Hip dips — also sometimes called hip divots or violin hips — are inward curves on the sides of your body just below each hip bone.
Until recently, you may have never heard of hip dips or even thought they were a problem. Yet, as beauty standards continue to reach new, unattainable levels, hip dips have joined the list of so-called “flaws” that need fixing.
Despite the new fascination with getting rid of hip dips, they’re completely normal and not something you should or can get rid of. In fact, hip dips are mostly determined by your genetics and build — two things you can’t change.
This article reviews all you need to know about hip dips, including what causes them and a list of exercises for strong, healthy hips.
Hip dips are naturally occurring indents or depressions on the outside part of your upper legs just below your hip bone.
For some people, the skin in this area is more tightly connected to the greater trochanter of the femur, causing the appearance of indentations.
Hip dips are a normal part of human body structure and vary in appearance. For some, hip dips are highly noticeable and appear as large indentations. For others, they may be less noticeable.
Whether you notice them depends on the bone structure of your pelvis and femur. Their appearance can be also enhanced based on muscle mass and how your body distributes fat.
Hip dips are normal indentations on the sides of your upper thighs just below your hip bones.
Hip dips are mostly the result of your skeletal anatomy, which is determined by genetics (
In particular, how visible your hip dips are will depend on (
- the width of your hips
- the size of your greater trochanter (the top of your femur)
- the distances between your ilium (part of your pelvis), hip socket, and greater trochanter
- the length of your femoral neck
- your fat distribution
- your muscle mass
These factors greatly determine the shape of your hips and buttocks, as well as the appearance of hip dips (
Hip dips are more noticeable in those with wider hip bones and a greater vertical distance between the ilium and hip socket. Also, the size, positioning, and angle of the greater trochanter and head of the femur can influence the visibility of hip dips (
Collectively, this can create a wider space between the bones, ultimately leading to a more pronounced hip dip.
Contrary to popular belief, hip dips are commonly linked to lower body fat stores in these areas, as there’s less fat to “fill” in the gap. Fat storage on the body is highly genetic and hormone-based, meaning your ability to store fat in this area is out of your control (
While building muscle mass in your glutes and gaining some body fat may slightly reduce the appearance of hip dips, it’s unlikely that these measures will completely get rid of them.
Visible hip dips are mostly caused by the shape of your skeleton, such as the width of your hip bones, as well as where muscle and fat are distributed near your hips and buttocks.
Hip dips are completely normal and nothing to be concerned about.
As mentioned, they’re a result of your body’s unique structure and not an indication of your health status. Likewise, their presence doesn’t necessarily reflect your body fat percentage.
Fortunately, there has been a growing trend toward body acceptance, with many social media influencers and celebrities embracing their hip dips for what they are — a normal, beautiful part of the human body.
Hip dips are a normal part of human anatomy and not an indication of your health status.
Though certain exercises may help reduce the appearance of hip dips, they won’t completely get rid of them.
What’s more, you cannot decide where your body stores fat (
Despite many online videos and websites touting the “secret” to getting rid of hip dips, no exercises, diets, or lifestyle habits will change the shape of your skeleton.
Knowing this will help you come to terms with the normalcy of hip dips and instead focus on things you can do to make your hips stronger and more stable.
Since hip dips are mostly based on genetics and bone structure, you cannot get rid of hip dips via dietary, exercise, or lifestyle modifications.
Instead of focusing on the appearance of your hips, try to focus on what really matters — your hip strength and stability.
The hips are a general term for the bones of the pelvis (ilium, ischium, and pubis) and the surrounding musculature. They’re important due to their role in stabilizing the body and one of the largest weight-bearing structures in your body.
Having good hip strength and stability will help you perform daily activities more easily and reduce your risk of injury. In fact, weak hips are linked to greater knee pain, while performing hip-strengthening exercises is associated with reduced pain and injury (
While you can’t change your hip structure, you can perform exercises to strengthen the muscles around them that are responsible for proper hip movement.
The major muscles of the hips include (
- hip extensors (gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and adductor magnus)
- hip flexors (iliacus, psoas major, and rectus femoris)
- hip adductors (adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, gracilis, and pectineus)
- hip abductors (gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fasciae latae)
- lateral rotators (quadratus femoris, piriformis, obturator internus, and externus, superior, and inferior gemellus)
By including exercises that target these muscle groups, you can support the stability and mobility of your hips. Moreover, building muscle mass in the gluteus medius and surrounding muscles may reduce the overall appearance of hip dips.
Try to focus on hip strength and stability, which are more important for the activities of daily living, injury prevention, and pain reduction.
Strengthening your hips may help you perform daily tasks better, reduce knee and hip pain, and in some cases, lessen the appearance of hip dips. Before starting any new exercise regimen, always consult your healthcare professional.
1. Side hip openers (fire hydrants)
These movements target your outer thighs, hips, and side buttocks. Be sure to keep your weight evenly distributed between your hands and knees. To increase the difficulty, you can place a dumbbell behind your knee.
- Start all fours as you would for Cat-Cow pose. Make sure to keep your hands directly underneath your shoulders, and your knees directly underneath your hips.
- Exhale as you lift one leg up, creating a 90-degree angle with your other leg. Keep your knee bent.
- Inhale as you slowly lower your leg back down. Keep your knee from touching the floor before you lift it again.
