I love barbells, barbells are a great example of the power of modern technology, if you want to change the force output capacity of the major prime movers of the body nothing will have as potent an effect as quickly as basic barbell lifts, the infinite scalability of the barbell, the perfect balance the easy grip make it the ideal tool for developing the force output potential of the muscles. I have seen many athletes just completly change their body control, dynamic movement and explosiveness after 6 months and 100 lbs added to their squat and deadlift.
However the very thing that makes barbell training such a powerful means of developing athletiscm for athletes in non barbell sports makes for limited transfer to actually manipulative strength. The barbell is designed to lifted most things that need lifting haven’t been and finding the balance and grip too control them is the biggest problem an athletes faces.
If you want to be a all around mover with high level of capacity in manipulating objects and expressing your strength, you need to expand the ways in which you train manipulatives as craig touched on in this article .
One of the best ways to do this is just to find some nice heavy rocks to lift.
When I left college to focus on teaching gymnastics and parkour I lost access to a weight room, to replace it I found some heavy rocks and logs near my house that I practiced squats, deadlifts, cleans and farmers walks with. When I returned to barbell lifting my strength had been maintained and hands where far stronger overall for any climbing or grappling as well.
So my challenge to you is to go to a beach and find some big rocks to play with.