In this article, I will not tell you how to get rid of your hip dips. However, if you are here because you want to get rid of your hip dips, this is essential reading. Because hip dips, as a bodily flaw, are 100% bullshit.
(If you’ve never heard of “hip dips,” you are lucky and blessed and should really scroll on by. Please go on living your life, you are doing everything right.)
What are hip dips?
The human hip is surrounded by muscle and padded with fat. The normal shape of these tissues often forms an indentation when viewed directly from the front or back. (Another term for hip dips is “violin hips,” if that helps give you a visual.) So if you stand tall and face a mirror, you may notice what looks like a concave shape to your hips, where you might have hoped to see a Jessica Rabbit-like convexity.
(Jessica Rabbit is a cartoon, of course, and is not bound by the limits of human anatomy. This is your first hint that hip dips are not a flaw.)
Fat, if you have enough of it, can take on a shape of its own: maybe making your hips roundish, maybe squarish. The less fat you have, the more you’ll be seeing the shape of the bones and muscles underneath.
For a visual, this tweet has a perfect example. And as a bonus, it exposes the lie: The photo of a woman “without” hip dips is the same woman who has hip dips in another photo. She’s just posing differently.
There is no way to “fill in” hip dips with exercise
Most articles on hip dips will confirm that they are normal and common, and then they’ll say something like “You can’t get rid of your hip dips, but here are some exercises to minimize them.” This is 100% bullshit.
You see, while exercise can make a muscle bigger, it cannot create muscle where muscle does not exist. The whole reason hip dips exist is that there is no muscle in that spot. Let’s look at an anatomy diagram:
On the left, you can see where the top of your thighbone has a pointy bit called the trochanter that juts out into the side of your hip. (The iliac crest, which you may also think of as a hip bone, is a good six to eight inches above this.) The alleged “hip dip” occurs in approximately the area of the trochanter. Stand up, clench your butt cheeks, and poke around a bit. You’ll see what I mean.
Now, look at the muscles illustrated on the right. You have your gluteus maximus behind your trochanter, the gluteus medius above it, the tensor fascia lata above and in front of it, and your quads below it.
Which of these muscles can you work to minimize your hip dips? That’s right, none of them.
What actually happens when you do glute exercises
If anybody in this world knows how to change the shape of the butt through exercise, it’s bodybuilders. And it should tell you something that bodybuilders aren’t the ones obsessing over minimizing their hip dips. Here’s a little unscientific survey of how many mentions of “hip dips” Google can find on a few subreddits:
- femalefashionadvice: 91 results.
- xxfitness: 494 results.
- femalebodybuilding: 3 results, and they’re all from one post by a person who does not seem to be a bodybuilder.
If you’ve ever seen photos of bodybuilders’ butts, you’ll understand why. These folks make a competition out of building muscle and reducing fat. They can see where their butt muscles are. Check out the third photo of Dayana Cadeau in this Instagram post. She has built up all her hip and butt muscles, and she still has a dramatic indentation on the side of her hip in certain poses, because what could possibly be there?
What about people who don’t have hip dips?
Alright, so now that I’ve got you questioning all your previous assumptions about how hips are built, you’re probably thinking of some person you’ve seen, maybe a particular photo, where you could swear that person doesn’t have hip dips. I’d bet money you’re looking at one of the following:
This is the simplest way to “get rid of” your hip dips in a photo. Just push your hip out and to the side, relaxing your muscles a bit and bending your hip joint slightly to bring your torso a smidge closer to your thigh.
You can do this most dramatically if you point one hip toward the camera. The other hip won’t pop out the same way, but that’s okay, because it’s angled away, out of sight. Danae Mercer demonstrates here:
Never underestimate what you can do to a photo after you’ve taken it. Editing a photo is a tried-and-true way of getting a human body to look a way that human bodies don’t actually look.
I hate to say it, but there is a way to literally fill in your hip dips, and that is with surgery. To quote a plastic surgery website:
In order to fix violin hips, you’ll need to have what’s called fat transfer surgery. This surgery actually involves two procedures: liposuction and fat grafting or fat injection. Liposuction harvests the fat from another area of your body—usually the abdomen or flanks (“love handles”)—and the fat grafting procedure puts the fat where it will look more attractive.
When fat is being grafted onto the hip and buttocks area, most surgeons refer to the procedure as a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) or a Mini Brazilian Butt Lift (Mini-BBL).
I don’t like pointing to people and saying “that person has had butt surgery” any more than I like pointing to people and saying “that person is on steroids,” because judging other people’s bodies is gross and unnecessary, and because if you don’t know the person’s medical history (which is none of your business), you’re likely to get a bunch of your guesses wrong anyway.
So, are there round-hipped people out there who haven’t had surgery? I won’t rule it out! Humans come in all shapes and sizes! But it’s completely unrealistic to think that there’s something wrong with you just because you’ve seen, or thought you saw, a person with different anatomy than yours.