- Do this movement 15 times. On the last repetition, pulse your leg 10 times in the upper position before lowering it.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
2. Standing kickback lunges
This exercise is great for providing balance and stability in the body. It works your thighs and buttocks. Make sure you keep your core and front leg and foot engaged throughout the pose.
- Start in a standing position with your hands in front of your chest in Prayer pose.
- Inhale and lift your right knee up to your chest.
- Exhale and step your right leg back.
- Lower your right knee down into a lunge with control. Stay on the ball of your back foot and keep your toes facing forward.
- Inhale to lift your right knee back up to your chest.
- Do 12 lunges. On the last repetition, keep your leg back and pulse up and down 12 times.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Standing side leg lifts
Standing leg lifts help strengthen the muscles along the sides of your hips and butt. You may also feel a stretch in your inner thigh.
Ensure the movement is steady and controlled. Don’t jerk or rush the movement, and try to keep your body straight. Do not lean to either side.
For added difficultly, you can do this exercise using ankle weights.
- Stand facing forward with your left side near a table, chair, or wall.
- Using your left hand for balance and support, root into your left foot and lift your right foot slightly off of the floor.
- Exhale and slowly lift your right leg to the side while keeping your right toes facing forward.
- Slowly lower your leg on an inhale.
- Do 12 leg lifts on both sides.
Squats are a great way to tone your thighs, hips, and butt. Make sure to keep your back straight and toes facing forward. Engage your abdominal muscles for extra support. You can hold a dumbbell while doing these squats.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
- Exhale as you slowly lower down as though you’re sitting into a chair.
- Inhale and stand back up.
- Repeat this 12 times.
- On the last repetition, hold the lower pose and pulse up and down 12 times.
5. Standing side-to-side squats
These squats work the sides of your legs, buttocks, and hips. Keep your butt low during these squats. You can also do these squats using ankle weights.
- Start in a standing position with your feet close together.
- Lower into a squat position.
- Move your right foot to the right.
- Then bring your left foot to meet your right foot as you straighten your knees and stand upright.
- Next, step your left foot to the left, while bending into a squat position.
- Bring your right foot over to meet your left foot and stand up straight.
- Do 10 of these squats on each side.
6. Side lunges
Side lunges work your entire leg and help define your hips and buttocks. Make sure you keep the toes of both feet facing forward. You can also hold a dumbbell while doing these lunges.
- Stand with your feet wide apart.
- Root into your right foot as you bend your right knee and lower your butt down. Your right leg will be bent, and your left leg will be straight.
- Continue pressing into both feet.
- Stand up with both legs straight.
- Do 12 lunges on each side.
7. Side curtsy lunges
This pose works your thighs and the side of your buttocks. Try to stay low to the ground the whole time. Keep the toes of your front foot facing forward. Make sure you’re really stepping out to the side. You can also do these lunges while holding a dumbbell.
- Start by standing with your feet together.
- Lift your right leg and bring it behind your left leg.
- Lower your right knee down toward the floor into a curtsy lunge.
- Stand back up and bring your right foot in line with your left foot, back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Do 15 lunges on each side.
8. Glute bridges
This exercise works your buttocks and thighs. Engage your abdominals. This will help you support your body and work your stomach muscles.
- Lie down on your back with your arms alongside your body and your knees bent.
- Have your feet slightly wider than your hips.
- Exhale and slowly lift your hips and butt.
- Inhale as you lower back down.
- Repeat 15 times. On the last repetition, hold the upper pose for at least 10 seconds, and then open and close your knees 10 times before lowering your hips back down.
9. Leg kickbacks
This exercise helps lift your butt. Keep your core engaged to protect your lower back, and do the movements slowly. You can use ankle weights for these exercises.
- Start on all fours as you would in Cat-Cow pose.
- Keep your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
- Extend your right leg out straight. Then, slowly lift your leg until it’s parallel to the floor.
- Lower your leg back down to the floor.
- Do 15 repetitions. On the last repetition, keep your leg lifted so it’s parallel to the floor. Pulse your leg up and down 15 times.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
10. Lying-down side leg raises
These leg raises target your outer thighs and butt. Make sure you use the muscles in your hips and butt to perform the movements. You can use ankle weights for these exercises.
- Lie down on your right side, making sure your body is in a straight line.
- Bend your right elbow and use your hand to support your head, or keep your arm down on the floor.
- Keep your left hand on the floor in front of you for support.
- Slowly lift your left leg up into the air, keeping your toes facing forward.
- Lower your leg down without letting it touch your right leg.
- Do 20 repetitions. On the last repetition, keep your leg at the top and do 20 pulses.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Many great at-home exercises can help strengthen your hips. Choosing exercises that work various muscles involved in hip movement will help maintain your hip health.
Hip dips are a normal part of the human body and nothing you need to get rid of. They’re mostly based on your genetics and bone structure.
No amount of exercise or lifestyle changes will completely get rid of them. Instead, you’re better off focusing on strength and stability exercises. These will help keep your hips healthy to prevent injury and help you move around easier.
Though it may be difficult to come to terms with the normalcy of hip dips, doing so will provide you the freedom to focus on things that can benefit your body and mind.
All in all, the best thing you can do for your hips is to focus on their function and health. Being active and social with activities like dancing, hiking, skiing, or walking will give you more satisfaction than chasing an unrealistic beauty standard ever could.