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What Are Hip Dips? And Why They Don’t Need To Be Fixed

22nd December 2020

22nd December 2020

By Shivraj Bassi

Ever looked in the mirror and suddenly noticed something about your body that had never occurred to you before? Us too. 

Hip dips, sometimes known as violin hips, are the gentle inward curves found just below your hips and above your thighs - and it’s the latest body part to be the target of online obsession. Google searches asking what hip dips are and how to get rid of them have soared in recent months, so if you’ve found yourself searching ‘how to get rid of hip dips’ after midnight, you’re definitely not alone. 

You may have read that hip dips are a cause for worry, can be changed through exercise or are bad. This is absolutely untrue. We’re here to give you the lowdown. 

What are hip dips?

Hip dips, or violin hips, are nothing more than a naturally occurring indentation that may exist between your thighs and your hips. Some people’s hips have them and some don’t - and it’s an inherent part of your skeleton and biology. 

Whether or not you’re blessed with hip dips depends on the shape of your hip bones. Some people’s body shape means that they have more visible hip dips than others. They’re a completely normal part of your body structure caused by the naturally inward-facing curves formed by the shape of your pelvis. They’re not created by being unhealthy, overweight or underweight - although having a higher level of body fat or muscle mass can make them more pronounced.

How to get rid of hip dip

The presence of hip dips is down to the shape of your bones, and they can’t be exercised or dieted away. While some people may find that they become smaller when they reduce body fat and increase muscle mass, there’s no guarantee that this will happen. Plus, if you focus too much on or avoid exercises that work your hip flexors and quads in favour of working on your glutes so as to avoid targeting the dips, you risk injuries from overworking certain body parts and neglecting others. 

More important is the mental impact of worrying about such things. Negative self-talk about body image and dissatisfaction with the way you look can affect your mental health and your self-image. The rhetoric that naturally occurring body parts look bad or should be exercised away is exceptionally negative - it’s like calling the fact that you have two arms a ‘problem area’. 

Hip dip exercises

A quick social media search reveals that thousands of people online are obsessed with the shape of their hips. Before and after photos, which are almost certainly airbrushed, abound, and there are plenty of videos and tutorials promising to get rid of hip dips for good. There’s even the extreme option of hip dip surgery. 

This narrative of supposed self-improvement and obsessively focusing on an impossible-to-change body part could lead to body dysmorphia or eating disorders. This could present as exercising obsessively, restricting food intake, binging and purging and being generally chronically unhappy with the way that you look. Focus on loving your body, staying healthy and strong and putting your energy into what you can change, rather than feeling negative about what you can’t. 

It’s a good idea to focus on strengthening your lower body as an entire entity, which will increase your power during workouts, help to stabilise your core and empower you in your everyday life. Incorporating exercises such as lunges, squats and glute bridges into your workout will help to kick your lower body into action and targets all of the muscles in your legs and hips, rather than trying to ineffectively spot-reduce one body part (which we all know never works how we want it to). Tools such as resistance bands and yoga mats will support you in this and make your workouts more effective. 

Hip dips are amazing!

Thankfully, there is another way to think about hip dips. There’s a growing movement of hip dip positivity online, rehabilitating the message around this maligned body part and disabusing the notion that there’s any such thing as an ideal body. Your focus should always be on health and balance rather than perfection. 

Instagram user @aubreyalyssa summed this attitude up in a post. ‘I've struggled with comparing myself to other women my entire life, and after starting my fitness journey it's no different,’ she said. ‘I will never have the "perfect" body according to society. But I'm learning to love the body I have! Big quads and hip dips! That's not going to change, so might as well embrace it.’

If you’re struggling with loving and accepting your body, Innermost recommends engaging in activities that bring you more in touch with your physicality such as yoga and meditation, and talking through your feelings with friends or a mental health professional. 

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From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions! Read more