Wish you could minimize the appearance of your hip dips? While hip dips (aka violin hips) are perfectly normal, these targeted exercises can help you build muscle and create a smoother, more toned look in your hip and thigh area.

Hip dips are dents on the outside of the upper legs. They’re totally common and nothing to be ashamed of. But if you don’t dig the way they look, certain exercises might reduce their appearance. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Hip dips have nothing to do with how healthy you are. It all boils down to your natural anatomy. Some folks have hip bones that are located higher on the body than the femur. This can cause an indentation on the outside of your lower hip area. The positioning, angle, and rotation of the femur can influence the look of hip dips.

YES! We’re shooting straight from the hip when we tell you:

  • Hip dips are normal.
  • Hip dips are natural.
  • Hip dips are common.
  • Hip dips aren’t dangerous.
  • Hip dips don’t impact mobility.

PSA: Function over form, fam. Healthy hips help you stand up, sit down, walk, and move through your daily activities. Weak hips are linked to knee pain, while hip-strengthening exercises are associated with reduced pain and injury. So, the functional aspects of your hips are much more important than the aesthetic.

Sorry hip dip haters, but there’s a solid chance your hip indentations are here to stay. You can’t change the way your bones are positioned or how your body stores fat.

While working out can help reduce their appearance, it won’t get rid of hip dips entirely. That said, here’s a step-by-step guide of the best exercises to try.

1. Squats

Squats help strengthen the muscles of your legs, thighs, hips, and butt.

GIF by Dima Bizak

How to do squats

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Inhale and brace your core as you slowly drop your booty down like you’re going to sit in an invisible chair.
  3. Keep your weight over the heels and engage your core.
  4. Exhale as you press the feet through the floor and drive your hips forward to stand.
  5. Do 10–12 reps.

Variations: Side squats can help improve dynamic balance and flexibility. From standing, step your left leg to the side and squat. Then, return to the starting position and repeat on the right side. You can also add some squat pulses at the end of each set if you really want to feel the burn.

2. Lunges

Lunges can help tone the glutes, hammies, quads, and calves.

GIF by Dima Bizak

How to do lunges

  1. Start in a standing position.
  2. Step your right foot forward.
  3. Slowly lower your left knee toward the floor.
  4. Your toes will be pointing forward with your front foot flat and the heel lifted on the back foot.
  5. Push through the heel of the front foot and squeeze your glutes to return to standing.
  6. Do 10–12 reps on each side.

Variations: There are so many lunge variations you can rock out to. Some popular options include walking, side, or curtsy lunges.

3. Step-downs

Step-downs engage the hips, hamstrings, and quads. Bonus: They can also help stabilize the knees.

GIF by Dima Bazak

How to do step-downs

  1. Stand on top of a sturdy, low-ish stool, bench, or step.
  2. Activate your core and glutes as you slowly step down with one foot.
  3. Tap the bottom foot to the ground.
  4. Slowly bring it back up to the starting position on the stool.
  5. Do 10 reps on each side.

Variations: Step down into a curtsy lunge for even more oomph.

4. Clam lifts

Clam lifts strengthen the hips and thighs, stabilize the pelvic muscles, and tone the glutes.

GIF by Dima Bizak

How to do clam lifts

  1. Lie on your side with your legs bent at the knees so they form a 90-degree angle.
  2. Press your feet together and lift your top knee up to about a 45-degree angle opening.
  3. Brace your abs throughout the entire movement.
  4. Do 20 reps on each side.

Pro tip: These can also be done while seated on a bench.

5. Side leg lifts

Leg lifts target the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

GIF by Dima Bazak

How to do side leg lifts

  1. Start by laying on your side with your legs out long. You can prop your head up with one hand and place your other hand on the ground to brace yourself.
  2. Keeping your top leg straight, lift it up as you inhale.
  3. Slowly lower your leg as you exhale.
  4. Do 20 reps on each side.

You can also do these lifts from a standing position, raising your out-and-up to the side.

6. Side hip openers

Side hip openers (aka fire hydrants) target the outer thighs, hips, and side glutes.

GIF by Dima Bizak

How to do fire hydrants

  1. Begin on all fours in a tabletop position. Make sure your shoulders are over your hands and your hips are directly over your knees.
  2. As you inhale, lift one leg up and out to the side.
  3. Slowly lower the leg on the exhale.
  4. Do 10–20 reps on each side.

7. Donkey kicks

Leg kickbacks can help tone, lift, and strengthen your butt.

GIF by Dima Bizak

How to do donkey kicks

  1. Begin on all fours in a tabletop position. Make sure your shoulders are over your hands and your hips are directly over your knees.
  2. Keep your knee bent and raise it off the ground until your quad is parallel to the floor.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Do 15 reps on each side.

8. Glute bridges

All the muscles in your upper legs, glutes, abs, and lower back are on duty here.

GIF by Dima Bizak

How to do a bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body and your bent knees about hip-distance apart.
  2. Lift your hips and butt off the floor by pushing the feet into the ground and engaging your glutes.
  3. Keep the shoulders on the ground and slightly tuck your chin toward your chest.
  4. Lower back down to the floor, one vertebra at a time.
  5. Release the butt-squeeze.
  6. Do 15 reps.

Hip dips are totally natural and are NOT a symptom of an unhealthy body. In most cases, they’re caused by bone structure and genetics. Exercise can help reduce their appearance, but there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get rid of them completely. And that’s OK! Hip dips are nothing to be ashamed of and don’t affect your mobility. Remember, hip health is all about function, not visuals.