There is a lot of controversy about how high you should swing a kettlebell. Some camps support taking the swing all the way overhead while others swear by chest level with plenty of other experts falling somewhere in between. For the purpose of my 8-Week Kettlebell Shred on Fitocracy, however, I side with the chest level crew.
To maximize fat burning potential during the kettlebell swing, you want to keep a fast pace, and swinging all the way overhead slows you down – and your calorie burn. I also personally feel that it is safer for the shoulders. Aim for chest height with your arms parallel to the floor at the top of the swing. If you swing lower than that, perhaps working with more weight than you should, there is a higher risk of bad timing and, consequently, injury.
In order to stop the kettlebell at this mid-way position, this means the mechanics of the move goes beyond simply swinging up and swinging down. You must swing up to chest level, stop the bell, and then drive it back down with no room for passivity. In stopping the kettlebell, you should engage the lats as if you are squeezing the region just below and behind your armpits together and brace the core musculature as if you are holding a plank.
Actively working to achieve this chest level during your swing help to keep you safe from injury and also speed up your work, so you can swing yourself to shredded.