Have you ever heard of the term “hip dips”? They refer to the slight indentations that can appear between your hip bones and thighs. While they’re entirely natural and nothing to be ashamed of, the world of social media has become fascinated with “how to get rid of hip dips” as if such a thing were possible.
How your hips look is part of your anatomy, so attempting to change your look with meaningless exercises you find under the hashtag #hipdips will not change them. However, there is something to be said about strengthening your legs and, more specifically, your glutes and quads to minimize the appearance of hip dips and maximize muscle in those areas.
Maybe a more natural way to fall in love with your body is to work on it and strengthen it. That seems far more beneficial than being fixated on trying to get rid of hip dips.
In this blog post, we’ll explore three effective exercises—hip thrusts, lateral lunges (as opposed to regular walking lunges) or cossack squats, and squats—that can help you tone and sculpt those areas that may minimize the appearance of hip dips.
1. Hip Thrusts for Hip Dips
Hip thrusts are one of the best exercises for isolating your glutes. However, many don’t actually feel their glutes!
If you can’t feel your glutes, you’re probably not isolating them or effectively working on them. Here are some tips that may surprise you to perform a hip thrust:
- Start without any weights, with your back on the floor and your feet flat under your knees with your knees bent.
- Pull your rib cage down or close the gap between your back and the floor, like you’re trying to stop air from going through.
- Then lift your hips up and see if you can find your glutes. Do you feel the back side of your legs? Your hamstrings should be firing up as well.
- Try to keep your core stabilized the same way as you come back down to the floor in your reps. Consider strengthening your core to help improve your stability when performing this movement.
Now you can transfer this exercise onto a bench with a weight or added resistance. You’ll do this once you no longer get sore from the floor hip thrusts.
- Sit on a bench and slide down until your upper back aligns with the bench, your knees bent and your ankles right underneath them with your feet flat on the ground.
- Again make sure your rib cage is down and you’re looking straight ahead at this position.
- Place a sandbag or a barbell plate on your hips for added resistance.
- Push through your heels, lift your hips, and squeeze your glutes at the top.
- Make sure your eyes are facing the ceiling when your hips are fully extended and they are looking straight ahead when your hips are down.
- Lower your hips back down to the ground.
Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 hip thrusts with added resistance to challenge your glutes. You should feel sore in your hamstrings, glutes, and sometimes core or calves.
If you don’t, video yourself to see if you are hyperextending your back or pay attention to your quads, are you sore there instead? Go back to the basics without weights until you find the right muscle groups for the best results.
2. Lateral Lunge or Cossack Squats for Hip Dips
Lateral lunges are fantastic for targeting your abductors, glutes, hamstrings, and quads while also engaging your inner thighs. To perform a lateral lunge:
- Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart.
- Shift your weight to one side, leading with your hips first, then bend your right knee and lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Try to keep your chest as upright as possible and don’t worry about how deep your squat is at first. Once you get the hang of it and a little more mobility and strength in your legs, you’ll be able to get deeper. There’s plenty of time for that!
- Push through your right heel to return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the left side.
Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each side to feel the burn in your glutes and quads. A cossack squat refers to bringing your hips down to the floor and it takes quite a bit of hip and ankle mobility. Remember to start with the basics and add to them. Using a TRX band or generic resistance band may help you get a little lower to get the feel for it and start to get deeper into your squat.
3. Squats for Hip Dips
Squats are a classic exercise that effectively works your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. Here’s how to do a proper squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the floor with your toes to begin.
- Keep your chest up and your spine neutral.
- Lower your body by sending your hips back first, then bending your knees and dropping your hips below your knees. If you can’t quite keep your chest up while performing this, don’t let your hips drop past parallel.
- Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
(Still need a hand with hitting depth on your squat? Here’s a great “air squat” tutorial to get you started.)
Start with 3 sets of 10 to 12 squats and gradually increase the intensity or add a kettlebell or dumbbell for some resistance as your strength improves. Your body will adapt to whatever stimulus you give it over time so to continue seeing changes, make sure you’re constantly throwing new challenges for it to adapt to! For added difficulty, you could try performing this exercise with the Redge Fit, one of our favorite at-home fitness tools.
At the end of the day, what we have learned is this:
- Hip dips are not important and don’t define a single thing about you other than that your body looks different than someone else’s.
- You can strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core to have a stronger body and add the benefit of muscle definition to your legs. Win all around.
- Your body is great at adapting so add more resistance when you stop getting sore.
- As always, consistency is king.
Hip dips are a natural part of your body’s structure, and there’s no need to be self-conscious about them no matter what influencers say on TikTok or Instagram.
However, if you’re looking to strengthen your glutes and quads to reduce their appearance, lateral lunges, squats, and hip thrusts can be your best friends.
Stay committed to your workout routine, and you’ll soon notice the positive changes in your lower body, feeling stronger and more confident in no time! As always, Gymless Heroes, if you want to take your workout routine to the next level—whether that involves toning your hip dips or to simply become more comfortabel with your body—consider booking a free one-on-one consultation with one of our calisthenics fitness coaches.
Helya is a NASM certified personal trainer with expertise in RKC, 200 Hr Yoga, Animal Flow, Precision Nutrition, Tabata, Pilates, and is currently completing her CrossFit L1 certification. She is an experienced coach with many certifications, but most of her experience comes from the hundreds of people she has helped over the last decade while owning a small functional training gym in Ventura, California. Helya is a people person passionate about helping people move well and hurt less.