Most of the time I do not use a barbell. I use pallets,weight filled travel bags,beds,logs etc. and with a little imagination,there is no problem so doing.
Using odd objects confuses the leverages involved and a lot of the time you’re in the dark either about the exact weight being used or how a particular lift translates to a barbell lift of the same weight. I think this is very good for a beginner because they don’t have to mourn over lifting only X pounds in a specific lift,as the lifts being done are obscure and there is little comparison. This ensures gradual strength development without the mental stress associated with the barbell,or dumbbell for that matter.
Another thing I like to do is stand on one leg while doing a lift. I believe this really forced my hamstrings and hip adbductors to develop regardless of what I was doing (of course this requires doing more lifts),as long as it was a compound move. You can only lift so much that way (I often clean with one arm and on one leg for example) but there is very little stress associated with because you’re not supposed to be able to lift much this way. Once you hit a weight that is even close to large in this manner,it feels great. I remember reading studies were done about one legged jumps relative to normal,and that the single leg exercises engaged the muscle more.