A manual material handling task involves the phases of reaching, lifting, unloading, and standing up (RLUS). Understanding the mechanisms of manual material handling is important for occupational health and the development of assist devices. Predictive models are becoming popular in exploring which performance criterion is appropriate in the lifting phase. However, limited attempts have been performed on the other phases. The associated performance criterion for predicting other phases is unknown. In this study, an optimization model for predicting RLUS has been developed with the multi-objective optimization method. Two performance criteria (minimum dynamic effort and maximum balance) were studied to explore their importance in each phase. The result shows that maximum balance leads to joint angle errors 27.6% and 40.9% smaller than minimum dynamic effort in reaching and unloading phases, but 40.4% and 65.9% larger in lifting and standing up phases. When the two performance criteria are combined, the maximum balance could help improve the predicting accuracy in the reaching, lifting, and unloading phases. These findings suggest that people prefer different performance criteria in different phases. This study helps understand the differences in motion strategies in manual materials handling (MMH), which would be used to develop a more accurate predictive model.