George Beneck

George J. Beneck, PhD, PT, OCS, KEMG

Department Chair, Physical Therapy

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, PhD, Biokinesiology, 2010

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, MS, Biomechanics, 1991

Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, BS, Physical Therapy, 1984

Kinesiological Electromyography (KEMG), 2011

Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, 1997

My primary area of research is in the mechanisms underlying spinal disorders and the influence of manual and exercise therapies on both spinal function and clinical outcomes in persons with spine pain. This research involves the investigation of how paraspinal muscle performance and spinal motion are altered in association with spinal disorders, as well as how various manual and exercise interventions alter muscle performance and spinal motion.


  • Orthopedic physical therapy with a particular interest in the management of spinal disorders.

Professional Committees

  • American Physical Therapy Association, Orthopaedic Section’s Imaging SIG, Research Chair
  • California Physical Therapy Association CPTA Research Council, Member

Journal Reviewer

  • International Editorial Review Board member of Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy
  • Physical Therapy Journal
  • American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy in Sport
  • Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology

  • California Physical Therapy Association’s Clinician Research Publication Award, 2013
  • California Physical Therapy Association’s Faculty Research Publication Award, 2012, 2013.
  • 1st Place – Podium Research Presentation Award, California Physical Therapy Association Annual Conference, Oakland, 2010.
  • Order of the Golden Cane Award.  USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, 2010.
  • Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) II scholarship. American Physical Therapy Association, 2008.
  • Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) I scholarship. American Physical Therapy Association, 2007.
  • 1st Place, Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy Award: “Does disc quality influence function and disability status in persons who received comprehensive spine care?” USC School of Dentistry, Research Day, 2007.
  • Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) I scholarship. American Physical Therapy Association, 2006.
  • Certificate of Recognition Research Publication Award. California Physical Therapy Association, 2005.

  1. Winder B, Keri PA, Weberg DE, Beneck GJ. Postural cueing increases multifidus activation during stabilization exercise in participants with chronic and recurrent low back pain: An electromyographic study. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2019;46:28-34.
  2. Yates A, Ayla Donlin A, Beneck GJ, Schick EE. The Influence of exercise surface inclination on trunk muscle activity during Pilates based exercises. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2018;22:225-231.
  3. Beneck GJ, Selkowitz DM, Janzen DS, Malecha E, Tiemeyer BR. The influence of pelvic rotation on clinical measurements of hip flexion and extension range of motion across sex and age. Phys Ther Sport. 2018;30:1-7. .
  4. Beneck GJ, Gard AN, Fodran KA. Spondylolisthesis identified using ultrasound imaging. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2017;47:970.
  5. Orantes-Gonzalez E, Heredia-Jimenez J & Beneck GJ. Children require less gait kinematic adaptations to pull a trolley than to carry a backpack. Gait & Posture 2017;52:189-193.
  6. Selkowitz DM, Beneck GJ, Powers CM. Comparison of EMG activity of the superior and inferior portions of the gluteus maximus muscle during common therapeutic exercises. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2016;46:794-799.
  7. Beneck GJ, Story J, Wade S. Postural cueing to increase lumbar lordosis increases lumbar multifidus activation during trunk stabilization exercises: EMG assessment using intramuscular electrodes. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2016;46:293-299.
  8. Taghipour-Darzi M, Ebrahimi-Takamjani E, Salavati M, Mobini B, Zekavat H, Beneck GJ. Construct validity of center of rotation in differentiating of lumbar segmental instability patients. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2015;28:675-80.
  9. Beneck GJ, Popovich Jr JM, Selkowitz DM, Azen S, Kulig K, Physical Therapy Clinical Research Network  (PTClinResNet). Intensive, progressive exercise improves quality of life following lumbar microdiscectomy: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2014; 28:892–901.
  10. Selkowitz DM, Beneck GJ, Powers CM. Which exercises target the gluteal muscles while limiting activation of the tensor fascia lata? EMG assessment using fine wire electrodes.  J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013;43:54-64.
  11. Beneck GJ, Baker LL, Kulig K. Spectral analysis of EMG using intramuscular electrodes reveals non-linear fatigability characteristics in persons with chronic low back pain. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013;23:70-77.
  12. Beneck GJ, Kulig K. Multifidus atrophy is localized and bilateral in active persons with chronic unilateral low back pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2012; 93:300-306.
  13. Mulroy SJ, Winstein CJ, Kulig K, Beneck GJ, Fowler EG, DeMuth SK, Sullivan KJ, Brown DA, Lane CJ; Physical Therapy Clinical Research Network. Secondary mediation and regression analyses of the PTClinResNet database: Determining causal relationships among the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Levels for four physical therapy intervention trials. Phys Ther. 2011; 91:1592-603.
  14. Yamada KA, Lewthwaite, R, Popovich, JM, Beneck GJ, Kulig K. The low back activity confidence scale (LoBACS): preliminary validity and reliability. Phys Ther. 2011; 91:1592-1603.
  15. Kulig K, Beneck GJ, Selkowitz DM, Popovich JM Jr, Ge TT, Flanagan SP, Poppert EM, Yamada KA, Powers CM, Azen S, Winstein CJ, Gordon J, Samudrala S, Chen TC, Shamie AN, Khoo LT, Spoonamore MJ, Wang JC; Physical Therapy Clinical Research Network (PTClinResNet). The effect of an intensive, progressive exercise program on functional performance in patients post single-level lumbar microdiscectomy. Phys Ther. 2009; 89:1245-1157.
  16. Kulig K, Brown A, Beauregard R, Popovich JM, Beneck GJ, Colletti PM:  Multifidus morphology in persons scheduled for single level lumbar microdiscectomy:  qualitative and quantitative assessment with anatomical correlates. Am J Phys Med & Rehabil. 2009; 88:355-361.
  17. Powers CM, Beneck GJ, Kulig K, Landel RF, Fredericson M. The effects of a single session of posterior to anterior spinal mobilization and press-ups on pain response and lumbar extension in persons with nonspecific low back pain. Phys Ther. 2008; 88:485-93.
  18. Selkowitz DM, Kulig K, Poppert EM, Flanagan SP, Matthews ND, Beneck GJ, Popovich JM Jr, Lona JR, Yamada KA, Burke WS, Ervin C, Powers CM, PTClinResNet. The immediate and long-term effects of exercise and patient education on physical, functional, and quality-of-life outcome measures after single-level lumbar microdiscectomy: a randomized controlled trial protocol. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006; 7:70.
  19. Beneck GJ, Kulig K, Landel RF, Powers CM. The relationship between lumbar segmental motion and pain response produced by a posterior-to-anterior force in persons with nonspecific low back pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2005; 35:203-9.

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