A true test of strength is to take a random object and lift it. This object can take on many forms from stones to bags, barrels to anvils and more. Depending on the object the objective may be to just lift it off the ground or to get it locked out arms overhead.
Barbells and dumbbells are made to be lifted. And that means they are easy to lift. As such you’ll be able to do more weight with them than with anything else. But an odd object is not made for lifting. Hence the challenge. Even though it may only be 100 or 200 lbs. it could be more difficult than a barbell twice its weight.
Common odd objects are rocks and stones of all sizes. For instance, in this strongman event a variety of progressively heavier stones needed to be loaded onto a platform. (In this case, with this event I clinched the win of the strongman competition I was in!)
Then you have barrels and kegs which can be filled with liquid. If they’re not filled all the way the water moves around making the object much harder to put up. Jedd Johnson shows how to use these here:
Large sandbags are similar as the sand shifts around. Plus these all can challenge your grip like crazy. Ken Windjack demonstrates:
And then there are big logs. In the following video Zydrunas Savickas lifts a World Record Log of 228kg (in front of Arnold Schwarzenegger).
Of course, these logs have handles and thus are a bit easier to lift than those without. You absolutely can lift actual logs as part of training.
Adding odd object lifting to your training will further challenge muscles you didn’t know you had. You’ll have to work everything to stabilize the heavy and unstable load. Be sure to read Dinosaur Training for more on the subject.
If you want to be overall strong, than lifting and carrying odd objects is a great way to get there.
Here’s a video of an odd object by the name of Big Red I use on occasion.