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First it was all about thigh gaps, then the equally insane ‘bikini bridge’ (seriously, google it, I can’t believe it’s really a thing 😳). Now eliminating hip dips is the latest body image fad to storm the internet, made famous by the unnaturally smooth and photoshopped centaur hips of the Kardashians and every other ‘insta-baddie’ that follows suit. So, what exactly is a hip dip and how can you get rid of it? Read on…
Violin hips, shelf hips, high hips, hip dents or in its anatomical terminology, ‘tronchanteric depression’, is the indentation on either side of your body between your hip and your thigh - and it’s completely normal! Most women have them and they are nothing to be ashamed of. Having hip dips does not mean you are fat, ugly or deformed. Whether you have them or not comes down to your bone structure.
Ok, anatomy lesson 101:
Your skeleton is a wonderful thing. It allows you to stand up tall, run, jump, squat and all those other fun things that humans like to do with their bodies. The shape of your bone structure is what determines whether you have hip dips or, not.
It all comes down to the size of your hip bone (pelvis) in relation to your thigh bone (femur).
If you have a wider and higher pelvis, then you will likely have more of an angle on your femur. This creates more ‘space’ in between the top of your pelvis (ilium) and your greater trochanter (head of the femur), resulting in a more pronounced hip dip.
If you have a narrower and shorter pelvis, then you will likely have less of an angle on your femur, meaning less of a ‘space’ and therefore, less of a hip dip. This is why girls with an athletic build or a straight up-and-down shape, tend to have very little to no indentation.
It’s also important to note that where you likely hold most of your body fat will determine how pronounced your hip dips are. This is down to your genetics and can’t be changed - just like your bone structure.
Some women might have the bone structure of wider and higher hips but also have a higher amount of body fat around their glutes and thighs with an even distribution. These body types will look like they don’t have hip dips at all, because their body fat actually covers and ‘fills out’ their hip dip.
However, some women a have lower level of body fat, that isn’t as evenly distributed and instead, sits in more isolated areas like the ‘muffin top’ (the fat just above the hips and below the belly or, the ‘saddle bags’ (the fat that sits at the top of the thighs and just under the glutes).
It’s completely normal and healthy to have body fat in these areas, but if you have wider and higher hips it may make your hip dips look more pronounced. It's important to note also, that we are constantly bombarded with photoshopped pictures of women who have had surgery to fill out their hips with fat transfer procedures and implants. Please do not compare yourself to these images!
First of all, let’s make something crystal clear: you cannot get rid of hip dips completely - and that’s totally ok! No amount of exercise can train away your bone structure. However, there are some things you can do to minimise the appearance of indentations and accentuate rounder and fuller hips but, before we get into it…
There’s a ton of confusing mis-information out there from so-called ‘fitness gurus’ who will have you doing some very dubious exercises, that will do nothing for your hip dips and in some cases, will accentuate them even further!
There are two opposing camps when it comes to hip dip targeting. On one side, you’ll hear people saying you should do specific exercises to target the gluteus medius (one of the three butt muscles) and the quadriceps (thigh muscles). On the other side, some people say you need to target one of the main muscles of the hips, the tense fasciae latae or, ‘TFL’ for short. I say, they’re all WRONG. The pelvis and all the intricate muscles of the hip area are complex, so before you go off in your pursuit of hip dip destruction, listen up! Here are some things you need to be aware of when doing hip dip exercises:
I’m a huge advocate of glute training to build a fuller, rounder and stronger butt, so it may come as a shock when I say this, but… targeting the gluteus medius will only make your hip dips look more pronounced! That’s because it is the most upper and outer muscle of your butt and it sits just above your hip dip. If you do exercises that target this muscle to make it develop and grow, it’ll only make the indentation below it look even bigger. Same goes for your thigh muscles. If you concentrate on doing exercises that are only going to isolate and grow your quadriceps, then your hip dip will look deeper because of it. Think of it like an optical illusion.
This teeny weeny muscle of the hip sits right in the space of the hip dip and that’s why people say that if you target this muscle with exercises that will make it grow, you’ll be able ‘fill out’ the hip dip and make your hips look smoother and rounder. Sounds logical, right?
But there’s one little problem with this. The TFL is not a muscle that you can target and ‘grow’, because it’s primary function is just to stabilise the hips so that you can do things like walk, squat and jump. I mean, you never hear bodybuilders talk about a well-developed TFL, do you? Nope.
However, you do hear physiotherapists talk about it to clients in rehab due to injuries or dysfunction. Trust me, if you just smash your TFL with all sorts of crazy isolation exercises during every gym session you will 1) be severely disappointed when you get ZERO results and 2) probably just irritate the muscle so much that you end up with hip pain or some sort of dysfunction from overuse.
So, what’s the right way to train to minimise your hip dips? Go for overall glute development. Targeting the glutes from all angles and developing the whole hip area is going to give you a much better chance of growing rounder and fuller hips to minimise the appearance of hip dips. The king of all glute exercises that you absolutely must make a staple in your routine is the hip thrust. It has been proven time and time again to be the most superior exercise for glute strength and growth.
The hip thrust primarily hits the gluteus maximus which is the largest of the three butt muscles. But in order to really minimise those hip dips, you need to target the outer part of the gluteus maximus. This is how you truly create the look of rounder and fuller hips. Lucky for you, this hip dip workout is crammed full of exercises that do just that! Click here to watch it now.
Lifting weights will tone you up, make you strong and give you an awesome hourglass shape, but the truth is that it can only do so much, because there’s another, even more important part to the equation. Doing all the right exercises will only get you so far, if your diet is appalling! If you want to give yourself the best chance at minimising the appearance of your hip dips, you’ve got to lose any excess body fat in those trouble areas (i.e ‘muffin top’ and ‘saddlebags’) and the only way to truly do that is by optimising your hormones, cleaning up your diet and lowering your stress levels.
Check out the Ultimate Guide To Losing Belly Fat for the best way to minimise your hip dips. But remember: you cannot spot reduce body fat. So wherever you’re genetically predisposed to hold most of it, will also, always, be the last place you see it go!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look your best and you should never feel bad about wanting to change something that you don’t like about yourself, but please remember that having hip dips is completely normal. I have hip dips. So do millions of other women. It does not mean that you are fat, or ugly or deformed. It is merely the shape of your bones, i.e. your genetic make-up. Please remember that the images you see online of women with perfectly smooth and round hips is not real!
Never compare yourself to someone's cleverly-angled, photoshopped and surgically enhanced body on social media. Instead of hating on your hip dips and wishing you didn’t have them, why not embrace them? They are what make you, YOU. Nit-picking at body parts will never make you happy, so try to look at them from a different perspective. Did you know that wider hips is seen as a very attractive quality by many people? Celebrate that! I know that many narrow-hipped athletic build ladies out there would be very envious of your curvier shape. It’s a case of ‘the grass is greener’.
Embrace what you’ve got and see your hip dips as something to start loving, instead of a body part to be ashamed of. Focusing on what you do like about yourself, rather than the things you don’t, will make you happier along your journey and it will help you get to your goals faster!
Remember… You are beautiful just the way you are! If you found this article helpful, let me know in the comments below. And if you're ready to learn how to get the best booty gains of your life and minimise your hip dips effectively, join the Strong Curves 12 Week Program here.
Founder of Strong Curves
With a no BS approach, I teach women how to sculpt strong curves and build confidence through my digital books, e-courses and app.
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Teaching women all over the world how to sculpt strong curves and gain confidence with my digital books, courses and app.