Like the 1050 and 1060 models, the Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1052 is a hydraulic-piston rowing machine.
What this means is that there is a piston installed beneath the rowing machine’s seat rail.
When you turn the knob to raise or lower the resistance, the size of the hole that controls the amount of fluid in the piston increases/decreases. This makes it easier/more difficult to move the piston. This is how you control the “adjustable resistance”.
You can learn more about hydraulic-piston and other resistance types in my full breakdown article here.
The BodyTrac Glider 1052 uses a single-center piston to provide resistance. The piston is connected to the two rowing arms (which move independently of each other) to give you a very effective and natural rowing motion.
What makes hydraulic-piston rowing machines like the BodyTrac Glider 1052 so effective is the smooth resistance provided by the fluid-filled piston.
You can adjust the resistance using the built-in knob, and it will increase/decrease according to your fitness level or workout intensity.
Hydraulic-piston machines are the only rowing machines that include two independently-moving arms that operate identical to an actual pair of oars. This give people a more natural feeling of “rowing”.
Hydraulic-piston resistance machines are also better for building muscular endurance because they have high levels of difficulty. Unlike “variable” rowing machines (like air and water rowers), you can row slowly with piston resistance machines and still get a very difficult workout due to the high resistance.
The Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1052 offers 12 different levels of resistance. Level 1 is understandably easy, but Level 12 is surprisingly difficult.
Of course, commenters were thrilled by how quiet the machine was, too. Piston resistance rowers are virtually silent, meaning you can watch TV, listen to music, or even hold a conversation while rowing.
As expected with hydraulic piston machines, super-fit reviewers were less-than-thrilled by the intensity of the workout.
While piston machines typically exceed the resistance difficulty of magnetic rowers, they can’t match the challenge of an air or water rower. Variable resistance machines always offer a tougher rowing session—making them a better choice for ultra-fit rowers.
CrossFit-type workouts just aren’t possible on the BodyTrac Glider 1052 because the pistons aren’t able to perform high “strokes per minute”. The mechanics of the piston mean it’s not great for HIIT training or “sprint” type workouts. This is a problem common to all hydraulic-piston resistance machines.
One of the other potential downsides of hydraulic-piston machines is that they can get VERY hot after your workout—so hot they can actually burn to the touch. Make sure to keep your hands away from the piston until it’s cooled down fully.
The longer you work, too, the less resistance it will provide. The oil filling the piston loses viscosity and grows thinner as it heats up. Usually, waiting 5-10 minutes for the oil to cool is enough to get the machine back to full intensity.
And one final problem mentioned by a few reviewers: once the piston heats up, the hydraulic fluid may leak. It’s not a very common issue, but one you need to be aware of.
If you’re working on a concrete garage floor, you can simply wipe up any spilled oil. But if you’ve got the rowing machine set up on carpet or a wooden floor, I recommend using the Stamina Fold-to-Fit Equipment Mat as a precautionary measure.
The lack of max-intensity resistance is a factor that may make the BodyTrac Glider 1052 unsuitable for ultra-fit rowers.
However, for anyone who wants a moderate-intensity workout for 20-30 minutes at a time, this rowing machine delivers exactly what you need.
It’s quiet, smooth, and the independently moving arms make for a much more natural (and often challenging!) workout.
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