Scroll through Instagram for 0.5 seconds and you’re sure to see women showing off their perfectly curvy hourglass figures in bikinis with round and full hips. What you won’t see: many women with slight indentations in the hip area, commonly referred to as hip dips.
It can be confusing to see if your hips don’t match that of what you see on social media — and it’s natural to want to get rid of hip dips so you can look like everyone else. Are these women somehow better than you because they don’t have hip dips? Nope — here’s why.
What Are Hip Dips?
Hip dips — also called violin hips — might seem like a relatively new phenomenon, but they’re actually just a naturally occurring part of your anatomy and bone structure that has (inexplicably) gained a negative connotation recently, thanks to social media.
Hip dips are a body part that’s completely based on the shape of your pelvis says Anthony Kouri, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Toledo Medical Center. “Everyone’s natural anatomy varies in this region, but those with a high and wide pelvis tend to have hip dips.”
The reason: The inward curves “are formed in the recess between the iliac crest and the greater trochanter of the femur,” he adds. “Overlying these bones in the hip dip recess is the gluteus minimus and gluteus medius, along with fatty tissue.”
In simple terms: It’s the natural indentation that happens where our thigh bones meet our hip bones — it’s just more prominent on some people than others.
Are Hip Dips Good or Bad?
Hip dips aren’t good or bad, they’re just a natural part of your lower body.
A common misconception about hip dips is that they indicate something about your health. Spoiler alert: They don’t.
“Many people wrongly believe hip dips are due to excess body fat,” says Dr. Kouri. “In fact, hip dips may be due to a lack of fat or soft tissue between the iliac crest and greater trochanter.”
It has to do with where your body tends to hold fat. Some people naturally have wider hips and carry more fat around their hips, thighs, and love handles, which can create an illusion of rounder hips.
The people who don’t tend to collect fat around the hips have a better chance of seeing their hip dips.
So, why do so many celebrities and women on social media look like they don’t have hip dips? Photoshop, of course.
You likely won’t see hip dips in any pro photos — like those with celebrities — because they’re airbrushed out. But take a look at other women at the pool or beach (or in leggings) and you’ll definitely see plenty of beautiful bodies with hip dips.
Can Glute Exercises Help Get Rid of Hip Dips?
Want to get rid of hip dips? The most common advice is to work on strengthening your glutes — specifically your gluteus medius and gluteus minimus because they’re located closest to the hip area. But here’s the thing: While glute exercises are good at giving you a stronger — and rounder — butt that can possibly help create an overall curvier look, it won’t do jack to get rid of hip dips permanently.
“Building muscle mass and reducing fat can help minimize their appearance but it won’t make them go away,” says Aaron Schiavone, a U.K.-based personal trainer who coaches clients online via his website, Mind Muscle.
“Glute exercises are, of course, great for training the glutes but not the hips,” he adds. “There is very little muscle located directly where your hip dents are (the Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus muscles are in the vicinity of my hip dents). It would be extremely difficult and unlikely to bulk up this muscle to the point where it would eliminate the dents.”
The Bottom Line on Hip Dips
Anyone who claims that you can get rid of hip dips by doing a ton of cardio or glute exercises like hip thrusts, lunges, or clamshells is either lying or doesn’t understand human anatomy (harsh, but true).
Despite a million and one articles that claim to have the answer on how to get rid of hip dips, the reality is that there isn’t a core workout or a glute exercise you can do to completely eliminate them.
“The muscles underlying the hip dip are not robust and any attempt to bulk them up will likely be ineffective at filling that space,” Dr. Kouri says.
“The best option is to choose clothing that fits your body the way you like,” he adds. “In addition, there are types of padded underwear that fill the space causing hip dips.”
Some plastic surgeons now offer surgical options — either via fat grafting or fillers — to get rid of hip dips. If that’s something you want to do, go for it. But know this: Hips dips — or any other so-called “flaw” with your body — don’t need to be fixed.
“Hip dips are completely normal and we should embrace them as just one more feminine body type,” says Dr. Kouri.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.