Despite the infinitely many ways to grasp a spherical object, regularities have been observed in the posture of the arm and the grasp orientation. In the present study, we set out to determine the factors that predict the grasp orientation and the final joint angles of reach-tograsp movements. Subjects made reach-to-grasp movements toward a sphere to pick it up and place it at an indicated location. We varied the position of the sphere and the starting and placing positions. Multiple regression analysis showed that the sphere's azimuth from the subject was the best predictor of grasp orientation, although there were also smaller but reliable contributions of distance, starting position, and perhaps even placing position. The sphere's initial distance from the subject was the best predictor of the final elbow angle and shoulder elevation. A combination of the sphere's azimuth and distance from the subject was required to predict shoulder angle, trunkhead rotation, and lateral head position. The starting position best predicted the final wrist angle and sagittal head position. We conclude that the final posture of the arm when grasping a sphere to place it elsewhere is determined to a larger extend by the initial position of the object than by effects of starting and placing position. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.