If you, like us, have ever stared at a traditional body shape chart in confusion (Am I a pear? A banana? Why am I comparing my body shape to fruit again?), you know the frustration and insecurity that can come with trying to define your body type. This is why we're so on board with the latest body diversity celebrations blowing up on social; they remind us that every body is different, and some (perhaps most) can't be categorized…and that's a good thing.
The latest feature people are embracing and showing off? Something, that, unlike the name implies, is not a trendy new tortilla dip: hip dips.
What Are Hip Dips?
Also called "violin hips," hip dip refers to the slight indentation some people have at the area where their hips meet their thighs.
A quick scroll through the #hipdip hashtag shows thousands of images of people who are showing off their dips loud and proud. A lot of them talk about how they previously felt insecure about these dips in their hip area—they're not often talked about in a media landscape that seems to either celebrate only the super-curvy or waif-thin. Thanks to social media, however, we're finally celebrating the obvious: All bodies in their weird and wonderful glory are worth celebrating, and we're all in this together. Can we get an amen?!
Many of us at Byrdie HQ were curious about how exactly a hip dip occurs, and why some women have it when others don't. So ahead, we've tapped two personal trainers to share exactly what hip dips are and why some people have them.
Why Do Some People Have Hip Dips and Some Don't?
Why do some have it and some don't? "Although many individuals believe that hip dips are a sign of whether you are healthy or not, this is not the case," says NYC-based trainer and Glute Recruit founder Jessica Mazzucco. "Hip dips are entirely caused by genetics and the shape of your pelvis. When someone has hip dips, this means that their hip bone is located higher than their femur, which causes their muscles and fat to curve inwards."
Our bodies are what they are. We don't get to choose what template we get, but we can choose how we maximize the template we have through diet, exercise, overall wellness, and, more importantly, we can choose how we embrace and love the bodies we have. The fact of the matter is that if we have confidence, most people will never even notice the areas of our bodies we are insecure about. They will only notice the beauty that comes with confidence.
Hip Dips vs. Love Handles
"Love handles" is the term used to describe the pockets of fat that develop near or around the hips. Dieting and exercise (like core work and cardio that helps burn fat) can be used in conjunction to change the appearance of love handles, reducing them with time. Hip dips, meanwhile, are genetic—meaning there aren't any exercises or diets that can be done to reduce their appearance.
Are Hip Dips Normal?
Hip dips are completely normal and common. No matter how small, lean, big, muscular, or fluffy my body gets, I will always have hip dips due to the structure of my frame (dominant hip flexors and outer quads). Many women who have these hip dips also tend to have "saddlebags," which are fat pockets just below the hip dip, toward the backside of our legs.
Can You Treat Hip Dips?
"Hip dips are caused by genetics, so there is no way to 'spot treat' them when trying to lose weight in that region of your body," says Mazzucco. "Certain exercises, such as glute bridges and lunges, will reduce their appearance, but it is impossible to remove them completely. That being said, there is no point in putting effort into changing a feature of your body that is caused by genetics because genetics are unchangeable."
So sure, we can minimize the appearance of a hip dip by avoiding exercises that work our quads and hip flexors, and we can focus solely on exercises that work our backside (which will consequently reduce the appearance of the saddlebag as well, by stretching the skin in that area). But once you realize what a hip dip is, you may not actually want to get rid of it. It's a beautiful thing to have that adds extra shape to your muscles. I feel like it shows power and strength. If you are insecure about the layer of fat that is covering the hip dip, then we can only reduce that layer by consuming fewer calories than we expend each day. In other words, dial in your nutrition if you want to burn fat. We cannot spot reduce. Keep in mind though: No matter how thin that layer gets, the hips dips will still be there, because this is just the beautiful structure that our body has.
What body type has hip dips?
Any body type can have hip dips. Hip dips are dictated primarily by your bone structure, and not how your fat is distributed.
Can hip dips be filled?
There are fillers, implants, and fat grafting procedures that can "fill in" hip dips, such as Sculptra injections and the Hip Flip procedure. And as stated above, the appearance can be minimized by some workouts. Hip dips are completely normal, however, so while any procedure is totally your call, letting your hip dips be is a totally viable option, too.
Can tight clothes cause hip dips?
While tight clothes might make hip dips appear more prominent, hip dips are caused by genetics and your bone structure. If you want to make your hip dips less noticeable through clothing, try thicker, stiffer fabrics, like jeans.
Yale Scientific. Targeted fat loss: myth or reality? Updated April 3, 2011.