work is not always physical.

"Your mind always goes before your body. So if you can push your mind to go a little bit further, your body always will go with you. That's something that I've learned," Delle Donne said about her training.

Amidst Olympic preparations, she sat down with ESPN The Magazine for the 2016 Body Issue to share just what it takes to hoist those trophies.

Thank you, genetics

The 6-foot-5 Delle Donne said her height created some childhood woes, but she agrees it was definitely a plus in sports. She says she gets her frame from her mom and dad.

Good workouts, better results

Delle Donne had to work to be one of today's best women's basketball players. She says she usually trains 4½ hours each day.


"[My first trainer] helped me work on my guard skills. Obviously everyone knew that I was going to be tall from Day 1, so he wanted to make sure that I could shoot and handle the ball."

Strength Training

"I got a new strength coach back in Delaware and we really worked on core stability, which strengthened my game tremendously, and worked on endurance as well where we started doing this sort of circuit training."

Pairing workouts

"I love to do circuit training, so up-tempo paired with some sort of cardio in between. I feel like that gets me well prepared for my on-court endeavors."

Listening to her body

All athletes know when they cannot push themselves any further and Delle Donne says that she's no different. After being diagnosed with Lyme disease during the 2010-11 season at the University of Delaware, she takes daily supplements and pays close attention to what her body is telling her.

This summer, espnW is running stories, essays and letters on body image as part of a series called "Love, My Body." Read more from the series »