Low Tone - Hypotonia

Hypotonia is a state of low muscle tone (the amount of tension or resistance to movement in a muscle), often involving reduced muscle strength.

Low tone/hypotonia refers to the muscles’ ability to sustain a contraction. Muscle strength refers to the muscles’ power. Low muscle tone cannot be changed, but improving strength can compensate for the underlying low tone to help support the child through daily tasks and play.


Characteristics of low tone/hypotonia:


  • Joint hypermobility & instability
  • Slouched sitting posture
  • “W” sitting
  • Difficulty holding head upright (propping head with hand)
  • Difficulty sitting for long periods of time
  • Props self up with hand/arm while sitting on floor
  • May fatigue quickly; preference for sedentary activities
  • May appear clumsy with gross motor activities
  • May have difficulty climbing, running, jumping, or hopping when compared to peers.


Core Exercises:
  • While lying on his/her back, have your child kick their legs up in the air
  • Wall kicks - have your child lie on their back with their head up against the wall, have them bring their legs up to the wall and touch it
  • Sit-ups with knees bent, have your child pull-to-sit
  • Planks
  • Push-ups - either on the knees or their toes
  • Sit on an unsupported surface without back support (bench, small ball, chair)
  • Play in tall kneel
  • Crawling - on all fours, reaching for objects, throwing objects
Shoulder strengthening and stability:
  • Planks
  • Push ups
  • Crawling
  • Working on a vertical surface
  • Leaning on elbows while lying on belly
Activities to improve strength and endurance:
  • Encourage climbing, rock wall climbing, monkey bars, and climbing/crawling/pulling up a slide.
  • Use big movement/heavy work activities such as wheel-barrow, bear, crab, and hill walking.
  • Practice jumping activities such as double leg jump, frog jump, and side jumps.
  •  Occupational and physical therapy treatment to strengthen and improve motor planning will help the child perform age appropriate skills.
185 S. Marley Rd. New Lenox, IL 60451