Experimental studies and EMG collections suggest that a specific strategy of muscle coordination is chosen by the central nervous system to perform a given motor task. A popular mathematical approach for solving the muscle recruitment problem is optimization. Optimization-based methods minimize or maximize some criterion (objective function or cost function) which reflects the mechanism used by the central nervous system to recruit muscles for the movement considered. The proper cost function is not known a priori, so the adequacy of the chosen function must be validated according to the obtained results. In addition of the many criteria proposed, several physiological representations of the musculotendon actuator dynamics along with different musculoskeletal models can be found in the literature, which hinders the selection of the best neuromusculotendon model for each application. Seeking to provide a fair base for comparison, this study measures the efficiency and accuracy of: i) four different criteria; ii) one static and three physiological representations of the musculotendon actuator dynamics; iii) a synergy-based method; all of them within the framework of inverse-dynamics based optimization. Motion/force/EMG gait analyses were performed on ten healthy subjects. A musculoskeletal model of the right leg actuated by 43 Hill-type muscles was scaled to each subject and used to calculate joint moments, musculotendon kinematics and moment arms. Muscle activations were then estimated using the different approaches, and these estimates were compared with EMG measurements. Although similar results were obtained with all the methods, it must be pointed out that a higher complexity of the method does not guarantee better results, as the best correlations with experimental values were obtained with two simplified approaches.