Hip dips have been getting a lot of attention lately, but not everyone is clear on whether they're good or bad.
The answer? Neither. They're simply a part of our human anatomy, dependent on an individual's muscular and skeletal makeup. Hip dips are an inward curve or dent in the space where your leg meets your hip. Some people have them; others don't.
If you're wondering what causes hip dips, "this is where genetics play their part," Stacey Santos, a personal trainer in Walnut Creek, California, recently explained on Instagram. "There's nothing you can do to get rid of hip dips. No matter how much muscle you build, your hip dips will always be there."
That said, there are certainly ways to tone and strengthen that area. If that's your goal, here are a few exercises Santos shared with TODAY.
Stepping side lunges
Start by standing up straight with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Take a big step to the side and lunge down to a 90-degree angle, keeping your non-working leg straight, then step back into your starting position. Perform the same number of repetitions for each leg.
Santos' pro tip? "If you want to challenge yourself, you can hold a dumbbell at your chest to add weight."
Lateral leg lifts
You can do these using a cable machine, resistance bands or just your own body weight.
Stand up straight with your feet together, slightly bend your knees and lift one leg out to the side without moving the rest of your body. Bring it back in, and repeat as many times as you wish. Keep your abs engaged and place your hands on your hips to keep the work out of your arms. Then do the other side!
Sit on the floor with your legs bent and knees touching and lean back on your hands, keeping your back straight. (No slouching!) Open your knees outward, like a clam shell, but keep your feet together. Then return to your starting position. Repeat as many times as you like.
"This workout is great for targeting the glute muscles around your hips," Santos said.
For an extra challenge, loop a resistance band around your legs, behind your knees.
In recent years, social media has spawned a curious string of seemingly random body "trends" — from thigh gaps to bikini bridges. But the latest one — hip dips — appears to be different from its predecessors, in that it's actually promoting self-confidence and body positivity, as opposed to making women feel inadequate because of their figures.
"I spent all my teenage years thinking I had awful muffin top/love handles, hating the fact that I didn't look 'normal' in bodycon dresses," one woman wrote, describing the moment she stumbled across the term hip dip online. "Cue the life-changing moment when I realized that I did not have awful muffin top, that actually I just had high hips. My SKELETON was set this way."
Many women have taken to social media to share photos of their hip dips, sometimes also known as violin hips, inspiring others to do the same.
One physical trainer who shared a video demonstrating her own hip dip told TODAY she was just trying to encourage women to practice self-love.
"Social media has a habit of creating insecurities that shouldn't be a thing and my aim was to highlight this and teach people to love themselves," Olivia Woodhead said in an email.