Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine Review
The Body Trac Glider Pro, also known as the Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine, from home gym specialists Stamina, is a compact rowing machine that looks and rides almost like a full-size rower. While not foldable, the rails on each side fold down so you can push the lightweight Glider up against a wall when not in use. It is aimed at those of us who enjoy the heart rate training and all over strength building of a rowing machine, but lack the space for a larger, more expensive one.
Though the overall length is shorter than average, and the frame is lightweight, the Body Trac Glider will still give you a full range of motion as you complete your low impact cardio exercises each day. The arms provide resistance using a clever hydraulic cylinder design. The Glider mimics rowing on water, though it will not be as accurate or true to life as a full-sized water rower. Rollers run on ball bearings, which will last the life of the rower without needing much maintenance or attention. The frame is steel, with an aluminum centerpiece. You can save money and space with the Stamina Body Trac Glider Pro, while still getting a low impact cardio workout you will want to keep doing most days.
Construction is surprisingly sturdy, durable for a low-cost rower
Compact frame is a good compromise for tight spaces
The machine weighs just 39 pounds, making it super portable and easy to move
More than most cardio machines, a rower works every muscle group and is simple to operate
Assembly is straightforward and shouldn't take too long--Stamina makes user's manuals available on the website
The seat is big, padded, and comfortable for longer rowing sessions
90-day parts warranty, and a year on the frame, from Stamina
The weight limit is 250 pounds, won't be enough for many users
Cylinder resistance is not consistent during a whole workout--may lose firmness
Hydraulic resistance will not be hard enough for performance athletes
That widens or closes up a hole, restricting or increasing the flow of hydraulic fluid and making the resistance harder or easier for you to pull against.
We did find more than one reviewer who said the resistance is not consistent. This probably has to do with the less than perfect flow of hydraulic fluid--the Glider is great for low impact cardio and strength training, but at less than $300 USD, it will not provide the near-perfect resistance of water or a magnetic flywheel. The reason has to do with the hydraulic fluid becoming less viscous when it heats up. Less viscosity means the fluid flows easily through the hole, so you do not have as much power to work against.
Resistance levels, with the twist knob, go from 1 to 12. The manual warns that the knob gets hot after a few minutes of rowing, so be mindful of touching it with your hands or body.
We would like to point out that the Stamina Body Trac Glider does not have a flywheel, as most non-water rowers do. This cuts down on cost, weight, and size, but also makes you reliant on the hydraulic resistance which, as we have documented, is not always flawless. But if you are looking for quick cardio and strength training that will not overextend your joints, the Glider will get you where you need to go every time.
The hydraulic resistance is quiet, too, perhaps quieter than a magnetic flywheel setup would be. And unlike water resistance, you do not have to row fast or pull hard to feel the machine's kinetic energy fighting against you. But as a trade-off, the hydraulic resistance is not quite as intense as other forms. If you use a rowing machine as part of a HIIT style workout, going hard for short bursts, then the Body Trac Glider may not work for you. And if you are a seasoned competitive or semipro athlete, powerlifter, CrossFit veteran, or aspiring Strongman/Strongwoman, this rower definitely will not provide the top-level resistance and strenuous workout you need. If you purchase the Stamina Body Trac Glider, as one of these athletes, it should be to use as a backup or way to stay active on days when you are too sore or fatigued to do anything else. It is a way to keep moving, and will at least be more intense than a walk around the block. Even the toughest athletes, too, sometimes need a low impact routine that will not strain joints.
As a final pro tip, we suggest placing a mat under the rower. It does not have to be expensive or super thick, though you may wish to get a thick mat for hard floor protection. The reason is that any hydraulic cylinder is subject to leaking. It is not likely that the Stamina Body Trac Glider will leak, but if it does, the mat will keep the floor from staining until you can have the problem addressed. The potential for leaks is another reason commercial gyms almost never use hydraulic resistance machines.
The seat makes a clicking noise, similar to skateboard wheels on concrete, especially when you pull hard and go for intensity. The seat is molded plastic, comfortable enough for riding up to a half-hour or so. Even with the padding, the seat can get uncomfortable after a while. This rower is meant for light daily use, not strenuous or technical workouts, and it shows in the design. But overall the rower is stable, gives results, and will not break the bank or take up all the space in your home gym.
The handles are padded, too, helping with grip and also reducing wrist fatigue and soreness. If you have any discomfort with the handles, you may wish to wear wraps or gloves when you use the Glider. The padding on the handles is quite durable and will not wear out as fast as the foam on some home gym rowers. Pedals are oversized and textured, but not lipped the way pedals on gym machines are. The straps are up high, too, towards the toes. The end result is that your feet may slip off the pedals a few times as you get used to the machine. If you can find some thin-soled shoes with lugs and traction, wearing them will help.
Assembly is easy, with just 11 steps according to the manual. The manual has drawings, not photos, but the drawings are detailed enough to follow. You will probably want to get a friend to help hold things in place during assembly. Assembly is extensive, not just a matter of bolting on handles or wiring the console, so make sure you set aside enough time to complete everything.
You also have a scan button that lets you scroll through all the numbers. There are no preprogrammed workouts, and no way to customize other than stopping and changing your resistance manually every few minutes. Remember, though, that can get dicey because the piston handle heats up during use.